It was March 2012…the Mizzou Tigers basketball team was rolling as they began the NCAA tournament seeded #2 in the West. Frank Haith had put behind him the scandals at Miami dealing with Nevin Shapiro as his Tiger team seemed destined for huge success. They were ranked #3 in the USA, 30-4 for the season, Champions of the Big 12 tournament, highest scoring team in the country …. man…like couldn’t be any better. But the very next game seemed to send them down a miserable road for the next 5 years! Shockingly, the Tigers were upset by Norfolk State 86-84 in the 1st round of tournament. From that point on….Tiger bball fortunes have staggered…I’m being kind. …the 2011-12 Frank Haith1st team had 7 seniors, they were 4 of the top 5 scorers on the team scoring 67% of the points. Haith was the AP Coach of the Year…Phil Pressley was a terrific point guard, Laurence Bowers & Ricardo Racliffe were the inside muscles at 6-8 and Marcus Denmon was the leading scorer. The shocking upset sent these Seniors…who had dominated the playing time… packing with a horrible taste in their mouth as well as many sour attitudes
…the 12-13 team still had one starter, Presley, returning but a heavy influx of transfer players (Alex Oriakhi, Earnest Ross, and Keion Bell coming into Mizzou. This trio was expected to contribute immediately. Some did…some did not. Haith’s 2nd team…now in the SEC…Tigers went 23-11, 11-7 in conference…while this was still a “good” year it was a significant dip from 11-12 year. The Tigers fell in Quarterfinals of SEC tourney to Ol’ Miss and again were upset in the 1st round game of the NCAA tournament to Colorado State. But trouble seemed to be simmering…Mike Dixon got removed from school and Laurence Bowers suffered a midseason injury. When he returned later, he really wasn’t the same quality player.
….the 13-14 season for Frank Haith again had 1 starter returning (Jabari Brown) so more transfers filed into Columbia. The real excitement centered around transfereea, Jordan Clarkson, Zach Price and Jabari Brown. The Tigers went 23-12, 9-9 in conference. The Tigers failed to make the NCAA and lost their 2nd round game of the NIT to S. Miss. But…more importantly in Dec 2013, NCAA violations on Level I, II, III, IV were charged against Haith and his Mizzou basketball program. Levels I & II are considered serious by the NCAA. Shortly after season ended, Haith asked for a contract extension when Mizzou declined, Haith bolted to Tulsa University. Leaving the violations behind…and completely unknown to his successor Kim Anderson ..who was hired after determined that they couldn’t’ swallow the asking price for Wichita State’s Greg Marshall.
…Anderson, a Sedalia, MO native was living in his dream job after taking his Cen Missouri team to the NCAA –D2 championship, he failed…pure and simple….coaches are hired to win these days…you aren’t there to “develop” players into men or women. Anderson’s record at Mizzou for 3 seasons was 27-68 and 8-46 in the SEC and required his departure. Was it due to the Peter Principle? Was it an avalanche of restrictions that would prohibited anyone from digging out? Was it poor evaluation of talent? Was it inept recruiting ? Probably it was a combination of all ot them…who knows. While I respect highly Kim Anderson….Mizzou HAD to release him.
….that brings us to Berkeley California and Cuonzo Martin. Martin was raised locally so he has many ties to Missouri. His record @ Cal was 62-39, he finished T-8, T-3 and 5th in his 3 years in the Pac 12. His team lost in the 1st round of NCAA in 2016 and the 1st round of the NIT in 2017. He has demonstrated the ability to recruit and do it legally. He works hard. So from the dismal, dark day in 2012 when Norfolk State upset the Tigers, then the tumultuous 5 years that brought us to Berkeley to hire Cuonzo Martin
….already it appears that the worm has turned for Tiger basketball…how?…well, when Lorenzo Romar was fired…sorry not PC….when Romar was “let go”… in Washington ..a secondary…an important secondary step transpired…Asst Washington Coach Michael Porter (who had only been hired last off season) was released from his contract…importance?….his 6-10 HS Sr son, Michael Porter Jr, is considered the top prospect in the entire USA…and Cuonzo has a good rapport with Porter..in fact.. he’s probably already hired Porter….and….you win the bonus prize too…his younger bro. …JonTay (class of 18) also a top 10 USA prospect has already decommited from Washington…yes…Mizzou will change their entire program….in part…due to the Romar firing in Washington…let’s hope that the next 5 years continue as well as the 1st week has for Cuonzo Martin and for Missouri and Mizzou fans
…more Mizzou stuff….
….the hottest news in Columbia is the baseball Tigers! After losing the opening game, Coach Steve Bieser has seen his Tigers rattle off 16 straight wins…including 7 by one run!
He coached @ Vianney & SEMO …where he won 3 consecutive Ohio Valley Conferences. Bieser played professionally and made it to the MLB for 2 seasons…a very unusual event for someone drafted in the 32nd round. His versatility kept him playing professional for 9 years and now the all-around knowledge of all positions is being put to good use as a college coach.
….Mizzou women basketball (21-10) are playing in the NCAA tourney this weekend with their 1st round game against S Florida.
….Missouri received $39,382,365 from the SEC network in February. Mizzou’s total enrollment (undergrad & post-grad) is 33,266. That means that the income from the sports network was worth $1183 per student. Since the total budget is $3 billion, $39m might seem trivial..but not to me..that’s some cash. I would like to raise a yellow flag here about long term payouts from SEC network… ESPN is suffering severe losses in subscribers. In Nov, ESPN dropped 621,000 subscribers – the most in any one month. Will this become a growing issue across the country or any other sports networks? Nothing lasts forever. I remember the days when Friday nights were dominated by boxing.
NCAA tourney thoughts …
…So defending NCAA Champion, Villanova racked up 31 wins…the most of any defending NCAA champ only to lose to Wisconsin in the round of 32
…the inconsistencies in the NCAA approaches to NCAA championships….in basketball, champions of conference or conference tournaments are ensured a spot—in football, conference title are meaningless in the choice of the 4 playoff teams; in basketball, the NCAA tournament lasts 3 full weeks …I would have to assume that players miss classes on 10-12 days—in football, the NCAA says it must limit playoffs to 4 teams so that players don’t miss so many classes…and on top of it…the bowls are often during holiday break… reminder…I’ve proposed 8 teams in football playoff—5 champions of the 5 major conferences and 3 wild card teams.
….Wichita State got the shaft in their placement in the brackets…the Shockers were ranked #8 in KenPom and #29 in the RPI but the committed put them @ #38.…so…..winning game 1 put them up against Kentucky in round 2….how many teams in the country can beat Kentucky? 1 ? 2? 3?
….”play in” games are a joke…does anyone in the entire country think that any of those play in teams has ANY change….ANY change…of winning the title….sure…I know that fans love the underdog in the early rounds but ….gimme a break…isn’t 64 teams enough?
….Kansas looks unbelievably strong to me….and to think…at one time…decades ago…Mizzou took a pass on Bill Self
…here’s a suggestion…considering that the NCAA owns the NIT tournament and the NIT tournament where reportedly for the next best 32 teams play at the same time as the NCAA…do any of you know more than 5 of the 32 teams in that tournament….I sure don’t……here’s an idea….bring back the final 8 (elite 8) NCAA teams…to start the next season….This 8 team tourney would be held in a neutral site.
It’d be a fun way to start the next season…sure would beat playing 3 cupcakes to guarantee 3 wins.
…watching all the Aussies playing for St. Mary’s was watching a different style of basketball…clearly they weren’t as athletic as most of the other teams but their fundamentals made them entertaining to me. They won a play-in game, then beat VCU before bowing to Arizona.
Missouri HS basketball thoughts
….it was a clean sweep for St. Louis in all the Class 4 and Class 5 championships. Vashon won the Boys 4A, Webster Groves the boys 5A titles. On the Girls side it was Incarnate Word in Class 4 and Kirkwood in Class 5….Congrats to all those coaches who reached the top of the mountain in 2017.