It’s GAMEDAY for everybody this weekend!
We’ve got so much on tap this Friday! Men’s Hoops will take on Tennessee, who disposed of Ole Miss convincingly Thursday afternoon, sometime around 2:30ish in the SEC Tourney. At 3pm, Baseball plays its first game of the series against NJIT (preview coming). At 4pm, Softball takes the field against Kentucky (see my preview here). And then at 6pm, Mizzou Gymnastics’ final regular season meet kicks off at Hearnes as they take on Ball State, North Carolina and SEMO.
I was going to try to cover/watch all the things (except baseball; that’s for my colleague Kortay), but I just don’t think it’s going to happen. I will NOT miss my Tiger Hoopers, and I can’t miss the gymnastics meet either, so I think I’m going to have to skip the softball game (which I can watch later).
Since I have already shared my MU-UK preview and we’ll have SO MUCH hoops coverage here at Rock M, I’m going to use this time up top to write about the Senior Night gymnastics meet! Because Mizzou’s opponents tonight are teams they should beat without a problem, I’m going to go about this preview a bit differently.
Long story short, it’s upset season— Mizzou Photography (@MizzouPix) March 4, 2023
Down goes No. 8 Alabama pic.twitter.com/AVUu7xXOkL
First up, score comparisons!
As you can see, Mizzou should be the heavy favorite in this one. While Carolina and Ball State could contend with the Tigers in head-to-head matchups if they score well on bars (UNC) and vault (Ball State), I look at this as more of a chance for Mizzou to raise their NQS for the postseason.
Ahhhh... the National Qualifying Score (NQS). I get the reasoning behind it. It helps to determine which 36 teams will ultimately advance to NCAA regionals, which will take place March 29-April 2. Per this 2021 article in the Deseret News, the NQS takes your top 6 scores, which must contain 3 from road or neutral sites, removes your highest score, and then averages the remaining 5. Basically, it prevents the “home cookin” scores that some of the upper echelon programs receive from raising them too high in the standings. In Mizzou’s case, however, their top score this season — 197.850 — was achieved on THE ROAD at Arkansas, and poof! It’s gone. In most cases, a team’s highest score comes at home. The NQS is also interesting because it negates the actual finish of a meet; it’s only focused on the scores!
As an example, looking at the top 4 teams in the country - Oklahoma, Michigan, Florida and Utah - Oklahoma’s highest score was at home vs WVU, while Florida’s top TWO highest scores are from home (including their highest, which was against... us), and Utah’s top FOUR highest scores are all at home. Michigan is the outlier here, as their two highest scores (side note: they are super consistent) are both on the road. An anomaly for sure.
Hence why this quad meet is important. Mizzou needs to get to that 197.85 again, or as close to it as possible, so it yanks up their NQS. As it stands, the highest score they’re counting right now in the NQS is 197.45 (Auburn). Below is a chart of MU’s highest six scores. We want to get rid of that lowest home score (196.97), and then replace it with a score (obviously) in the 197-range. Say they amass a 197.60 at the quad tonight, which would be their second-highest score overall. If you redo the math, still dropping that ARK high score, that brings their NQS up to 197.109 (from 196.985), which would move them up to 15th, and that is if everyone else’s scores stay exactly the same (which is unlikely). Weirdly enough, despite the win, the 197.045 from the Alabama meet actually moved Mizzou DOWN in the standings a few spots because, as I mentioned in my recap, it wasn’t their best night. The key is staying in the Top 16 range. They need to be in that range.
Instead of typing all these out in my typical Mizzou vs Opponent format, I thought I’d go with this instead. Below is how individual Tigers have performed on each apparatus. I will point out, should everyone tie their high score, the highest team score possible is 198.45, per Road to Nationals. I do not expect this to occur; I’m just throwing it out there.
The numbers in parentheses are the national rankings. Helen keeps moving up in beam and Joci is holding steady at 4th in vault, which is amazing. The biggest jump I’ve seen when tracking this info so far has been Amari, who got off to a slower start this season after missing the first few meets. Just looking at the ladies’ scores compared to last year, there’s actually not much room for improvement. On Vault, Grace Ann scored a 9.875 last March. On Bars, Alisa scored a 9.90 twice, while Hollyn had a 9.95?! On Beam, Sienna had a 9.975 at last year’s Raleigh Regionals, while Sydney had a 9.925 twice last year (?!). And finally, on Floor, Hannah had a 9.95 last February, while Amari scored a 9.975 last March. Otherwise, our girls are performing at their best ever! For what it’s worth, I’m unsure of how to explain the steep drop-offs in both Hollyn and Sydney’s scores.
Let’s hope we see some amazing performances and lovely senior tributes for Alisa Sheremeta, Hannah McCrary, Hollyn Patrick, and CoMo native Adalyana Hufendiek. Helen Hu and Sienna Schreiber are also listed as seniors on the roster, but I haven’t seen any social posts yet about them as of [UPDATED] Friday AM (linking to the others).
Important question: do gymnasts get Covid years? Meaning, can Sienna and Helen come back? Hmmm….
You can check out the action on SEC+ at 6pm: Here’s the link. https://www.espn.com/watch/player/_/id/03fe7c58-82a5-4c82-9149-38434c531d0c
ON TO THE LINKS!!! M-I-Z!
Yesterday at Rock M
- SOFTBALL PREVIEW: #23/25 Missouri Tigers welcome #17 Kentucky Wildcats for SEC Opener
- Because it came in late Thursday night, and I do what I want, here’s my softball recap (with quotes!): Mizzou wins surprisingly exciting game against Kansas City
- NCAA Championship Wrestling: All-Time Mizzou Weight Class Rankings
- Checking in with Missouri’s 2023 Football Opponents
- In case you missed it: New BTBS podcast: Spring football is here, Mizzou fans! | Sam wrote a cool story: Winning plays when it’s close & late
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Mizzou basketball’s veteran roster was built for postseason as SEC tournament arrives (Dave Matter) | Noah Carter: 3 things to know about the Mizzou basketball forward (Erik Hall) | Listen to the new Eye on the Tigers podcast: Snubbed by SEC honors, can Mizzou cut down nets in Nashville? (Matter, Ben Frederickson) | Tipsheet: First-year failures elsewhere underscore Gates’ achievement at Mizzou (Jeff Gordon)
- Columbia Missourian: Behind the big shots: DeAndre Gholston’s journey to MU (Jack Knowlton) | D’Moi Hodge and Mabor Majak: Inside the life and journey of an international player (Jaden Lewis) | Missouri to play Tennessee in quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament (Lewis)
- Kansas City Star: How Dennis Gates revived Mizzou basketball with disparate parts and why it bodes well (Vahe Gregorian) | Listen to the newest KC Sportsbeat podcast with Blair Kerkhoff, where they discuss, among other things, Mizzou’s rest heading into the SEC Tourney
The "3-Player Lineup Combos" with the best Offensive Rating in the SEC:— CBB Analytics (@CBBAnalytics) March 9, 2023
*Minimum 200 minutes played pic.twitter.com/ULzgZMM6Gi
- CANNOT WAIT.
- Columbia Tribune: What is connectivity and how will it help the Tigers in the SEC tournament? (Stahl) | What does a pricy coach offer in March Madness? No guarantee. (Blake Toppmeyer, USA Today Network) | How Sean East bet on himself and became a key piece of Mizzou’s NCAA Tournament bid (Stahl) | D’Moi Hodge named defensive player of the year finalist after All-SEC snub (Stahl)
- PowerMizzou: How Mizzou is preparing for the SEC Tournament (Drew King) | Five-star forward Jarin Stevenson details official visit to Missouri (King)
Per Gabe on PM:
Jimmy Dykes tabbed him his SEC Coach of the Year on the Florida/MS State broadcast. “I feel very strongly about where Dennis Gates should have been.”
- The Athletic: I spy the Mizzou Tigers as a potential bracket buster— the highest of the “Killer Ratings” (the chance of an underdog defeating an opponent at least five seeds higher) per their metrics, in this piece by Jordan Brenner and Peter Keating.
Okay, here it is, lock it in: Your first pick to break brackets in the second round is Missouri. The Tigers, after a decade of mediocrity or worse in the SEC, are likely to land a seed around the 8-line, and with one of the highest Killer Ratings we’ve ever seen, they’d make a lethal Round 2 underdog.
It took one year for coach Dennis Gates, whose nicknames from colleagues include “The Sheriff” and “relationship collector”, to turn things around at Cleveland State, and he’s rebuilt Missouri even more quickly.
- D’MOI for DPOY! If he can’t even make the (dumb) SEC list, I’m not sure he actually has a shot at this, but I LOVE to see it just the same. Read the story at MUTigers.com
- Columbia Tribune: Why Eli Drinkwitz supports SEC permanent opponents (Matt Stahl) |
- PowerMizzou: Takeaways from Eli Drinkwitz’s Thursday press conference (Gabe DeArmond) | Rivals250 DL Tionne Gray recaps latest Mizzou visit (Sean Williams) | Q&A with OC and QB coach Kirby Moore, Mekhi Miller and Armand Membou (Jarod Hamilton)
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Five takeaways from Mizzou football offensive coaches, players (Matter)
- Columbia Missourian: Now in second year, Schrader hopes to lead the way for other D-II players (Jack Soble)
- Watch/listen to Drink’s weekly presser here (MUTigers.com)
Obvious advice of the day... getting hit by Darius Robinson would not feel good pic.twitter.com/2YQdrvRPTN— Chanel Porter (@ChanelABC17news) March 9, 2023
- Jake x Luther
Jake Garcia ➡️ Luther Burden— Chanel Porter (@ChanelABC17news) March 9, 2023
Who wants to see more of this combo this season?? pic.twitter.com/SzbE0SWiM0
- Okay, DC
- Softball wins home opener over in-state foe (Caleb Logue, PowerMizzou)
- Missouri’s series against NJIT adjusted due to weather concerns (Ethan Burke)
- Read the MUTigers.com previews for both Mizzou Softball and Mizzou Baseball
Other Mizzou Sports
- Congrats, Carlo! Read more about it at the Missourian.
- Track and Field: Per MUTigers.com, Seniors Arianna Fisher and Roberto Vilches are set to compete in the NCAA Indoor National Championships in Albuquerque today and tomorrow. Vilches, the 3x All-American, All-SEC 2nd Team honoree, and program record holder, is currently ranked 9th in the high jump. Fisher, also an All-American, has the nation’s 10th best mark in the triple jump.
- WOW, HAYDEN!! He’s a former Tiger, but we’ll place this here.
Second group of the day to reach the par-3 17th ... first ace of the week.— Golf Central (@GolfCentral) March 9, 2023
Hayden Buckley spins one in from 125 yards.pic.twitter.com/7gEcXyru57
- Read the MUTigers.com preview of the Tigers’ quad meet. Here’s the rotation:
3/5 vs OKC (L 129-119): 34min | 18pts on 40% FG and 75% FT | 4 REB | 12 AST | 2 STL | 2 PF | 3 TO
UP NEXT: 3/11 vs CLT @6pm | 3/13 vs MIA @6:30pm | 3/18 vs BOS @8pm | 3/20 vs SAC @8pm
3/8 vs Bulls (L 117-96): 24min | 12pts on 5-13 FG (2-7 3pt) | 5 REB | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 1 PF | -2
3/6 vs TOR (W 118-113): 32min | 20pts on 7-11 FG (4-6 3pt) | 5 REB | 1 STL | 2 TO | 1 PF | +7
3/3 vs MEM (W 113-97): 30min | 26pts on 8-14 FG (2-7 3pt) & 8-8 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 2 PF | +10
UP NEXT: 3/10 vs Spurs @7pm | 3/12 vs DRUUUU @2:30pm | 3/14 vs TOR @6:30pm on NBAtv
- DRUUUUUUUUUUUU Smith & Brooklyn Nets (37-29) / Long Island Nets (22-3):
3/9 vs MIL (L 118-113): 22min | 17pts on 7-13 FG (2-6 3pt) | 2 REB | 4 AST | 1 BLK | 2 TO | +15
3/7 (with LIN) vs Cruise (W 114-102): 33min | 19pts on 7-14 FG (1-3 3pt) | 3 REB | 8 AST | 2 STL |1 BLK | 2 TO | 1 PF | +13
3/1 vs NYK (L 142-118): DNP, coach’s decision
UP NEXT: 3/10 vs MINN @7pm | 3/12 vs MPJ (ha) @2:30pm | 3/14 vs OKC @7pm | 3/16 vs SAC @6:30pm
- Jontay Porter & Wisconsin Herd (9-17): M.I.A. recently
3/4 vs Bulls (L 120-102): 36min | 12pts on 4-16 FG (1-9 3pt) | 15 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 5 BLK | 5 PF | -9
UP NEXT: 3/13 vs MEM @6pm | 3/15 vs CEL @6pm on ESPN+
- Jeremiah Tilmon & 905 Raptors (13-12): not playing much
3/9 and 3/8 vs BC (L 127-112, L 112-97): DNP, Coach’s decision
3/4 vs FWN (W 129-114): 3min | 0 pts on 0-1 FG | 1 REB | 1 TO | 1 PF | -3
3/2 vs FWN (W 135-125): 2min | 4pts on 2-2 FG | 1 TO | 2 PF | -4
UP NEXT: 3/12 vs Gold @2pm | 3/14 vs Gold @6pm on ESPN+
Former Tiger Hodgepodge Final Season Averages
Major Players (20min+ a game)
- Javon Pickett (SLU): In 30 games, Pickett averaged 22.3mpg and 9.6ppg. He shot a 46.8 FG%, 27.3 3PT%, and 80.6 FT%, to go with 4.7rpg, 1.6apg, and 0.4 steals. Analysis: Aside from his PPG being down (he averaged 11.1ppg) at Mizzou, his other shooting stats are up. Javon also averaged more rebounds, and lowered his turnovers. Overall, a good step for him to play his final season with the Bills.
- Sean Durugordon (Austin Peay): In 27 games, Sean averaged 28.4mpg and 12.4ppg. He had a 39.5 FG% and 31.0 3PT% to go with a 76.3 FT%. Duru also had 6rpg, 1apg, 0.4 blocks and 1 steal. Analysis: Obviously, as Duru barely played for Mizzou, his stats are WAY up across the board. He’s been great for Austin Peay with 5x the minutes allocation he got in CoMo. Great season for the NY native.
- Boogie Coleman (Ball State): In 29 games, Boogie averaged 34.4mpg and 14.5ppg. He shot 37.8 FG%, 36.2 3PT%, and 77.1 FT%. Boog also had 5rpg, 0.3 blocks, 1.4 steals, and 3.8apg Analysis: In about 6 more minutes per game than his time in CoMo, Coleman upped his FG and 3PT% (up from 30.3 from three!), while also increasing in pretty much every other statistical area (REB, AST, BLK, STLS, etc. Good for the kid!
- Amari Davis (Wright State): In 32 games, Amari averaged 19.7mpg and 8.5ppg, to go with 3rpg, 0.9apg, and 0.8 steals. He shot 43.4 FG% and 76.9% at the charity stripe. Analysis: This is fewer minutes than he averaged at Mizzou (27.2), and his FG percentage was slightly up (from 42.5), but his other shooting stats took a dip, though playing at a lower level.
- Torrence Watson (Elon): In 28 games, Torrence averaged 26.8mpg and 9.3ppg, to go with 6.1rpg, 0.3 blocks, and 1.5apg. He shot 34.5 FG% and 28.9% from 3PT, as well as 77.8 FT%. Analysis: 2 seasons removed from Mizzou, things have trended upward for the Whitfield School (St. Louis) product. He’s getting more than 3x the minutes he got in his final season in CoMo, and about the same as last year with Elon. His shooting numbers have remained the same in his time there, though he did shoot a bit lower from the three. Up were his rebounds, which were pretty non-existent at Mizzou, and double what they were last season in NC.
- Parker Braun (Santa Clara): In 32 games, PB averaged 30mpg and 7.9ppg to go with 6rpg, 1 block, 0.5 steals and 2.1apg. He shot 55.9FG% and 25 3PT% to go with only 46.7% at the stripe. Analysis: 2 seasons removed from Mizzou, things have gone pretty well for Braun. His minutes more than tripled what he was getting at Mizzou, but it did take a toll on his shooting numbers. More action means more misses (down 5% in FG, 15% in 3PT and FT).
- DaJuan Gordon (NM State): Season canceled as of Feb. 14. In 23 games, DaJuan averaged 26.7mpg and 9.3ppg, to go with 5.1rpg, 0.8apg, 0.3 blocks and 1.3 steals. Quaye shot 38.4 FG% and 23.5 3PT%, to go with 76.2 FT%. I wish him well. Analysis: Compared to his time in CoMo, DG had a decent season. His shooting numbers for Mizzou were a tad higher, especially in 3pt (36.4% to 27.3%), but he upped his rebounds and steals, and ppg (up from 8.3). Quaye’s 9.3PPG measured more closely with his time at K State (9.1ppg).
- Xavier Pinson (NM State): Season canceled as of Feb. 14. In 23 games, X averaged 31.3mpg and 13.3ppg, to go with 2.9rpg, 4.5apg, 0.2 blocks and 1.3 steals. The X-Man shot 38.7 FG% and 34.1 3PT%, to go with 85.7 FT%. I wish him well. Analysis: Now two seasons removed from Mizzou, X’s minutes did go up over his time at both LSU and NMSU than it was in CoMo, while his shooting percentage maintained that of what it was in CoMo. His 3pt percentage went slightly up, as did his rebounds.
- LaDazhia Williams (LSU): In 28 games, LDW averaged 26.5mpg and 9.1ppg to go with 6.1rpg, 1apg, 1 steal and 0.3 blocks. She shot 54 FG%, but only a 48 FT% (=). Analysis: Mizzou really could’ve used LDW’s height and physicality this season, and I just really like her and wish she hadn’t gone to the dark side. She averaged the same amount of points as at Mizzou at about 7.5 more minutes per game, as well as roughly the same in FG%. The weird thing was her complete turnaround at the stripe, where she shot 74% a year ago.
- Izzy Higginbottom (Ark St): In 29 games, Izzy averaged 31mpg and 16ppg, to go with 3.4apg, 3.1rpg, 1.8 steals and 0.1 blocks. She shot 39 FG% and 29.6 3PT% (⇩) to go with 91.7% at the line. Analysis: Man, Mizzou REALLY could’ve used Izzy on this roster, huh? The sophomore had a fabulous year, playing double the minutes, while doubling her rebounds, 2.5x the steals, upping her FG%. She did shoot worse from three and at the line, but wow, she had a good year.
Role Players (15 min or less a game):
- Anton Brookshire (Iona): In 29 games for the Gaels, AB averaged 9.6mpg and 4.4ppg to go with 1.3rpg, and 0.6apg. He shot 39.3 FG% to go with a 34.1% 3PT and 83.3% from the charity stripe. Analysis: AB played so little for Mizzou, his stats didn’t register from last season. Anton started off the season playing very little for Rick Pitino’s squad, but his numbers steadily went up. I’m happy he’s found a home.
- Jordan Wilmore (NW State): In 28 games, Big Jordan averaged 9.8mpg and 0.9ppg, to go with 2.1rpg, 0.5 blocks and 1 steal. He had a 39.3 FG%. Analysis: He played more regularly at NW State than at Mizzou, but almost all of his stats are down, including all aspects of shooting.
- Kiya Dorroh (Col State): In only 9 games, Kiya averaged 4.3 mpg and 2.1 ppg to go with 1.1 rebounds. She shot 52.9 FG% and 50% from the charity stripe. Analysis: I highly doubt Kiya thought when making the move to Colorado State that it would result in a lesser role. I’m not entirely sure what happened here, but she averaged 8.7mpg at an SEC program and her minutes were cut in half and she played in three times fewer games at a lower level. It’s odd.
- Ed Chang (Idaho State): In 12 games, Ed averaged 7.9 mpg and 2.1 ppg to go with 0.2 blocks and 0.6 steals. He shot 29 FG% and 25 3PT% to go with 40% from the charity stripe. Analysis: I have no idea why Ed’s stats from Mizzou don’t show up. It’s almost like he played so little for Mizzou he didn’t exist.
- Aijha Blackwell (Baylor): Coming off injury was tough for AB. After being out almost a month, she seemingly was reinjured and didn’t play again after 1/22. In 8 games, AB averaged 11.9mpg and 7.5ppg off the bench, to go with 4.4rpg, 0.3 steals and 0.1 blocks. She shot 48.9 FG% and a 25 3PT%. Analysis: This could have been a stellar season for AB at her new home in Waco. She genuinely seemed to love it. However, her lingering injury really put a damper on the season, and we were unable to see what she could do.
- Yaya Keita (Oklahoma): In 2 games this season, Yaya averaged 1.5mpg and 1 foul.
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