Is Mizzou for Real? We Are About To Find Out...

Kirk SnyderCorrespondent IFebruary 25, 2009

Missouri is currently ranked 11th in the country and is riding a six-game win streak, including wins over Texas and Kansas during that span.

Mizzou has gone above and beyond everyone's expectations for this season. Nobody had Mizzou in the running for a Big 12 Championship in 2009, but all of a sudden they are starting to turn some heads.

Mizzou holds the fate of their destiny in their own hands.  If they win out the rest of the season against Kansas State, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M, the Big 12 regular season championship will be theirs.

Mizzou may come in as underdogs against Kansas and Oklahoma, but they still have a shot to win out against their remaining schedule, although it will be far from easy.

I'm sure there aren't too many people outside of the Mizzou faithful that have Missouri winning all four of those games, it is going to be an extremely difficult task for Mizzou to achieve, but don't completely write the scenario off.

A big reason for Missouri's success this season has been head coach, Mike Anderson's implementation of the system, "40 minutes of hell", where Mizzou will full court press the entire game, causing a significant amount of turnovers to be forced, therefore leading to an abundant amount of points off turnovers.

Missouri is one of the top teams in the nation when it comes to forcing turnovers, largely due to Anderson's philosophy. 

Mizzou may lack the star power that many of the elite teams possess, but Missouri's depth has more than made up for their lack of big names and has played a huge role in leading to their success this season.

Mizzou can go 11 players deep in their rotation, so wearing down and getting restless over the length of an entire game hasn't been much of a concern.

Mizzou takes on Kansas State tonight, where Mizzou will have home-court advantage and a huge advantage it is as they are undefeated at Mizzou Arena this season. Kansas State did hand Mizzou its co-worst loss of the season back in Manhattan on January 28th, but it will be a different story as Mizzou will play host this time around.

How the game might go: I expect a close game in the first half, but Mizzou is too good on their home court and will gradually pull away in the second half, as their terrific defense should take its toll on K-State as the game wears on.

Missouri travels to Lawrence this Sunday to take on its biggest rivalry in a showdown with fifteenth ranked Kansas.  It is going to be a hostile environment for Mizzou to play in, as this will be one of the most anticipated games between the two rivals in quite some time. 

Many feel Oklahoma may be Missouri's toughest competition left in the season, but I beg to differ and will without a doubt say, Missouri's battle at Kansas this weekend will be their toughest test.

 How the game might go: I expect another down to the wire game, similar to the first time they met this season, where Missouri won off of a last second buzzer beater.  This game could easily go either way, but it should be a hard fought battle the whole game.


Oklahoma will visit Missouri on Mar. 4, in what could be a matchup for the Big 12 Championship, depending on what happens up until this point in time. With or without Blake Griffin, Mizzou, with their home court advantage can stick with Oklahoma in a close battle, if they can execute their "40 minutes of hell" to near perfection.

Missouri is a completely different team on their own turf, as their undefeated home record suggests.

 How the game might go: I expect Mizzou to keep up with Oklahoma every step of the way.  I don't expect one team to pull away from the other.  Missouri's crowd will be relentless and with the combination of Missouri's "40 minutes of hell", Oklahoma may turn the ball over a bit more than expected.

This game could come down to the last few possessions of the game. 

Missouri will conclude its regular season with a visit to Texas A&M. This might be a much closer game than some may think. A&M is currently on the bubble for the big dance in March and it would be a huge lift if they could add a win over Missouri to their resume.

A&M will be ready to put up a fight and win at all costs for a shot at the tournament and Missouri has had its struggles in recent road games against Nebraska and Kansas State. However, Missouri will be just as eager to win this game, especially if the Big 12 Championship is on the line.

How the game might go: This game should be a close one. I expect both teams to be at the tops of their games, because this game should have huge implications for both teams.  I see this game going back and forth, with Missouri escaping with a victory.

If Mizzou wants to be considered as a team that can be final four material, then they will have to prove themselves worthy by taking the Big 12 Championship, a task much easier said than done.