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The Revue: Mizzou calls Zombieland to mind by dispatching walking dead Bulldogs

Gotta stay limber.

Saturday presented a bit of a strange sliding doors moment for Mizzou Basketball.

Going to Athens to face Georgia, even one year ago, would’ve been a prime-time snoozer in the SEC. Tom Crean and Cuonzo Martin’s tenures were dying the slowest of deaths, their programs mired in mediocrity that belied their reputations as sound leaders. Georgia and Mizzou was destined to be another ho-hum no-importance match up when it was placed on the late February schedule, I’m sure. Mike White? Proven SEC guy, but he’ll have a lot of work to do in Athens. Dennis Gates? Seems promising, but how long will it take him to turn that around... if he can do it at all?

As it turns out, the answer to the latter is “not very long, and yes most certainly.” And that may seem like a back-handed dismissal of the job White has done. Far from it. While Georgia is sleepwalking to an NIT bid in White’s first year, the Bulldogs are far from pushovers, especially on their home court. So to see them thoroughly outmatched by a Missouri team that hasn’t won 21 games in a decade? That was shocking to see.

Truthfully, the roles probably should’ve been reversed. Mizzou should probably be the ones jonesing for an NIT bid. After the repair job that Dennis Gates did? That they’re sniffing at a top four SEC Tournament seed is the stuff of miracles.

There’s been a lot of hand-wringing about the bracketology over the past two weeks. And I get it — even while reading everything the Matts publish, I’m still trying to find ways to slide Mizzou onto the 6-seed line. Anything but the 8 or 9, please.

But in most other universes, Mizzou is scratching for win number 17 or 18 and not looking to hit 23 before the regular season ends. I’m practicing gratitude, thankful that the particular door that slid open at the beginning of the season was this one.

The Revue

Do you watch movies? Any movies? TV even? Then you’ve probably heard/seen this before.

Georgia has been one of the hubs of U.S. film production for the past decade or so, so much so that this movie-lover now hears “Made in Georgia” anytime I see or hear the word. So you can imagine what watching a basketball game was like where the word “Georgia” was spoken often. Just put that above video on double speed and loop it. Truly a torturous mental experience.

But it provides us ripe fodder for The Revue! So many movies were filmed in Georgia, and not just crappy Marvel movies, either! For instance, did you know that Zombieland was filmed in Georgia? I didn’t until very recently. And that’s fortunate, because watching Mizzou put the walking dead Bulldogs down was akin to watching Zombieland for the first time: low-stakes, lots of fun and, to be honest, a little repetitive after a while.

Don’t get me wrong, I like watching Woody Harrelson verbally berate Jesse Eisenberg just as much as the next person. Emma Stone, too. Oh, and Abigail Breslin... dang, Eisenberg doesn’t come away from that movie unscathed, does he? The video game aesthetics perfectly play on the zombie fever of the late aughts and it remains highly rewatchable. But there always comes to a point where I’m like, “OK, yeah I get it.” The best rewatchables never drag and Zombieland does, if only slightly.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t make time to revisit it on the regular. Like Mizzou’s dispatching of Mike White’s mediocre squad, it’s high octane and light on its feet. And while it certainly earns its R-rating for a plethora of gory zombie kills, all of my favorite moments happen between the viscera.

“One and done, I always say. I said that once.”

Funny enough, one and done has been Mizzou’s offensive strategy this season. In Athens, it worked beautifully to the tune of a deluge of Nick Honor and D’Moi Hodge three-point bombs. Why wait for the offensive rebound when Nick Honor is about to can his third straight 25-footer?

Without overstaying my welcome, Zombieland is easy to watch. Mizzou thrashing Georgia was also easy to watch! Let’s not overthink it.

★★★★★ for the win over Georgia, and ★★★★☆ for Zombieland, which remains one of the better zombie-era comedies to emerge from America’s strange obsession with the undead

Watchability Meter

When Mizzou turned on the thrusters during their weekend dismantling of Georgia, I had a moment that called me back to my childhood. And that moment was of playing NBA Street Vol. 2 on the Playstation 2.

I’ve never been the biggest NBA fan. Chalk it up to St. Louis not having a team and my loyalties lying squarely with the Tigers and North Carolina Tar Heels (I liked Space Jam and the color powder blue, sue me.) But I did love NBA video games, specifically the offshoots of the typical 2K series. NBA Street was a favorite. NBA Ballers was another. Hell, catch me on a good afternoon picking Tim Duncan in Backyard Basketball in the junky old PC in my room.

But NBA Street was always my favorite. I loved the fantasy aspects of it, how it sought to blend the game’s burgeoning popularity with ‘90’s hip-hop culture and the power up gaming you’d find in any typical platformer. It was right up my alley, and I logged a considerable amount of hours in any of the career modes you could find.

Aside from racking up scores for dunks that defied the laws of physics, there was nothing more satisfying than catching fire when you went on a shooting streak. The sight of a man jogging around the court engulfed in flame brings back memories, memories of long summer afternoons with too little sunshine and too much caffeine.

Watching Mizzou on Saturday brought that feeling back in a very real way. While Nick Honor canned deep three after deeper three and D’Moi Hodge continued his year-long project of becoming the SEC’s best exclusive three-point shooter, I questioned why their visages weren’t set alight by some off-kilter TV producer. Maybe live broadcasts should bring those effects into modern broadcasts. Say, there’s an idea!

Until they do, however, I’ll be more than content to enjoy games where the Tigers seemingly can’t miss. Maybe the nostalgia it brings me will be enough.

For a dizzying display of heat check competence, Mizzou gets five out of five NBA Street PS2 covers.

I personally preferred the sequel, but this is the better cover

Disrespectful Dunk Index

Wouldn’t you know it, we’ve got a dunk to cover today!

Mizzou spared us the cardiac trauma of yet another late game back-and-forth this past week (I know Mississippi State was last week, but we already covered it), and while the three-point shooting was certainly the highlight of their trip to Athens, it wasn’t exactly coming during a high-stakes affair.

Luckily, the long stride and powerful delivery of Mohamed Diarra has saved me the trouble of trying too hard to make another step-back three fit the bill.

  • Category 1: How difficult/impressive was the dunk? (0-20)

I can only stretch the truth so much in one column, and the truth of the matter is this: Georgia was doomed from the start here.

This is what we call the “Triangle of Death” and Terry Roberts is caught dead in the center

Nick Honor leads a 3-on-1 break down the floor, a deadly proposition for the Bulldogs against a transition offense like Missouri’s. That the defender getting back is 6’3” Terry Roberts? Not ideal. That the man charging down the floor with the grace of a gazelle and the power of a rhino is 6’10” Mohamed Diarra? Even less so.

Pictured: Terry Roberts realizing he wasn’t built for this

However, it is worth mentioning how far away from the hoop Diarra begins his leap. He starts from the top of the interior SEC logo. It doesn’t look like much given his length, but that’s much farther than you’ll see most dunkers leap. Props to him for using that frame!


  • Category 2: What did the dunker do immediately afterward? (0-20)

This is a Dennis Gates team, so Mohamed Diarra quickly got back on defense with little fanfare (he did a little bounce and shuffle on the way back so not nothing.) I deeply love Gates and what he’s done to this program in such a short amount of time, but it’s about time he instituted some taunting policy, i.e. a minimum amount of taunts per basketball play. Is he trying to develop men here or prepare his players for the NBA?


  • Category 3: How hard did the defender try to stop it? (0-20)

I love this category because even when the defender doesn’t completely put his body on the line, a high score is still possible. This time, it’s due to how quickly Roberts exits the line of fire.

Watch out, Mohamed, Terry Roberts is stretching his hand out at you

Sure, Roberts could have stepped in to try and take the charge. Doing so would’ve been the brave thing to do, even if it resulted in the end of his professional reputation. Instead, Roberts parts the seas for Mohamed to deliver the good news of Mizzou basketball to that poor, unbaptized rim. The speed at which he vacated the space is, in my opinion, almost as good as sacrificing himself for the cause. The cause of this post, that is.


  • Category 4: Is there backstory between the dunker and the dunkee? (0-15)

Despite both spending some time on the JUCO circuit, it doesn’t appear that Diarra and Roberts ever ran into each other. That is, unless Roberts has spent time vacationing in the suburbs of Paris. Just one JUCO product giving another a friendly knock about the gym.


  • Category 5: Did the ball go straight through the rim or did it rattle around a little? (0-5)


  • Category 6: How did everyone not immediately involved react? (0-20)

This may be cheating, but are we counting the entirety of the backboard when we say “everyone”? The cameraman continues to follow the flow of the game, which doesn’t give us much in the way of crowd or bench reaction. But if you pay close attention to the backboard, that thing is swaying like an oak in a tornado. Diarra creates so much power from such a seemingly innocuous slam that I thought Athens was experiencing a small earthquake. It gets funnier every time I watch it.


Mohamed Diarra’s breakaway dunk was 56 percent disrespectful to Georgia and Terry Roberts.

Superlatives and Awards

The “De La Salle Award” for guy who thinks he got his swagger back OOHHH OOHHH:

After five straight games of scoring in single-digits, Noah Carter has 10 and 12 points in back-to-back games, respectively. He’s also shot 50 percent from three in those two wins.

“The BBC News Award” for best interview interruption:

Dennis Gates is goofy as hell.

“The Jon Snow Award” for those who have to defend an unpopular position:

Live look at Harris and Watkins trying to defend projections with Mizzou on the 8/9 seed line. Fight to the end, brothers.