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February 28, 2008

2008 Tiger Mailbag: Free seventh edition

Nobody covers Tiger football and basketball like PowerMizzou.com. To get complete coverage 365 days a year, click here to start your free trial today!

Each Thursday, PowerMizzou.com publisher Gabe DeArmond 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 gabedea@powermizzou.com. On to this week's inquiries:

cln475 asks: What do the basketball Tigers have to do in their final games this season for it to be considered a success?

Well, there are two ways to look at this. The optimistic view is that they have to get to the NIT. I've said it all year, the NIT is a step forward for this program. The pessimistic view--and the one being taken by many, many fans--is that the rest of this year doesn't much matter. Between the tough losses and all the off-court problems, many are hoping to simply move on to next year when the program is infused with new blood and we can really get a look at what we can probably call the first true Mike Anderson team at Missouri. I'm somewhere in the middle. I understand the second viewpoint, but I think this team needs some postseason…any postseason. To get to the NIT, they have to win three more games, whether that means sweeping the regular season or getting two of three down the stretch and winning the opener in the Big 12 tournament.

jeffrgoldberg asks: I realize college athletics isn't fair, but to be fair to Mike Anderson, don't you have to give him 3 more years after this one? By that time his first real class will be Juniors, Even in two years, you cant expect a team of sophomores and freshmen to make the tourney can you? Unfortunately, I'm not sure Mizzou fans can wait that long.

Well, you have to give him two. Assuming the off-court incidents are in the past, anyone even discussing Mike Anderson's job security before the end of the 2009-10 season is ridiculously premature and impatient in my opinion. He took over a train wreck and more importantly, a train wreck that had no one who had ever won at this level. Learning to win is a process. Is it a cliché? Sure, but cliches become that way because they're true. I don't think it's unfair to expect a team of freshmen and sophomores to make the dance, especially when you are going to have Keon Lawrence, J.T. Tiller, Keith Ramsey, Zaire Taylor and Justin Safford as upperclassmen on that team. You could realistically see a team that doesn't start a single freshman or sophomore in 2009-10 so, no, it is not a bit unfair for the Tigers to be expected to be a tournament team in two years.

coleorrick asks: What are our chances of the NCAA's next year assuming we don't make them this year?

It rides on three things, and two of them are the same things I said that this season was dependent upon. First and foremost, Leo Lyons has to show up every single night. Not like he did against Oklahoma State every night, but he's got to be a 15 and 9 guy at the least. Second, Keon Lawrence has to become a playmaker, a leader and a go-to guy. I've seen him do some of it this year, but he will have to do a lot more of it next year. The third thing is, of these seven new faces on the team next year, how many of them can make a significant immediate contribution? You have to get it from at least two, and probably three, to have a tournament shot. I think it's possible. I don't know if you can expect it, but you can certainly hope for it.

slobby19 asks: OK, I know this is going to sound petty, but I've never gotten an answer to this question. Does Coach Anderson prohibit the wearing of headbands and other basketball "gear"? The reason I ask is that Hannah wore a headband at Chipola, Keon wore one in HS, and neither wears one for Mizzou. I know Bowers currently wears one, can we expect not to see that? I think the real athletic teams are all wearing them, and wonder why we don't.

I haven't the faintest idea. I've never noticed. I don't think the headbands are what makes those team athletic, I think it's the guys wearing them. They'd be just as good in tutus and tiaras I imagine.

mjkstl asks: You have stated previously you could see some players go into coaching after their playing days were over. What type of reaction would you expect to see on this board if a player such as Chase Daniel, Pig Brown, or Tommy Saunders was one day way in the future named as head football coach for a Big 12 North rival like Nebraska or ku?

Interesting question and I don't really know. I mean, you want to make money and advance in your profession. You go where that money is. I can't see the Kansas fan base being real accepting of a Mizzou grad, but who knows. John Kadlec was an assistant at K-State and he bleeds black and gold more than any man I know. You follow the cash and the opportunity.

kevink525 asks: Out of the 12 in-state recruits that have Mizzou offers, 3 are now committed and most Tiger fans think that Moe, Wilson, Meiners, Ford and Allen are MU leans. That leaves Wingo, Scheelhaase, Evans and Montee Ball as the bigger question marks for the 09' class...how would you view Missouri's chances with those four players?

I don't know if you can consider Bryant Allen an MU lean just yet. I don't even know if you can consider him a football lean. That one will be fun to watch. I think Wingo is 50-50. I think he ends up certainly at Mizzou or Illinois, but I don't know that either has a lead right now. I think Montee Ball ends up in black and gold. Evans and Scheelhaase to me are the biggest question marks. I continue to hear that OU and K-State are major players for Evans and Scheelhaase is going to have his pick of schools. One thing that can do nothing but help Missouri, though, is that they are looking at the possibility of having seven to nine of the elite in-state prospects committed before next season even starts in my opinion. You get that to happen, it catches the attention of the rest of them.

Jay0864 asks: In regards to the mailbag comments on the Big 12 strength....what conference(s) would you rank ahead of the Big 12 and why (perhaps include your dad on this as a mailbag followup). The out of conference wins this league put up were much better than in years past, they've beat the best of the Big 10, the SEC, Pac 10, and teams in the ACC (not sure about Big East). Do you believe the Big 12 deserves the consensus #2 conference ranking? If so, then is college basketball in its entirety just not as good?

First of all, college basketball as a whole is NOT as good as it was in the past. In my mind, there are very few teams I see as legitimate national title threats. Here are the teams I think are capable of putting together six straight games to win it all: Memphis, UCLA, Tennessee, Kansas, Texas, North Carolina. That's pretty much it. I will be very, very surprised if the national champ comes from a group outside of that.

Now, I think the Big 12 is pretty good, better than it's been in the past. Is it No. 2? Well, I like the PAC-10 a lot with UCLA, Arizona, Stanford and Washington State as teams that are good enough to go very deep in the dance. Teams like USC, Oregon, Washington, Cal they can rise up and win on any given night. I think that league is at least even with the Big 12. The SEC has Tennessee at the top with Vandy, Mississippi State, Kentucky and Arkansas could dance, but overall, I don't think that league's as good. The Big East is very tough (I mean it does have 204 teams in it now) with the likes of Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette and UCONN and the second-tier teams like Nova and Pitt. That's probably better than the Big 12. The Big Ten has Wisconsin, Purdue, Michigan State and Indiana at the top, which is as good as the top four in any other league, but I don't like the depth. That's probably about even with the Big 12. The ACC has Duke and Carolina who are as good as the top two in any other league, but I don't think they have much of anything past that. Top to bottom, not as good as the Big 12.

So, overall, is the Big 12 number two? It might be. I can't say definitively. I think it's better than the ACC and SEC. I think it's worse than the Big East and it's in the discussion with the PAC-10 and Big Ten.

ultimatedude3312 asks: Given what you have read, saw or heard about the MU baseball team, what is your prediction of this season?

I have to admit I don't know a lot about anybody else in the Big 12. Texas is always good and Okie State usually is too. Missouri ought to be the best team in the North I'm sure and ought to be a top three team in the Big 12 at worst. The expectation has to be hosting a regional. If they're going to get to Omaha, this sure would seem like the year.

vvn8bs asks: Please predict the draft rounds (or lack thereof) of all Mizzou football seniors.

After the combine, I think Franklin is the first off the board. I'd say he's a third rounder, with great workouts, maybe late second. I think Rucker goes in round three or four and I think somebody picks up Adam Spieker in the later rounds (six or seven). Tony Temple might be a late pickup as well. Other than that, I think the rest of the guys are going to have to make a team as a UFA.

1949 asks: Are there position changes that occur within this practice time frame? Which redshirts can we look to compete for starting positions? How much of the offense and defense are adapted to the new personnel changes?

LaRoderick Thomas and Earl Goldsmith are the only position changes we know so far. I'll check for others at the first practice. I think Trey Hobson is in the mix for a starting spot and Jake Harry is the starter at punter right now. Other than that, Missouri has a lot coming back, I'm not sure anyone competes for a starting job. But Michael Keck and Elvis Fisher are two players I expect to have every shot at the two deep.

Due to the sheer volume of questions, we can't answer every one every week. If your question did not get answered, give it a shot again for next Thursday. The Mailbag will run every Thursday on the site.

Nobody covers Tiger football and basketball like PowerMizzou.com. To get complete coverage 365 days a year, click here to start your free trial today!


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