The Missouri Tigers are coming off back-to-back conference wins against Arkansas and Tennessee. Both were crucial wins and have put Missouri back in the conversation as a tournament team.
Joe Lunardi of ESPN released his weekly “Braketology,” a series he does throughout the college basketball season in which he predicts what region teams will play in and their respective seeding. In today’s column, he has the Missouri Tigers as his newest team in, playing in the South Region (Memphis), as an 11 seed against a sixth seeded Oklahoma Sooners team.
The Tigers are viewed as a team that’s on the bubble and it’s still uncertain if they have done enough to make a case for the tournament in some spectators eyes. Currently, Missouri’s RPI rank is 38, with a strength of schedule ranking of 65 which isn’t particularly strong. Top that with Missouri’s struggles to grab quality wins in conference play and you’d understand why their flirting with not dancing.
Frank Haith’s group has also played down to lesser competition, dropping a game at home to Georgia and losing on the road at Vanderbilt. If Missouri could’ve held on to beat Ole’ Miss a week ago, combined with their last two wins, I don’t think there would be much doubt about their tournament chances any longer.
The Tigers upcoming schedule is favorable for them if they can take advantage. Missouri gets Vanderbilt at home this week followed by back-to-back road games at Alabama and Georgia. Mizzou handled business against Bama’ at home and need to get revenge on Georgia in their house. Both are winnable games and could only continue to solidify the Tigers tournament resume.
Missouri’s toughest game left is at Tennessee on March 8th, completing their regular season and conference play schedule. The Tigers don’t necessarily have to run the table to get into the tournament, but it is believed that they need to at least go 4-2 in their final six games. If somehow Missouri can win the SEC Tournament, then they automatically qualify and Tiger fans have nothing to worry about.
For as disappointing this season has been for Tiger fans, making the tournament could change the entire perspective on this season.