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Anderson Staying Or Going? Flip A Coin

Mike Anderson is a good basketball coach.  But is a guy who’s reached two Sweet Sixteens in nine seasons really worth this much trouble?

From a quick check of some Missouri blogs, it looks like a few Tiger fans are starting to ask that very question about their current — for right this second — coach.

Various reports since last night have claimed:

1.  Anderson has a two-year extension and a $500,000 raise on the table in Columbia.

2.  Arkansas is ready to give Anderson an offer but it “first must get permission” from Missouri AD Mike Alden to speak with him.  (In other words, UA has been dealing with Jimmy Sexton, has the deal in place, and now just needs to officially shake hands with Anderson.)

3.  Anderson is “extremely close” to accepting the UA job.

4.  Also, The Baxter Bulletin is running with a story that states: “Sources close to college basketball, and sources close to Arkansas said Tuesday night they anticipate Missouri coach Mike Anderson becoming the Arkansas Razorbacks’ next head coach.”

5.  Rivals site is pointing out this morning that reports from Missouri and across the nation have Anderson sticking with the Tigers.  The reports of him landing at Arkansas all seem to come from people in Arkansas.  They also report that AD Jeff Long might turn to UCLA head coach Ben Howland if Anderson decides to stay put.

This much is clear:

1.  Anderson’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, has been negotiating an extension and raise with Missouri since before the Tigers’ tourney run ended.  Some MU boosters say a deal has been in the works for months.

2.  Sexton also appears to have been dealing with Arkansas officials.

3.  Anderson has stated his desire to “retire” in Columbia.  He has turned down more lucrative offers from Georgia and Oregon the past two years.  So it’s possible that Sexton is simply using Arkansas as leverage in his dealings with Mizzou.

4.  But Missouri officials have let it be known that they will only go so far to retain their coach and that appears to be as far as a two-year extension and a bump to $2 million per season. 

5.  Just our take: It’s possible Missouri is trying to call Anderson and Sexton’s bluff and that’s leading to delays… because Anderson truly wants to stay at Mizzou as he’s said.  That’s just a theory, but it’s a theory that wasn’t shot down when I spoke to a source in the Natural State yesterday.

If Anderson does stay at Missouri, he’d better do some serious winning.  You can’t toy with the affection of the hometown fans year after year after year and expect them to like it when you lose to Kansas, finish fifth in your conference and fail to win your first NCAA Tournament game. 

Heck, at this point, Anderson might be better off heading to Fayetteville where Hog fans will rejoice in his arrival.  It sounds like his latest money-grab is rubbing a few Tiger fans the wrong way in Missouri.

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