In his four years in Columbia, Mike Anderson has restored a Missouri program that was in bad shape when Quinn Snyder was fired in 2006. Anderson’s first two seasons were defined by mediocrity as he ushered in his system and his players. But the Tigers have made the NCAA tournament the past two seasons and appear to be on stable ground.
It’d be hard to argue that, from a broad perspective, Anderson has been anything but a success thus far. But how has he fared in the Big 12 in his four seasons?
The Good: Colorado (8-0), Iowa State (6-2), Texas (3-1), Oklahoma (2-2), Oklahoma State (4-1)
Racking up 14 wins against CU and I-State isn’t glamorous, but the importance of taking care of business and beating the teams you should can’t be understated. It’s also a challenge to play a team twice in the regular season. A combined 7-2 record against consistent top 25 teams Ok-State and Texas is impressive. Missouri had a bad loss to OU last season but beating the Blake Griffin-led 2009 team offsets that loss.
The Meh: Kansas State (3-5), Texas Tech (4-1), Baylor (3-3)
Kansas State has had some great players (Michael Beasley, Bill Walker, Denis Clemente) and solid teams during Anderson’s tenure at Missouri. Bramlage Coliseum has been a near-impossible place to play and thus one can excuse a just-under .500 record. Texas Tech has been in a transition period since Anderson has been at Missouri. Three of those wins have come in the past two seasons, when Missouri has had a clear talent advantage over Texas Tech. Missouri’s disappointing loss to #11-seed Baylor in the 2007 Big 12 tournament can’t be ignored.
The Bad: Nebraska (4-6), Kansas (1-7)
Losing 6 of 7 to your rival is no way to began a coaching tenure and in some circumstances would cause serious grumblings. But Kansas has won a national championship and been a #1 seed in the tournament three out of Anderson’s four years. That excuses him for now, but with the talent gap seemingly closing, that excuse won’t be good for long. There is no excuse, however, for Missouri’s struggles against Nebraska. Maybe Doc Sadler’s one year coaching against Anderson in Conference USA gave him an advantage, but the fact is Anderson’s Missouri teams have had a tough time with a Big 12 bottom feeder.