Monthly Archives: December 2010

Missouri Tigers in the NFL: Week 16

Read this post at the Columbia Missourian’s Tiger Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings made the NFL a little more interesting for the third week in a row; the league moved their contest against the Eagles to Tuesday, December 29 because of the East Coast blizzard.

Philadelphia’s solid receiver not named DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, did what he’s done all season and racked up substantial receiving yardage. Quarterback Michael Vick and Maclin did not connect for a score, as Minnesota rookie Joe Webb played more like 2010 Vick than the hobbled Vick did. Maclin did have one very pretty sideline grab for 28 yards in the first quarter.

St. Louis put Danario Alexander on the field for a season high 43 of 66 offensive snaps . The first year player racked up nearly 100 yards working against the 49ers defense, and appeared to score when he stood up and ran across the goal line untouched after snagging a 46 yard bomb from Sam Bradford. San Francisco head honcho Mike Singletary challenged the ruling, though, and the official rescinded the touchdown call.

Playing against the Bears in Chicago, New York Jets receiver Brad Smith had an opportunity to keep his New York team’s drive alive late in the game but the former MU quarterback let the ball bounce off his hands. Regardless, the Jets clinched a playoff berth thanks to a Jacksonville loss against a subpar Washington Redskins squad.

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Justin Gage had a similar problem on Sunday–he dropped a pass that would have allowed his team to convert on fourth down in the first quarter, and did not log a catch the rest of the day.

Defensively, Pittsburgh’s Ziggy Hood sacked Carolina Panther’s quarterback Jimmy Clausen during garbage time in the fourth quarter.

On Monday night in Atlanta, William Moore had five tackles yet again, two that kept the Saints out of the end zone in an eventual loss.

San Francisco veteran Justin Smith was named to the Pro Bowl as a back up. It will be Smith’s first Pro Bowl appearance.

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Nene’s fantastic coast-to-coast slam

Nene gave Denver the best Christmas present of all with this athletic coast-to-coast finish. You have to see this.

Contest against #21 Illinois offers Mizzou shot at legitimacy, respect

Through 11 games the Missouri Tigers Men’s Basketball team is 10-1, with their only loss coming against a stout Georgetown Hoyas team.

The team looks great on paper. Marcus Denmon, as you know if you read this blog or anything else written by this author about the men’s squad, has played outstanding basketball to this point and has the stats to prove it. As a team, the Tigers rank sixth in the nation with almost 86 points per game, eighth in assists with 18.4, and 32nd in field goal percentage with a very respectable 48 percent.

However, against ranked opponents the Tigers remain winless thanks to a late, stupid foul by point guard Michael Dixon, and three missed free throws by Dixon and big man Laurence Bowers after intentional hacks by the Hoyas. I guess those Georgetown boys could shoot, too–47 percent from deep and 57 percent shooting from the field usually bodes well for the team in question.

Unlike in years past, head coach Mike Anderson’s swarming defense has emerged as the Achilles heel. Against Vanderbilt, a good team treading water just outside the top 25, the Tigers barely scraped by with a win while allowing Vanderilt to hit 31 of 59 shots from the floor–more than 50 percent. Sharpshooting guard John Jenkins was left open constantly and capitalized by putting five of 10 three-point shots in the basket en route to a game high 23 points. Forward Rod Odom had similar success off the bench hitting two crucial threes. The team’s other prominent snipers struggled to find the basket despite finding themselves too wide open behind the arc on an unsettling number of possessions.

The fact is teams with reliable perimeter shooting shellack a Missouri defense suddenly slim on stoppers with the graduation of JT Tiller and Zaire Taylor. Against the strongest five teams on their schedule so far, the Tigers ceded 40 percent from deep and 53 percent of the opponents’ shots taken inside the arc.

Quality opponents average 1.05 points per possession. In the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs have held their opponents to a paltry 1.02 points per–but NCAA ball demands stingier defense than that, because of the obvious diffusion of talent between hundreds of teams as opposed to 30 with their pick of the best collegiate players.

#21 Illinois averages 77 points per game on 48 percent shooting. Missouri must hold them below that average and tightens up around the three-point-line on the likes of guards Demetri McCamey (51 percent from three) and D.J. Richardson (46 percent) and 7-foot-1-inch center Mike Tisdale (39 percent).

Size may also present a problem. Illinois has two centers standing seven feet tall, Tisdale and freshman Meyers Leonard. I do believe Ricardo Ratliffe can outrebound anyone on the Fighting Illini if he plays his best basketball. At only 6-foot-nine, he weighs in at 240 to Tisdale’s 250 and that means Ratliffe’s physicality will come into play.

“Ricardo, he’s taking gradual steps each and every game. It seems like to me that the more physical the game is, the more it really plays in his favor,” coach Anderson said after Missouri’s victory over Vanderbilt.

In the game, Ratliffe faced off against a surging, not-quite-a-seven-footer Festus Ezili. Ratliffe had 14 points and nine boards; Ezili had nine board and 16 points, but missed six free throws.

Keep an eye on these guys. As my friends alway say, it’s Respect, Excellence, Discovery, Responsibility, and Disappointment. Let’s see if Mizzou can treat a should-win as a must-win and run away with it.

Former Tigers in the NFL: Week 15 resurgence

Jeremy Maclin, (c) NFL.com

Read this post at the Columbia Missourian newspaper’s TigerSports page.

After scarcely making even a semblance of an impact in the NFL last week, MU products exploded across the board in week 15.

NOTE: Links typically take you to video clips of the play underlined.

Atlanta’s starting defense boasts two Missouri alums, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and safety William Moore. Each had five tackles at Seattle, and Moore also contributed an interception in the third quarter. He read Matt Hasselback’s eyes then took the ball down the sideline for 27 yards into Seattle territory.

In Pittsburgh, New York Jets WR Brad Smith ran back the opening kickoff 97 yards and scored. Smith holds the franchise record for longest play with a 106 yard return against Indianapolis last year.

Philadelphia WR Jeremy Maclin pulled in the winning touchdown to cap a 28 point Eagles come back in New York against the Giants, his second score of the day. He also lost a fumble in the Eagle’s victory.

Tennessee Titans veteran receiver Justin Gage had only one catch but it came on fourth down on the one yard line. Gage laid out, snagging the Kerry Colins pass for his first touchdown of the year.

Justin Smith, one of the most respected defensive linemen in the league, was ejected from the San Francisco 49ers contest Thursday against San Diego for laying his hands on a referee. He inadvertently shoved an umpire in the heat of the moment during a scuffle with Chargers TE Kris Wilson.

Despite Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s request for playing time on Danario Alexander’s behalf, St. Louis coach Steve Spagnuolo and quarterback Sam Bradford failed to get him the ball against state rival Kansas City in week 15.

Aside from Alexander, the only other Tiger to have zero impact on the game this week was Chase Daniel, who watched diligently from the sidelines in the Saints loss against Baltimore.

NBA Trade: Orlando Magic undertake fastest retooling process in history

Gilbert Arenas in Magic threads. (c) SLAMonline

In two separate moves, the Orlando Magic have completely retooled their roster. Orlando and the Washington Wizards exchange forward Rashard Lewis and his gargantuan contract–almost $19 million this year alone–for Gilbert Arenas and a gigantic paycheck of his own.

Before that trade is officially finalized, the Magic and Phoenix lined up a six player swap bringing veteran forward Hedo Turkoglu back to the team that made Hedo, Hedo (His full name is actually Hidayet). Orlando parts with forwards Vince Carter and Mickael Pietrus, center Marcin Gortat, a future first-round pick and cash for Turkoglu, guard Jason Richardson and second-year forward Earl Clark.

Jason Richardson brings his insatiable appetite for getting to the rim to an Orlando team that picked up Vince Carter on the wrong side of his knees’ career. Although very few people will ever be able to throw down the rock like Carter could in his prime, J-Rich has a deadly first step and can finish with the best of them.

The athletic Mickael Pietrus fits the Phoenix system in every way that Hedo Turkoglu did not. All moving parts considered, this appears on the surface to be a very even trade for both teams as far as talent goes.

However, Orlando has fairly abruptly lost a ton of weight in their front court. Lewis, despite having an off year, possesses a nasty effective jumper when he’s on. Backup center Marcin Gortat appeared in line to be a very hot commodity on the free agent market until the Magic matched the Dallas Mavericks bid on the big man in July of last year.

ORLANDO FRONTCOURT:
SF: Quentin Richardson 6’6″, 280 | Mickael Pietrus 6’6″, 215
PF: Rashard Lewis 6’10”, 230 lbs | Brandon Bass, 6’8″, 250 lbs | Ryan Anderson 6’10”, 240 lbs | Malik Allen 6’10, 255
C: Dwight Howard 6’11”, 270 lbs | Marcin Gortat, 6’11”, 240 lbs

They add Earl Clark, who at 6’10”, 255 replaces Rashard Lewis wholesale. The shooting dirth left by the departure of Lewis will probably be filled by Ryan Anderson. The dude can stroke.

Officially listed at 6’10”, 220, Hedo will fit more naturally into the small forward spot than Rashard Lewis but he appeared constantly out of place and did more harm than good at power forward in Phoenix, despite his height.

More to come. My flight takes off shortly. Denver bound! Finally!

‎Twitter:
Rashard_Lewis‎ Yo boy off to DC it was fun playing in Orlando had a great time trying to win it all got close but not close enough but it’s been real.

JR Smith makes us all believe

This video needs no introduction.

Purported Nike Pro Combat Jerseys–the Chiefs look terrible

The L.A. Times published a slideshow of what someone purports to be NFL Pro Combat jersey designs for when Nike replaces Reebok as the official NFL jersey supplier.

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Later, Yahoo! Sports reports from a Nike source that the uniforms are not real.

They are well-done but amateur-created art, most likely based on the current Pro Combat college uniform concepts. (That is to say, well-done for the most part — whoever designed the new fake Kansas City Chiefs uni needs to go back to the drawing board).

Can’t say I disagree. The Chiefs mock up looks awful. At least they picked the right parts of the Belichick coaching tree. Continue reading