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The Revue: Mizzou gets the job (mostly) done in a (mostly) satisfying week

Sometimes you’ve got to put meat and potatoes on the menu. Oh, and f*** you, February.

People always use “the dog days” when talking about summer. But can we discuss February for just a second?

February unequivocally sucks. If it wasn’t for the birth of one of my children, February would be my least favorite month with a bullet. With 28 bullets, actually. One for every day of February.

I recently learned about the Fixed International Calendar, which seems like a really good idea outside of recalculating birthdays and public holidays. And while I have generally liked the idea more as I’ve thought about it, I have to say my support is conditional upon the proposal of eliminating February altogether and replacing it with a different month. Maybe January II? Something other than this prolonged winter misery with no holidays.

Oh, you like Groundhog Day? Give me a break. Not even Punxsutawney Phil likes Groundhog Day. That chunky rodent has to be dragged out of bed every year and held up by a man in a dusty-ass secondhand Christmas Carol costume so he can tell us it’s going to be miserable for another 28 days. There’s a reason Bill Murray’s seminal comedy based on the “holiday” is steeped in the psychologically terror-inducing thought of being caught in a time-loop. February feels like hell and I want to kill it and the person who thought of it.

Anyway, we’re in the dog days of February now, and I can’t wait to get to March. Thus far Mizzou has mostly avoided making this month any worse than it already is, and I’d appreciate them keeping it that way.

The Revue

Cursed Truman dog

Sometimes you need a little bit of meat and potatoes for dinner. No flash. No pizazz. Just meat and potatoes.

Maybe that’s being generous to the week of basketball that Missouri played last week and the movie that I’m about to compare it to. But I’m having a difficult time thinking of a more apt metaphor that captures the feeling I want to evoke. Meat and potatoes just always get the job done. Be it chicken and mashed, steak and au gratin, burger and fries... there’s a comfort you feel knowing meat and potatoes are on the menu. For my vegetarian friends, I’m sorry, I can’t think of a translation here. Beyond Burgers are pretty good though.

When I think of, “get the job done,” in the realm of movies, I always think of Game Night. I’ll never forget seeing Game Night for the first time back in 2018 during the glorious days of MoviePass. Never have I walked into a theater with a better expectation-to-reward variance. It looked like the most generic of Hollywood studio comedies, and it hit on just the right level of comedy from every era. A little bit of screwball, a little bit of satire, a little bit of mad-cap absurdism, a little bit of lingering Apatow-era sweetness... it was the perfect blend, and it remains a go-to low-stakes comedy to this day.

Again, that may be a generous read for the decidedly mixed week of basketball Missouri just had. But maybe Dennis Gates has lured the optimist out of me. Because when I look back on the past week, a not insignificant part of my brain reads, “job done.” The Tigers avoided a bad loss to LSU at home (though they could have juiced the ephemeral “metrics” a bit with a blowout) and lost what was always going to be an ugly road contest in Starkville. A bit of a missed opportunity, yes, but also not outside the realm of possibility for a team floating around the 7-10 seed line like Missouri. It’s not the end of the world, in any case.

Is it the best outcome? Of course not. But it kept me entertained all the way up until Chris Jans decided to leave his stink behind. Hey, every movie has a few jokes that fall flat. But hey, we’re not looking for a masterpiece. Meat and potatoes, y’all.

★★★☆☆ for the week of hoops, ★★★★☆ for Game Night, which is better than the basketball I’m pairing it with, even if it makes for a clean thematic tie-in

Watchability Meter

If you’ve been around basketball or the Bible for any amount of time, you’ll probably be familiar with the phrase, “Live by the sword, die by the sword” or “Live by the three, die by the three,” or any other way you can translate this incredibly versatile piece of wisdom. Thanks, Jesus, you created a sick advice template.

One of the genuine revelations of this year’s Mizzou team has been their ability to, of all things, make the threes that they shoot. I’m not sure if someone told Cuonzo Martin’s staff and roster that wasn’t allowed outside of certain pockets of the NBA, but the memo has certainly reached Columbia now. The Tigers may not be the country’s best three-point shooting team, but they sure do shoot a metric ton of them. And when they’re going in, go ahead and pack your garment bags because Missouri is about to take you to the cleaners.

However, we’re starting to see how Missouri’s strategy — ignore size altogether and generate offense through transition and quick ball movement finding good outside looks — can backfire. Take Mississippi State, for example. When the Bulldogs ground Saturday’s game into a smooth, slow paste, Missouri couldn’t find a way to do either of the things that get them points. It resulted in their lowest scoring output of the season and a truly heinous excuse for basketball.

Go back one game, however, and you’re reminded of just how much fun nailing threes can be. Tuning LSU up with 13-27 outside shooting and letting the game get close just for the giggles? That’s a good-ass time. So while the week wasn’t perfect, I think Mizzou still deserves three and a half Damascus swords (apparently one of the most dangerous in history? I don’t know, looks pretty silly to me) for giving us a good time. Let’s hope they don’t fall on their own sword too often before March rolls around.

Ridley-Scott-mediocre-epic-ass looking weapons

Disrespectful Dunk Block Index

For only the second time this season, we’re shaking things up.

Mizzou’s frantic pace of play, coupled with their good-not-great overall athleticism, makes the amount of authentic poster dunks scarce to non-existent. Dunks generating any sort of physical and emotional power only tend to come every so often. And when they do, they tend to come on the break, meaning any of the extracurriculars that could elevate a second-tier jam tend to get left behind for the sake of continuing play.

However, the pace does sometimes give Missouri the opportunity to extend disrespect in other ways. A dagger three and a cold stare can communicate almost as much as a forceful throw down. Or, in this specific instance, making sure your opponent doesn’t get the chance to disrespectfully dunk on you in your own arena.

It feels wrong that our first mention of Isiaih Mosley in the DDI comes off of a defensive effort. But it takes something special to veer from the previously established format and this block is all that and a bag of NIL cash. It would feel more wrong not to acknowledge it.

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

The cynical part of me wants to point out the fact that Mosley was hanging out near the half court when the original pass was thrown, giving him a much easier time at catching the play. But credit to LSU: The pass is perfectly placed, hitting freshman Tyrell Ward in stride, and Ward takes an obligatory foundational step before planting for the leap. Even at that moment, Mosley is about two steps behind, making the block an uncertainty. That Mosley chooses to go up for it noticing Ward’s hesitance (we’ll talk about that in section three), is a cheeky bit of defending that needs to be exulted. He could’ve been punked by Ward, but he sold out and was rewarded.


  • Category 2: What did the dunker blocker do immediately afterward? (0-20)
My man got cooked and Isiaih knows it

We absolutely must get Isiaih some extra dunk opportunities. I don’t know of anyone else on Mizzou’s roster that would purposefully put off getting back on offense — Mosley’s prime strength! — in order to stand over his opponent and gloat. Mosley even does the casual jog-and-hover so as not to get in trouble with the official right next to him. That’s some savvy veteran taunting right there. Put a freshman in his place and steal his soul as he lies crumpled on the baseline.


  • Category 3: How hard did the defender opponent try to stop it? (0-20)
Was he going to dunk it on the back side of the hoop? I’m confused by the angle

Ward went up for it, folks. His approach was horrible (why are you going to the side like that, man, just throw the thing down) as he tried to avoid the contact from behind, leaving a lane for Mosley to get in and assert himself. But other than the bad approach, which you can understand from a freshman, Ward took the thing in stride and went all the way up for it. That he ended up flat on his ass with two legs in the air is evidence of that.


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

This has been the toughest category to fake stretch all season because of the Missouri roster’s previous lack of connection to the SEC and their opponents. If I was feeling more up to it, I’d say that Tyrell Ward’s five-star pedigree made him a target for Mosley, who entered college as a three-star talent and has far outstretched his recruiting ranking, giving him a chip on his shoulder against blue-chippers. But then I’d have to dress it up in fancy language instead of just saying it like that. So no, no backstory that I can see.


  • Category 5: Did the ball go straight through the rim or did it rattle around a little How fast did the ball fly off the blocker’s hand? (0-5)

Meh. There wasn’t a lot of space for Mosley to send it and the block necessitated a less flamboyant spike. And you could arguably say that the relative weakness of the contact was optimal so Sean East II could simply scoop up the loose ball.

But it would’ve been pretty fun to see the ball fly 20 rows into the stands, yeah?


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

Benny Blanco and Jackson Francois are quickly becoming my favorite bench duo in quite some time. Are they the most athletically accomplished walk-ons? No, but that’s sort of the point. You don’t want guys that are too good warming your bench. You want guys that are going to make damn fools of themselves on national TV with no regard for their own reputation or dignity.

Sternberg runs across the bench to dig on Ward while Francois wildly flexes his... I don’t know, but I can’t say they’re muscles. I’m already starting to look for them when I watch highlights, meaning they have to be doing something right.

“F*** around, find out” is a law of nature that doesn’t apply to Benny Blanco

I’d also like to tip my cap to the towel guy in the white shirt off to the right here. There may be nothing to this, but it really does feel like he quickly makes his way to the spot where Ward is lying so that he can get some pointed digs in as the freshman gets to his feet. He’s definitely bending over to direct his attention at Ward, and I want to believe I can see his lips moving. Imagine getting dogged by the towel guy. I’d hit the showers post-haste.

“He just mopped your ass up like I’m going to mop up this sweat” or something like that idk


Isiaih Mosley’s block was 80 percent disrespectful to Tyrell Ward and the LSU Tigers.

Superlatives and Awards

Lifetime Achievement Award: Congrats to honorary senior citizen Tolu Smith for being around what feels like the past century of college basketball. At least that’s how long he’s been giving me heartburn every time Mizzou plays the Bulldogs.

NCAA Basketball: Texas Christian at Mississippi State Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

“Bailey Award” for Guy Currently in the Dog House: Did you know “Bailey” is the most popular male dog name in the United States? I didn’t. If you have a dog named Bailey, email me and I’ll give you a prize.

Anyway, Aidan Shaw needs to start grabbing some rebounds or he’s going to start making rent payments on the doghouse.

Those words from Dennis Gates are not very minced.

The “OH LAWD, HE COMIN’” Award for Biggest Boi: Did Kaleb Brown earn some minutes just for this?

One has to wonder.

The “It’s Jordan Clarkson time” Award for guy that calls his own number: Dree Gholston sure does put up some prayers, y’all.

I should add that I’m OK with it. It is Dree Gholston time, after all.