Big XII: Up, Up and Away Tempo

By Jean Neuberger - October 19, 2006

Mike Anderson is known for being part of the famed "40 Minutes of Hell" style of basketball that led Arkansas to three Final Four trips and a national title in 1994. He took that style to UAB and took the Blazer program to new heights, including a stunning win over Kentucky in the NCAA tournament. Now, he takes his frenzied style to Missouri, where he sees a program that can become a perennial power.

"We don't want up-tempo," Anderson said. "We want up, up, and away tempo. We're going to play hard and play fast. We'll be a blue-collar team. But I will warn ticket-holders in the front row to bring helmets, because balls might be flying in their direction early on."

Anderson believes that success won't be instant, rather progressive.

"It's definitely a work in progress," Anderson said. "Our guys are working hard now. They've never worked this hard in their lives, and it will take some time. But hopefully, by the end of the year, they'll get consistent. Consistency is the key. Right now, it's more like 25 minutes of hell, 15 minutes of what the hell are we doing!"

However, Anderson believes Missouri will get there. He believes Missouri will win national titles eventually.

"I was familiar with Missouri," Anderson said. "The facilities we have, being in the Big XII, the fact we're the flagship school in the state, those are key factors as to why I came here. The passion to win at Missouri is huge. My goal is to win the national title, and I know people look at me crazy when I say that, but I can visualize it now. To get there, we'll try to keep the in-state talent here and then hit places our staff is familiar with...Memphis, Chicago, Detroit...all of these places have been good to the University of Missouri."

Anderson looks forward to the season at hand, which features a showdown with Arkansas on November 30th in Columbia.

"That's a great series," said Anderson. "It always has been. I know the Missouri fans are excited about continuing to play Arkansas, and I'm sure the Arkansas fans feel the same way. Last Sunday, we had Norm Stewart and Nolan Richardson in our locker room here, talking to our staff and remembering all the games they played against each other as coaches. There have been some great games in that series. For now though, it's just another game on the schedule."

The national title isn't within reach just yet, but Anderson believes it won't take long to get there.

"Right now, I'm focused on our team doing the right things...playing hard, playing fast, and playing to win," said Anderson. "Once we do that consistently, the wins and titles will take care of themselves."

Posted by Jean Neuberger at 04:12 PM on October 19, 2006

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