Recap & Recovery: 5 Reasons Missouri Lost to Norfolk State

Ron Pasceri@@RonPasceriCorrespondent IIMarch 16, 2012

Recap & Recovery: 5 Reasons Missouri Lost to Norfolk State

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    Missouri entered their opening game of the 2012 NCAA tournament at 30-4 with three wins over Baylor and an epic season split with Kansas.

    The Tigers are a very popular Final Four pick with their electric four guard offensive attack.  Missouri has the nation's most efficient offense which helps make up for a severe lack of size.

    Their opening match-up pitted the Tigers against the Norfolk State Spartans our of the MEAC.  

    Norfolk State has excellent size and athleticism across the lineup and posed quite a challenge four the No. 2 seed.  In the end, the match-up would prove fatal for the Missouri Tigers, as the fell 86-84.

1. Kyle O'Quinn

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    Kyle O'Quinn was exactly the type of dominating post player Missouri did not want to see.  Especially not this early in the tournament.

    O'Quinn was even better than could have been expected as the Tigers couldn't find even a single answer for him.

    He dominated inside by scoring and controlling the offensive glass, dropping 26 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and blocking two shots.

    Late in the game he made play after play to seal the biggest win in his school's first-ever NCAA tournament appearance.

2. The Three Point Line

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    Norfolk State just ravaged the Tigers from the arc, scoring 30 of its 86 points from deep.

    The Spartans hit 10-of-20 attempts, just rising and shooting against the favorites with little to no fear.

    The long-range shots came with consistency early, middle and late.  Crunch time was no different for Norfolk State.

    Missouri showed weakness defending the arc all season and it destroyed any hope of a Final Four appearance.

3. Size Can't Always Be Overcome

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    All season, Missouri got the better of bigger teams.  Kansas and Baylor immediately come to mind, as Missouri went 4-1 against those two teams.

    Baylor is a similar looking team to Norfolk State, except at the guard spot, where the Spartans field two guards 6'5" or taller.

    It isn't often that a No. 15 seed can be the bigger team, but Norfolk State is two inches taller as a team.

    The size played a factor in making Missouri stay on the perimeter on offense and where they were defenseless on defense.

    Speed and quickness can beat size, but it isn't easy.  Sometimes Goliath wins.

4. The Glass

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    Perhaps the biggest reason for Missouri losing was just being completely unable to compete for rebounds.

    Norfolk State just pounded the boards, beating Missouri by a staggering 35-23.

    Even worse, the Spartans corralled 14 of its own missed shots, tallying 15 second-chance points.

    On a play that arguably sealed the game, Kyle O'Quinn battled to force a jump ball off a missed Norfolk State free-throw with 5.1 seconds left, costing Missouri 2.5 valuable seconds.

5. March Is Still Mad

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    Only four times in history had a No. 15 seed knocked off a No. 2.  The last time was over a decade ago, when Hampton knocked off Iowa State 58-57 in 2001.

    On March 16, 2012, it happened again.  Norfolk State shocked Final Four favorite Missouri in the biggest upset in recent memory.

    The Spartans viewed a neutral court game against a top team as a huge opportunity and in the spirit of the month of March, they used everything in their arsenal to come out on top.

    Missouri suffered an excruciating end to what was a wonderful and memorable season.  They lost in a tough game, but that is what March Madness is all about.  

    The Tigers aren't the first team to be bitten by the bug and they certainly won't be the last.