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THE WEEK'S MOST-READ STORIES: Missouri basketball and an MU professor remembered

Sunday, February 19, 2012 | 6:25 p.m. CST; updated 8:20 p.m. CST, Sunday, February 19, 2012

Stories about Missouri men's basketball's rise to No. 3 in national polls, a highway construction project and an MU math professor were popular with readers this week. These are the 10 most-read stories posted last week on ColumbiaMissourian.com, according to Google Analytics data:

1. Twelve-year-old Sam Slaughter has been a ball boy for the Missouri men's basketball team for three years.  He uses an oversize round Swiffer-like mop to wipe players' sweat up off the floor. "I love it," Slaughter said. "I gave up junior high basketball for this." (1,988 page views)

2. Plans are in place to build a new road that will extend northwest from Conley Road to meet East Boulevard and eventually connect with Business Loop 70 East. "It's an improvement to the area, and it'll help move traffic more efficiently along I-70 at the U.S. 63 exit," said Michael Schupp, MoDOT's area engineer for Boone County. The Missourian created a map of the proposed project. (1,954 page views)

3. Michael Taksar, a professor in the MU Mathematics Department, died last Sunday. His wife, Tanya Taksar, received flowers on Valentine's Day that he had pre-ordered for her. "The note on the roses said, 'to my eternal valentine,'" Tanya Taksar said. (1,722 page views)

4. Stanton Garr, a 55-year-old resident of Rothville, died Wednesday afternoon when he drove into the path of a dump truck on U.S. 63. Boone County Fire Protection District Division Chief Gale Blomenkamp said Garr was driving west on Calvert Hill Road, 11 miles north of Columbia, when he was T-boned by a dump truck driving south on U.S. 63. (1,583 page views)

5. The Missouri men's basketball team moved up one spot to No. 3 in the Associated Press poll and the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll. Previous No. 3 Ohio State lost to Michigan State on Feb. 11. Missouri beat Oklahoma on Feb. 6 and Baylor on Feb. 11, helping the Tigers move up in the rankings. (1,346 page views)

6. The Longhorn Network, a $300 million partnership between the University of Texas and ESPN, has not yet found a major cable distributor. One problem is that it serves a niche market — one school — while competing channels like the Big 10 Network, or BTN, serve a larger, regional audience. (1,256 page views)

7. With Missouri set to leave the Big 12 after this season, it's likely Kansas will never play another game at Mizzou Arena. Kansas coach Bill Self complimented Missouri's fans after Missouri beat Kansas 74-71 on Feb. 4, stopping short of saying he'll miss playing here. But Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford and Texas Tech women's coach Kristy Curry said they'll miss playing in Columbia. (1,044 page views)

8. The Missouri women's basketball team fell short in its bid to upset the reigning national champion Texas A&M on Valentine's Day, losing 56-52. Missouri coach Robin Pingeton spoke about the future after the game. "We will win here, we will absolutely win here, and we're going to win a lot of games here," she said. (971 page views)

9. The Missouri men's basketball team dominated Oklahoma State on Wednesday, jumping ahead by as many as 33 points in the second half on their way to a 83-65 win. Missouri beat Texas A&M 71-62 in a closer contest Saturday. (858 page views)

10. J. Karl Miller thinks Republicans are too internally divisive for their own good. "Ronald Reagan, a true conservative and a gentleman, espoused two values regarding Republicans: (1) 'an 11th Commandment that thou shalt not speak evil of any Republican' and (2) that a Republican who supports the party position 80 percent of the time is worthy of the name and nurturing," he wrote. (830 page views)


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