Or perhaps that should read: “Wow, Missouri remains NCAA Tournament-bound on an astonishing 51 of 90 brackets compiled at BracketMatrix.com.”
Jerry Palm of CBS Sports isamong those still projecting Missouri to make the field
Of course, he’s got them as a No. 12 seed going up against Minnesota in the First Four in Dayton, Ohio, and the Tigers are the last team he has cracking the 68-team field.
“That’s good hear, I guess,” junior Jabari Brown said.
Not so good to hear,USA Today and ESPN’s Joe Lunardi have dumped the Tigers to the outside looking in
, but with three regular-season games remaining plus the SEC Tournament things still can change.
The prospect of coming up short of the tourney isn’t one Missouri wants to face.
“That was one of our main goals coming into this year and one of my main goals coming here as a transfer to make it the tournament,” junior Jordan Clarkson said. “I feel like it’s a disappointment.”
Of course, it’s no surprise that the Tigers’ stock has dropped during the last week after losses at Alabama and Georgia, but Missouri has an opportunity to get back in the pundits’ good graces with a couple imminently winnable home games against Mississippi State and Texas A
“I ain’t Joe Lunardi, but I feel like some wins would definitely help,” Brown said.
The next two home games, particularly Saturday’s against the Bulldogs, are going to hurt Missouri’s strength of schedule, but that may not matter as long as the Tigers win.
Here’s why — no bubble team has had much luck staying on the bubble so far this season and the remaining schedules for many of the teams Missouri must beat out to partake in March Madness are tougher in the upcoming week.
Consider Lunardi’s “Last four byes.”
St. Joseph’s must play at George Washington, BYU still has Gonzaga left on the schedule, Baylor has Iowa State and Kansas State still to come and Oklahoma State finishes with Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State.
Among Lunardi’s last four in, Minnesota has to play Michigan, Missouri gets a crack at Tennessee on March 8 in Knoxville, Providence plays Marquette and Creighton while St. John’s also plays at Marquette.
Those on the outside looking in with the Tigers also face some challenges. Florida State finishes up against Syracuse, Oregon wraps up against Arizona State and Arizona while Georgetown tussles with Creighton and Villanova.
Bubble teams that pull upsets might pull further ahead of Missouri, but the far greater likelihood is that losses continue to mount and bubbles begin to burst around the Tigers.