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O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic Preview

by Chris Mackinder | November 14th, 2007

This preseason tournament–the CBE Classic–is all about the big boys. Well, three big boys to be exact.

UCLA (AP No. 2, USA Today/ESPN No. 2) plays the role as the favorite. The Bruins are looking to jumpstart the 2007 season with four straight wins en route to a third-straight Final Four appearance, and possibly the school’s first title since 1995. Michigan State (No. 8, No. 8) is looking to reconnect with the glory days of 1999-2001 that ended with one title and three straight Final Four appearances. Maryland, receiving votes in both polls, would like to show that it’s still a force to be reckoned with in the mighty ACC. A strong performance in the CBE Classic would do just that. Missouri? Well, the Tigers should find solace in reaching the classic’s Final Four and playing against the bigger boys. And we can’t forget about North Florida. With the way the Atlantic Sun has been playing lately (Gardner-Webb shocked Kentucky, Mercer beat USC, and Belmont topped Cincinnati; all on the road) would it be stunning to see the mighty Ospreys beat Maryland?

UCLA: Yes, the Bruins lost Aaron Afflalo to the NBA (he’s playing pretty well for the Detroit Pistons right now), but UCLA has several ample replacements. Five-star recruit Kevin Love should step right in and give the Bruins the 2007-08 version of Bill Walton. Point guard Darren Collison, a first-team All-America selection, will keep the ship steady. UCLA’s x-factor will be the forward position. Josh Shipp and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute hold down those two spots and the team’s success will go as those two go. The Bruins should have no trouble advancing to the semifinals in Kansas City, as the only teams standing in their way are Youngstown State, Weber State and Cal State San Bernadino.

MICHIGAN STATE:
To say the Spartans haven’t look great in exhibition play would be a gross understatement. A loss to Grand Valley State was embarrassing and a six-point win against Michigan Tech didn’t leave MSU fans brimming with confidence. Still, guard Drew Neitzel, a first-team All-America selection, will be the team’s catalyst, and this year he has experienced tools at his disposal. Raymar Morgan was great as a freshman last season and doesn’t seem destined for a sophomore slump. Goran Suton and Marquis Gray are always dangerous on the boards while point guard Travis Walton is arguably the best one-on-one defender in the conference. That doesn’t include three fabulous freshman that will see plenty of playing time. Guards Chris Allen, Kalin Lucas and Darrell Summers all played together over the summer and if Tom Izzo can keep the trio from making freshmen mistakes, the Spartans could be lethal this year. For Michigan State to reach the semifinals in Kansas City, it must beat Chicago State in the opener and then take down the winner of the Louisiana-Monroe/Northern Michigan contest. Exhibition contests aside, two wins should be easy.

MARYLAND: The Terrapins are a big unknown this season. The past few years have forced us to view the ACC’s mighty trio as North Carolina, Duke and Maryland. That doesn’t mean those teams have consistently finished 1-2-3 (Maryland finished sixth and in a three-way tie for third the past two seasons). However, Gary Williams always has Maryland playing at the highest level possible. That is why–with James Gist being the only big name–many don’t expect anything more than a so-so season from the Terps (a fifth-place ACC finish isn’t anything more or less than so-so). Those same people likely have forgotten about Greivis Vasquez’s ability to change a game in an instant. With two home games against North Florida and then against the Tulsa/Hampton winner, a semifinal spot should be easily attainable for Maryland.

MISSOURI: How does a team that finished 12-16 the previous season become a notable host team for a preseason tournament the following year? We’d all like to know the answer to that question. Maybe Fordham, which finished 16-16 last year, should have been the host school. In any case, as average as this Missouri team is, there is absolutely no competition that could possibly slow the Tigers down. Damarre Carroll will determine how well Missouri plays this season, starting in the CBE Classic. The 6-8 junior, who sat out last year after transferring from Vanderbilt, is a monster. As a sophomore with the Commodores, Carroll averaged 10.9 points and 6.4 boards per game. Those numbers should improve; an 18-and-10 season would not be unexpected since Missouri doesn’t have many other weapons. Look for two close games, but two wins for the Tigers against Central Michigan and the Fordham/Central Missouri victor.

Semifinal predictions: Michigan State shouldn’t have too many problems with Missouri. The Tigers might be a host school in this tournament, but they’re not that much better than the Weber States or Tulsas of the world. Michigan State 81-62

UCLA should rout Maryland. This game might make the Terrapins look like everything but a NCAA Tournament team, because the Bruins are just that good. Unless almost every UCLA player goes cold from the floor, the Bruins should roll. UCLA 101-76

Championship game: It is early in the season and the Spartans still seem to be getting acquainted with one another. Because of that, this one could get out of hand. If the Bruins get a big lead early, the Spartans likely won’t be able to mount a comeback, especially with the way Neitzel has played in MSU’s two preseason games. If the contest stays close throughout, it could be anyone’s game. Let’s go with the former. UCLA 81-70.

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38 Responses to “O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic Preview”  

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  1. Force Says:

    Hey Chris,

    The reason Missouri is a host is because they want Missouri playing in the championship round. The “final four” is played in kansas city and they opened a brand new arena there this year. To get some great visibility, they essentially invited missouri.

    By letting them host, missouri gets two cupcakes and then moves on…Mizzou will likely play in the new arena and bring loads of fans. Everyone wins, except common sense. Mizzou has not…as you astutely observed earned the respect.

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  2. 88Trojan Says:

    After the Terps shock the Bruins on Monday evening, call me we’ll have coffee to discuss your next predications.

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  3. Wildcat0206 Says:

    keep in mind the Collison is hurt.

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  4. Wildcat0206 Says:

    *that

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  5. Jdot Says:

    Check your facks Beeeoooooch!! Missouri was not 12-16 last year!!

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  6. John Says:

    Missouri won 18 games last year, try to get your facts straight before you write an article and look like an idiot.

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  7. Rick Tillison Says:

    It will be funny when Mizzou blows out MSU. I hope that the MSU team think like you do. Let them key on stopping Carrol and watch and see if Mizzou has any other scorers. I think you are going to be a little more than surprised when the final buzzer wakes you up.

    MU 86 MSU 77

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  8. Trevor Says:

    Your an idiot! You should use records from last year not 2 years ago. What the hell are you doing. Mizzou won 18 games last year and Fordham won 18. Your a idiot!

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  9. Dan Says:

    Nice one, Chris, you obviously have no idea what you’re talking about. Because you don’t know anything about anyone other than Michigan State, you had to go research Mizzou and went to the wrong year. We went 12-16 two years ago, and went 18-12 last season (and while we’re at it, Fordham wasn’t 16-16 either, they were actually also 18-12). We are currently getting some votes for the AP Top 25 and expect to be an NCAA tournament team. So, next time you go to google for your research, make sure you check the right year. And, don’t be surprised if we give you a game on Monday.

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  10. Matt Says:

    Everybody already hit on the head. Get some facts right before you right such an article. Mizzou with no threats outside carroll? Well while your watching your spartans vs the tigers remember the names Hannah, and the Lawrences, and Leo Lyons. I would call those weapons as well.

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  11. Nick Says:

    My God, what a terrible breakdown. Do you even watch college basketball other than MSU? Speaking of MSU, you saw that exhibition loss to Grand Valley State, right?

    “The Tigers might be a host school in this tournament, but they’re not that much better than the Weber States or Tulsas of the world”

    What an ignorant quote. I think you’d better get your money back from Michigan State if this is representative of the quality of education you got there. Ridiculous.

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  12. Joe Says:

    Get your facts straight bro….maybe you should go back to MSU’s student newspaper.

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  13. hamilton Says:

    Wow. You’ve really been called out man. Looks like you did a lot of research for this article. Maybe you should just stick to the Big 10 buddy.
    Go Terps!

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  14. Elvis Says:

    Sweet Jesus you are clueless. Who let you in front of a computer?

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  15. Tiger Says:

    You’re suppossed to be a writer, not a homer. Fact check once in awhile. Way to lose all credibility. Enjoy asking people if they’d like fries with that, for the rest of your life.

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  16. Mike Says:

    Ha! Great analysis. I think you’re going to be stuck with the Times Herald in Port Huron, Michigan for quite some time. Good luck with all that.

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  17. Mackinder Says:

    Guys, I’m a man and I’ll stand up and take the heat. Thanks for pointing out my goof. In my research I obviously was looking at the 2005-06 standings instead of last year’s standings.

    That being said, I still don’t understand where all this anger is coming from. We are talking about Missouri, right? I respect the Tigers’ program, but 18-12 isn’t exactly a great record. The best win last year was what, at Oklahoma State? What’s next? Oklahoma. Heck, the nonconference win over Davidson might be Missouri’s best win last year. That being said, Of the four host schools, Missouri is obviously the weakest. Putting them in the tourney, as a colleague pointed out, is a great way to unveil the new arena in Kansas City. Still, my point was that there are much better No. 4 teams to put in a solid preseason tournament like this.

    Lastly, call me a homer all you want. I’m as objective as they come with Michigan State. They overachieved last year and it was by far Izzo’s best coaching job at MSU. If they don’t make the Elite Eight, or even the Final Four this year, the season will be a failure. When you return your top seven scorers and add three top-50 recruits, all of whom are seeing good amounts of playing time, the expectations are high. (For the record, a homer would have said Michigan State will win the tournament and I expect an easy win for UCLA in the final).

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  18. Randy Says:

    I’ve found that common sense ain’t so common! – Mark Twain. This certainly applies in your case…what a goofball! Someone please take the computer away from this knucklehead! Next thing you know he’ll say MSU will beat Mizzou in football!!

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  19. Ruby Says:

    Who are you, Dan Rather?

    “My research was false, but the point is still true?”

    Missouri is picked as a NCAA team this year and projected in the top 5 of the Big 12. You act like they are some Sunbelt Conference bottom-feeder.

    Besides that, it’s called good business to have a local team in the opening tournament at a new arena. It’s not like they chose the UMKC Kangaroos. MU is a legit team whether they win or lose to “your team”.

    You are the very picture of a homer, as homers rarely recognize their reflection in the mirror. You’d be well served in your budding career to understand humility and objectivity. Both seem to be greatly lacking in your piece and tortured response to your readers.

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  20. T Says:

    MO was 18-12 last year not 12-16

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  21. Tiger Says:

    “Missouri does not have many other weapons”

    Let’s see… Keon Lawrence, Stephon Hannah, Safford, hell we should just give up now. Why bother playing? I mean, MSU did win all their exhibition games soundly. OH WAIT… OOOPPPSSS!!!

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  22. Dave Says:

    Chris – I appreciate the work you do on your site and have no doubt you work extremely hard to keep yourself informed with the world of college basketball, but Missouri went 18-12 last season, finished sixth in the Big 12 and earned quality wins over NCAA Teams: Arkansas, Davidson and Texas Tech, a key win over Mississippi State that went to the semifinals of the NIT and a road win at No. 19 Oklahoma State … I believe you are thinking of the 2005-06 Tigers that finished 12-16, not the 2006-07 version that was called one of America’s most improved teams in 2006-07 under first year head coach Mike Anderson.

    I hope you have a chance to watch your Spartans plays in Kansas City vs. Mizzou … I’m sure it will be an exciting game vs. two darn good teams.

    Have a great weekend.

    Dave

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  23. Mitchell Says:

    Finally a decent comment that calmly points out the mistake, provides other valuable information, and does it all in a coherent, legible manner.

    Sure it would have been nice to get it right in the article to begin with, but it only has to be handled as it was in that most recent post.

    Great site. Keep up the good work.

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  24. Nick Berardini Says:

    We didn’t finish 12-16 last year. We were 18-12 and finished sixth in the Big 12.

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  25. Joe Says:

    Have you even seen Missouri play this year, or even last year? You’re not even close. They are picked to be 5th-6th in the big 12 and be contending for an NCAA berth. They were not 12-16 last year, they were 18-12. They have more athletes and a better grasp of the system this year. For you to say they’re not any better than a mediocre mid-major team is not only incorrect, it shows your ignorance of college basketball.

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  26. Mike Says:

    By the way check our record against mid-major opponents the last two years since Coach Mike Anderson has been here. Not to mention Central Michigan, who’s in your state you idiot, is picked to win the MAC. Fordham was also picked to finish highly in the Atlantic 10. Both are much better than Louisiana-Monroe. A real sports journalism student from a real sports journalism school like myself would know that you don’t publish things which make you sound like a third grader from East Lansing talking to his eight year old friends during recess. Oh wait, you may be in your 20s but you clearly are not smarter than a third grader from East Lansing because you went to Michigan State.

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  27. g therien Says:

    I knew this was an unbiased review written by a former MSU graduate.keep up the unbiased sports reporting.Missouri is much better than last year.Go Tigers.

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  28. SMB1997 Says:

    So, is Chris a homer for UCLA because he said “UCLA should rout Maryland. This game might make the Terrapins look like everything but a NCAA Tournament team, because the Bruins are just that good. Unless almost every UCLA player goes cold from the floor, the Bruins should roll. UCLA 101-76″? That’s a worse prediction for Maryland than the one for Missouri. Just because he went to MSU and makes a prediction that MSU will win, doesn’t mean that he’s doing it without reason. MSU is ranked in the top 25. Where’s Missouri ranked? Obviously several analysts around the country agree that MSU is a better team because they’re ranked and Missouri is not. Chris isn’t the only one to think that MSU is better. Some of you are predicting Missouri to win. You must be homers, too. Of course, this is an opinion article, so I believe that one’s opinion should play a role in the predictions. As he pointed out, he believes that UCLA is going to completely expose all of MSU’s weaknesses. Not what a homer would usually say…

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  29. JeffB Says:

    SMB1997 Says:
    So, is Chris a homer for UCLA because he said “UCLA should rout Maryland. … Just because he went to MSU and makes a prediction that MSU will win, doesn’t mean that he’s doing it without reason.
    ……………..

    With all due respect, I don’t think it’s so much that he’s predicting a MSU victory, but rather his pompous and condescending attitude towards the Tigers:

    “Missouri? Well, the Tigers should find solace in reaching the classic’s Final Four and playing against the bigger boys.”

    and his lament that they don’t even belong on the same floor with his mighty Spartans:

    “MISSOURI: How does a team that finished 12-16 the previous season become a notable host team for a preseason tournament the following year? We’d all like to know the answer to that question. Maybe Fordham, which finished 16-16 last year, should have been the host school.”

    One would hope that a sports journalist would have done at least some minimal research before slamming his team’s next opponent as being so unworthy of their time. By “minimal research” I mean at least having the correct schedule when publishing the other teams’ records from the prior year. How dumb does that make him look?

    The record he referred to was from a Quin Snyder coached team, not Coach Anderson’s first year. Last year’s team showed marked improvement despite the regime change and learning a new and very different style of play.

    With a little bit of research Chris might have learned that Coach Anderson had great success in turning around UAB’s team. They too had been a sub-500 team but by their second year made it to the sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament. There’s no guarantee, of course, that his 2nd year at Missouri will be as successful, but there is some history to back up the possibility that they could have a pretty good team this year and looking at results from a couple of years ago isn’t a very reliable way to publicly prognosticate upon a game this year.

    He gives some nice kudos to DeMarre Carroll who had transferred in and should give us a big boost this year, but shows his ignorance of the team, I think, when he continues on that “Missouri doesn’t have many other weapons.”

    Coach Anderson’s teams are predicated on pressure defense and going deep into his bench which can tend to diminish the gaudy numbers put up by stars on some teams, but that hardly means Missouri has no offensive weapons to complement DeMarre Carroll. Stefhon Hannah, for instance, was last year’s “unanimous choice for Big 12 Conference Newcomer of the Year by the Big 12 Coaches, Big 12 Media, Associated Press, Kansas City Star and Austin American-Statesman … Named to the Big 12 All-Rookie / Newcomer teams by the Big 12 Coaches and Kansas City Star … Was a Second Team All-Big 12 pick by the Kansas City Star and a Third Team choice by the Big 12 Coaches … Was the lone player in the Big 12 Conference to record both a point-assist and point-rebound double-double … … Ranked No. 2 in the Big 12 and No. 20 nationally with 2.4 steals per game … Finished with 72 thefts on the year… Hannah enjoyed four games with six-plus steals … Finished No. 4 in the league with 4.6 assists per outing and topped five assists 13 times … Was No. 9 overall and No. 2 among Big 12 guards in shooting percentage at 45.2 percent … was also the teams’ top scorer and tied a career high 27 points twice against Mississippi State and at Kansas State … Narrowly equaled the feat with 25 points against Baylor and 23 against Illinois in St. Louis.

    Then too, Keon Lawrence’s freshman scoring average (9.8) was a little behind Carroll’s sophomore #s (10.9) but he played hurt a couple of stretches during the year. Keon “d the season averaging 9.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.2 steals per game … Showed his ability to perform in the clutch with his game-winning bucket against Oklahoma at Mizzou Arena … The score was tied 64-64 with :47 seconds remaining when he buried a turn-around jumper from the elbow to break the tie … Sealed the win by going 4-of-4 from the free throw line in the final seconds … Suffered through an injury-riddled early portion of the season … Rebounded nicely once fully healthy and finished the season on a run of eight consecutive double-figure scoring games … Finished the year averaging 13.9 points on 49.5 percent shooting from the floor and 47.7 percent shooting from three-point range over his last 11 contests … That average was second on the club and his field goal and three-point percentage during that stretch was tops on the team among guards … Named the Big 12′s Rookie of the Week on Feb. 19 after averaging 21.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in wins over Baylor and at No. 18 Oklahoma State … Led the Tigers at OSU with 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting … Poured in a career high 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting in the win over Baylor …

    The bottom line is that we have 3 returning players who averaged above 10 pts a game and our bench often made substantial contributions, so although DeMarre will be a big addition for us, he will hardly be our “only weapon”.
    …………………….

    SMB1997 Says:
    MSU is ranked in the top 25. Where’s Missouri ranked? Obviously several analysts around the country agree that MSU is a better team because they’re ranked and Missouri is not. Chris isn’t the only one to think that MSU is better. Some of you are predicting Missouri to win. You must be homers, too. Of course, this is an opinion article, so I believe that one’s opinion should play a role in the predictions. As he pointed out, he believes that UCLA is going to completely expose all of MSU’s weaknesses. Not what a homer would usually say…
    ………………………

    Once again, Chris isn’t merely saying “that MSU is better (than Missouri)”, but that Mizzou doesn’t deserve to even be on the floor with them in this tournament. When it was pointed out to him that the minimal research he *had* done, looking at what he thought was last years results, was wrong, he dismisses that and continues to condescendingly slam tonights opponents:

    “We are talking about Missouri, right?” “…Of the four host schools, Missouri is obviously the weakest.”

    This article was posted on 11-14-07, the day after we pasted Fordham by 24 points and yet he says:

    “Maybe Fordham, which finished 16-16 last year (sic), should have been the host school.”

    That hardly seems to be a balanced analysis of the situation.

    I tip my hat to the fact that Michigan State is ranked higher than Missouri, but I don’t think that translates into “Mizzou isn’t worthy to be a host team for this tournament.”

    While it is true that Michigan State is ranked pretty high by most analysts, I don’t think many would agree with Chris’ contention that Missouri is “not that much better than the Weber States or Tulsas of the world.”

    College Hoops Net, for instance, has Missouri rated in the #32 spot and an NCAA Tourne spot. http://www.collegehoopsnet.com/new/story/2007_08_missouri_basketball_preview41143

    Analysts’ opinions will vary, of course, but I think that should have given Chris all the more pause before declaring that Missouri “is obviously the weakest” of the host schools. Perhaps the tournament will play out that way, but it isn’t “obvious” to all of the analysts. CHN, for instance, has the Maryland Terrapins at #47 in their rankings, 15 spost below their ranking of Missouri. http://www.collegehoopsnet.com/preview/2007/41to60.htm

    It seems to me that it would have been more prudent for Chris to have held off on belittling Missouri until after the game tonight. Sure Michigan State is ranked higher, and is favored by the bookies, but only by 1.5 to 2 points as of Monday afternoon: http://www.docsports.com/college-basketball-lines.html

    But anything can happen, and I’ll bet that they were favored by quite a bit more than when they played Grand Valley State. Making fun of how pathetic he thinks Missouri is now would make it all the more difficult for Chris to spin them as a quality opponent if they happen to beat his Spartans. I would think he would remember having to do that less than a couple of weeks ago when he had to play up Grand Valley State as “a veritable Ohio State of the second division”, playing up the fact that “Their basketball coach, Ric Wesley, has significant D-I experience as an assistant under Barry Hinson at Missouri State.”

    Who knows, maybe the head coach at Missouri could work similar magic. If so, Chris hasn’t left himself much wiggle room to say that such an event hadn’t been all that implausible and could have been foreseen by a knowledgable student of the game…

    But being overly condescending can stir up opposing fans and a little controversy can bump the page hits quite a bit. Maybe stirring the pot and riling up the masses is the way of sports “journalism” today. It’s all about the ratings baby! ? !

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  30. JeffB Says:

    Hey look, Maryland’s getting a few votes in the polls, but so is Missouri:

    http://sports-ak.espn.go.com/ncb/rankings

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  31. Gary Says:

    JeffB Says:
    “Hey look, Maryland’s getting a few votes in the polls, but so is Missouri.”

    I suppose you are looking at Missouri’s ONE vote in the coaches poll Jeff? That’s probably from the Kansas City Star beat writer, so you shouldn’t get all excited over it. Face it, Missouri is the fourth best team in this tournament. Why is it so hard for all these Tiger fans to understand? Your team isn’t that good!!!!!!!

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  32. JeffB Says:

    Thanks Gary, but I was also looking at the AP Poll on the left, which had 18 for Missouri and 3 for Maryland:

    Others Recieving Votes
    Arizona 128, Arkansas 106, Ohio State 77, Wisconsin 74, Davidson 45, Stanford 43, North Carolina State 41, Connecticut 30, West Virginia 29, Miami (FL) 27, Alabama 26, Mississippi State 23, Vanderbilt 23, Xavier 22, Brigham Young 22, Missouri 18, Washington 8, USC 6, San Diego State 6, Kentucky 6, Winthrop 5, Rhode Island 4, Maryland 3, George Mason 3, Baylor 2, Ohio 2, Providence 2, New Orleans 1, Illinois 1, Creighton 1.

    —————–

    I see your strengths match up well to ours and it will be tough for us to get the usual turnovers because you have such strong guard play, but no need to get mean about it. Sheesh.

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  33. Gary Says:

    No worries Jeff, just a little banter here. Just reading all the comments makes it seem like Missouri is suppose to be a Top 10 team. MSU is a top 10 team and projected to win the Big Ten and make a strong run in the ncaa tournament. Final Four? Missouri was picked to finish fifth in the Big 12 which outside of Kansas and Texas has no sure great teams. Finishing fifth in the Big 12 is looking like a 9-12 seed in the ncaa tourney at best. Anderson has done a great job there and likely will make the tigers a force in a few years, but i just don’t see it this year, which is why all the comments from Tiger Nation seem odd. It looks like our teams will meet in the consolation game if all goes as it should. GO TERPS!!!

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  34. Tiger Says:

    That was certainly some blowout. Good prediction… we sure got smoked, didn’t stand a chance it was never in question. Wow, I mean we got spanked. You’re right, we don’t belong anywhere near MSU. Three points, we just got slaughtered.

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  35. JeffB Says:

    Good game. You have a good team, of course, and your guys did what it took at the end of the game to win it. I doubt they felt it was quite the cake walk you had expected, though.

    Not to be too contentious, but I would like to point out that although DeMarre Carroll had a pretty good game overall, he wasn’t really our “only weapon”. We had 4 guys in double figures and DeMarre wasn’t our high scorer. We also had 23 points off the bench.

    Hopefully the players from both our teams will learn and grow from this game. Good luck the rest of the way, unless we meet again, of course. ;)

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  36. Mackinder Says:

    Tiger,

    While the game was not a blowout by the final score, you cannot say that Michigan State didn’t dominate the game statistically (53.8 FG% to 45.5 FG%; 34-25 Rebounding advantage; 13 more FTs attempted and made). MSU was up by 16 points late in the first half and had a double-digit lead for a good part of the second. If Carroll doesn’t hit those ridiclous 3-pointers in the final 90 seconds (he hit three of them), the score stays in double figures. It was a pro-Missouri crowd basically a home game for the Tigers. With MSU a projected Final Four or Elite Eight team, i think it would be better to judge Missouri’s standing in college hoops by watching tonight’s game against Maryland.

    Missouri is better than I gave it credit for and I’ll admit that now. But trapping will only get you so many turnovers and easy baskets. Justl his team’s at UAB had no defense, Anderson’s Tigers need to learn how to play defense or a long season awaits. I will say that, if Anderson gets Missouri to play defense, the Tigers could be dangerous. I don’t see it this year, but more like 2008-09 and 2009-10.

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  37. Tiger Says:

    Really, I’ve just been giving you a hard go at it. It was a good, fun game last night. We beat Maryland tonight, we’re very streaky… but still, never underestimate my Tigers – they definitely have a passion and drive to keep a game close. The only stat that matters is the final score. Nice V last night.

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  38. JeffB Says:

    Actually that was Hannah that hit those 3 pointers late in the game. That’s not as unusual as it might seem. He came up big for us many times last year. That’s why he was the Big 12 newcomer of the year last year.

    You can say you would have won by double digits if he missed those, but we can wonder how things might have turned out had Keon not missed those open 3s at the end of the game as well. It seems like he almost never misses those clutch shots at the end of the game, but I guess the odds caught up with him/us. Then too we feel we just ran out of time. Even another 3 seconds or so would have given us a chance to send it to overtime. But you did put us in that position.

    I think both teams made some early season errors that will be corrected down the road. But the key to me was that you made the plays you needed to at the end of the game when the chips were down. You guys were nails on those free throws a hallmark of the top teams.

    I have to tip my cap to Michigan State.

    and you are right it was like a virtual home game for us, other than perhaps the officiating.

    Sorry to see you couldn’t quite pull it off vs. UCLA. Perhaps Nietzel’s flu had something to do with that which would be a shame if that were the case, but I guess that’s the way the ball bounces sometimes. At least you guys are still very much in the hunt for your final four.

    Good luck the rest of the way.

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