March 14, 2012

2012 Tiger Mailbag: 9th Edition

Each Wednesday, publisher Gabe DeArmond and recruiting editor Pete Scantlebury will answer questions from subscribers in our Tiger Mailbag. This feature will allow for longer, more in-depth answers than you may get on the message board on a daily basis. To have your question in next week's mailbag, send an email to Gabe at [email protected] On to this week's inquiries:

PaulEC asks: If you were allowed to sit in with the NCAA committee and offer recomendations and changes to the way they select teams and seed them what would you change?

GD: I would make two changes. First of all, the auto bid goes to the regular season champ. That's how I think it should be. I understand why it isn't and won't ever happen (TV ratings for conference tournaments, keeping everyone alive, etc), but I think winning the regular season is more important than getting hot at the right time. Middle Tennessee deserves to be in the tournament. So does Drexel. Second, I would seed the top four geographically. Syracuse in Boston, Kentucky in Atlanta/St. Louis, Carolina in the other one and Michigan State out west. Then, you simply follow the S-curve. The fifth overall seed plays the worst number one. The sixth overall seed plays the third number one. The best three seed is paired with the worst two seed and on and on down the line. Only exception I make to this is for two teams from the same conference. In other words, if Missouri is truly the eighth seed overall, put them in Kentucky's bracket.

Jpec91 asks: Among the teams in the west region, who would be the toughest matchup for us? And then beyond a 13-seed or worse, who would most likely provide the most favorable matchup? How confident would you be betting on Mizzou to make the Final Four?

GD: Last question first, I don't bet on sporting events. Haven't in about 15 years. So not comfortable at all. However, I am picking Mizzou to the Final Four. As far as the toughest matchup, it's Michigan State. They're big, they're physical and they're good. Marquette isn't easy, nor is Florida, but they've not proven to be as good as the Spartans. Plus, I'd never bet against Tom Izzo in March. As far as favorable matchups, I actually think Missouri has one against Florida. The teams are similar, but Missouri has been better at doing what it does than the Gators. I also like the matchup with Murray State if they meet in the Sweet 16…which I have them doing in my brackets.

pentagon asks: Now that the Big 12 BB is over, what are your thoughts and what was the most exciting game covering the Big 12?

GD: I have said a number of times I'll miss Big 12 basketball. I grew up when the Big Eight was the best basketball conference in the country. I fell in love with college hoops watching guys like Derrick Chevious, Mitch Richmond, Danny Manning, Mookie Blaylock, Jeff Grayer, Shaun Vandiver, Byron Houston, Anthony Peeler, etc, etc. It was a great, great basketball league and I'll miss it.

As far as the most exciting game, I don't know how it gets any better than the two MU-KU games this year. The highest stakes, the greatest rivalry (IMO) in college basketball, the passion and the noise in those arenas. Unbelievable way for the rivalry to go on hiatus.

tommyjay25 asks: I have heard in interviews, Coach Pinkel saying that DGB's decision has led to more immediate successesin recruiting in-state kids for 2013. Is this something that these kids have said to you, and in your opinion, will the decision of DGB be the break-through moment that will allow Mizzou to "lock down the borders" (which I know is impossible) as much as ever before?

PS: DGB's decision definitely has not gone unnoticed by the 2013 crop of recruits. When the No. 1-recruit in the nation picks the in-state school, it validates that school as a "cool" choice, which is big in recruiting. His decision has already helped this year, and some of the top guys, like Nick Ramirez and Ezekiel Elliott, have mentioned it in the past.

But, with recruiting, it's always the "what have you done for me lately" factor. DGB's decision will help this year. By next year, it will wear off a bit. Same for the year after that, and so on. Missouri needs to propel DGB's decision into a big class this year, and continue that momentum to really consider it a break-through movement.

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