Can we please just lock Mizzou the hell in at this point?
I get that NCAA Tournament resumes are not as simple as all that. Despite being 19-6 with four Quad 1 wins and wins over two potential two or three seeds that Mizzou is not totally out of the weeds of the dreaded bubble. Losing out would be disastrous, if improbable. I get it, I get it, I get it.
But I’m ready to be talking confidently about what seed Missouri is going to be rather than predictive metrics and tournament resumes. Screw that (no offense, Matts.) Give me Jerry Palm saying, “Mizzou is a four-seed,” and watching the rest of the college basketball prognosticators saying, “no, actually, they’re a seven-seed.” Because the end result is the same: Mizzou’s dancing.
After all, what’s the reasonable argument not to include Mizzou at this point? Their non-conference schedule? I think we’re well past the point where Mizzou is a doubt against the best teams in the country. Can you doubt Mizzou away from Columbia? Not really, especially not after this past weekend. Can you worry about Mizzou losing to teams they should beat? I mean... they haven’t yet, have they?
Mizzou ticks all the boxes the tournament committee should be looking for in a team. They’re fun, they’re dangerous, and they’re a great story - first-year coach, veteran-heavy team of transfers, Kobe Brown making good on a long career, etc. etc.
Just do us a favor y’all and start considering Mizzou a lock in March. The country deserves to see them play on the biggest stage.
I’ll fully admit that Mike Kelly’s “Bang bang” call was the impetus behind the choice. There was no deep thought, no cleverness, no wit to this. Although since when has The Revue brought any of those things in the first place?
I do have to admit, however, that there are some similarities in the choice. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang was a comeback for both Roberty Downey, Jr. and Shane Black, two totemic figures of the action genre. Black hadn’t been involved in a non-Lethal Weapon movie in nine years (and had never directed a feature before), while Downey was coming off a run of shorts, TV spots and bit parts in low-budget films following his troubles with substance abuse and the law. That scrappiness is present in the end product, a fun, degenerative comedy that utilizes the charisma of Downey, Val Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan perfectly.
I don’t know if you could call Mizzou’s upset over Tennessee a “comeback,” though there was certainly the literal element of jumping ahead, blowing a double-digit lead and then finding a way to break through in the end. But it’s easy to see how the overriding ethos of Mizzou basketball in 2022-2023 — fast-paced, unselfish and a flair for the dramatic — won the day in Knoxville. Yes, Kobe Brown got his with 21 points and 5 rebounds. But on a day when Nick Honor and Noah Carter struggled to find the bucket — and Isiaih Mosley was unavailable — players like Sean East II (17 points), Dree Gholston (18 points and, you know, the game-winner) and Mohammed Diarra (7 points), chipped in to give this the feel of a real team victory. Hell, even Mabor Majak got on the score sheet and received a shout out from Dennis Gates after the game.
When I look back at Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, the first thought I always have is that it feels better than the sum of its parts. Yes, Downey and Kilmer are a lightning rod duo and the script is great. But the rest of the movie doesn’t feature anything that stands out off the top of my head. The cinematography is fine, the supporting performances are just ok and Black’s direction is... pretty good? But when you put the whole thing together, it works really well. Movies are a difficult alchemy to master, somewhat like the meshing of a basketball roster that was put together at the last minute. The road win over Tennessee captured that alchemy beautifully and, more importantly, with a whole lot of fun and gusto.
★★★★☆ for that game, ★★★★★ for that shot, and ★★★★☆ for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which features one of the great movie insults
No notes. No critiques. Just five out of five green lights. More of that, please, Mizzou Hoops.
Dunk Buzzer Beater Index
Lord forgive me, I’m back on my b******t.
To quote myself from last week’s Revue:
A dagger three and a cold stare can communicate almost as much as a forceful throw down.
And is there any dagger sharper than a buzzer beater on the road? Dree Gholston can tell you — now twice over! — that there isn’t.
Look, I get it. Even when you get a buzzer beater this pure, a poster dunk will always communicate disrespect in a more direct, spiteful way. But in the absence of a poster dunk, we’re going to make do with what we have. And what we have is... well, it’s special.
Category 1: How difficult/impressive was the
You can make the case that Gholston’s buzzer beater at UCF was more difficult. The pass came from an awkward angle on the actual ground, he was flat-footed at the time and he was straight on which, as a former (poor) basketball player, I always found to be a harder angle to shoot from.
However, you have to consider the circumstances. Gholston is double-teamed by two Tennessee Volunteers. You know, the team with the best defense in the country? He’s trying to create his own shot in the dying seconds of the game while the rest of his teammates are covered up, meaning he’s got to find a space where the Vols won’t be playing him so tight. So why not 30 feet away? And I don’t care what you say, a three-pointer that deep is hard as hell to make unless you’re an NBA sharpshooter. Maybe we won’t go with a perfect score given that the defenders were playing him a bit soft, but it’s understandable given where he pulled up from.
Category 2: What did the
dunkershooter do immediately afterward? (0-20)
I love that Gholston’s immediate reaction here is the exact same thing he did after the UCF buzzer beater — turn to his coach Dennis Gates. The guy who brought him to the SEC from Milwaukee. The guy who’s turned to him time and time again in the absence of Isiaih Mosley, the more celebrated transfer wing. The guy who’s put the ball in his hands during some of the season’s biggest moments. That sort of bond between player and coach is incredible to see.
Oh, and he gave it to the Tennessee fans. More on that in a bit.
- Category 3: How hard did the defender try to stop it? (0-20)
I mentioned just above that Tennessee played Gholston a little soft (and for good reason), but you can’t deny that they were at least somewhat prepared for him to pull up from deep. Jahmai Mashack gets pretty good extension on his contest, meaning Gholston doesn’t have a totally clean look at the basket. Credit to Dree, though. It’s hard to defend a guy when you’re not totally sure that he’s going to pull up from that far away.
Category 4: Is there backstory between the
dunkershooter and the dunkeedefender? (0-15)
Just going to go ahead and rip this one straight from my previous “Dree Gholston, buzzer beater” revue:
The senior transfer has come under harsh scrutiny in the absence of Isiaih Mosley, who would likely be starting if not for the personal problems that have derailed his transition to the Mizzou roster. Gholston has been criticized and analyzed to pieces (by this site included), and he’s struggled more than anyone else that regularly cracks the starting five.
Not necessarily a connection between the shooter and the defender, but a decent storyline, nonetheless.
- Category 5: Did the ball go straight through the rim or did it rattle around a little? (0-5)
You can practically hear that image. Magnificent.
- Category 6: How did everyone not immediately involved react? (0-20)
Oh god, pick a party. There are a host of delicious reactions to choose from, so let’s run down the list.
- Dennis Gates leans to watch the shot, then unleashes a primal victory screech.
- The bench mobs Gholston because, duh. Do you think they’ve practiced that with him at this point?
- The Tennessee players handle their disbelief in a number of ways. Two of them, Santiago Vescovi and Mashack, stand completely still, dumbfounded at losing a second consecutive game to a buzzer beater. Tyreke Key walks dejectedly toward the ball and hurls it into the air. Tobe Awake buries his face in his hands. Olivier Nkamhoua begins a very slow, very sad trudge back toward the bench area. They all look horrible in their ugly orange jerseys. What a special moment.
- After they finish mobbing Gholston, a good chunk of the Mizzou roster, situated over by the Tennessee student section, begin waving goodbye to the students.
- Mike Kelly makes the call of his life.
- One Tennessee fan sprints toward the exit. Another slams their hat against the railing. Another hangs his head. Others stare blankly on.
- Rocky Top boisterously plays over it all, soundtracking Knoxville’s despair.
Dree Gholston’s buzzer-beat was 89 percent disrespectful to Tennessee and their fans.
Superlatives and Awards
The “Henry Winkler Award” for person who has jumped the shark: Mizzou Twitter and the memes. I think they’re funny in concentrated doses, but it’s getting to be a bit much, yeah?
Maybe when the official program social media person adopts it as a mainstream, the counter-cultural element gets lost.
Sixth Man of the Year: It’s sort of obvious that Sean East II has this in the bag, right? I’d argue he could even have an argument at the real thing in the SEC. What other player feels so vital to their team as a spark plug off the pine? Seventeen points in a road game against one of the two best teams in the league? Also, he did this?!
This is incredible. Before Vescovi’s first free throw, Missouri guard Sean East told him, “You’re going to miss one. You missed one last game.”— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) February 12, 2023
Vescovi missed the first, lane violation on the second
Give that man an award. Other than this one, which is made up.
Dennis Gates Wild Quote of the Week: Because he tends to have them on the regular.
“Mabor Majak won us the ball game. The four minutes that he played were more impactful than any.” - Dennis Gates— Chanel Porter (@ChanelABC17news) February 12, 2023