There are teams that are praying that they will be able to play in the NCAA Tournament. There are other teams who are in that are praying that they aren't put into the same bracket as the Missouri Tigers.
Is this because they are the best team ever? NO!
Is it because they have the country's best guard or center? NO!
Is it because they have the player of the year on their team? NO!
Is it because they are a scrapping bunch of guys who have bought into the system and are good because of the team not individuals? YES, YES, YES!
Honestly, I have fallen asleep in the first half of some of Missouri's games. They are so boring. There are times that they have looked so bad that a JV team would give them a run for their money.
BUT, the thing that Missouri does is wear down the opponent until they submit. Mike Anderson plays 11 players and each one contributes in their way. "40 minutes of hell" as Anderson calls and it is just that.
They are relentless. They press. They are aggressive. They do all the little things that some teams overlook. They are on the floor more than any other team in the nation.
The downfall for Missouri is that when they are off, they are way off. Missouri lost six games this season and four of those were by 10 points or more. There defense suffers because they are trying to focus on the offensive end.
BUT...when they are Up, they are way Up. With the intensity, the turnovers produce easy baskets.
So how do you beat Missouri?
1. You had better be deep and like to run an up tempo game. When you face Missouri you had better have a deep bench. If not, Missouri will make a run in the second half and you will be down by 20.
2. You had better be leading at halftime. Missouri has not lost a game when leading at the half.
3. You better be able to control the ball. Turnovers kill NCAA tournament runs.
So who wants to face Missouri?
Picture this with me. Missouri will be a No. 3 seed so they will face a No. 14. This will be a mid major that got in because they won their conference tourney.
The only way that MU loses this game is if the don't have a rim on their end of the court.
In the second round they will face a No. 6 seed who had a much tougher game against a No. 11 team that was the fourth or fifth team in the tourney from a major conference. One day after surviving the first round, they will have to play MU.
Who wants that road to the Final Four? NOBODY.
On a neutral court, Missouri will be a nightmare. There will be no home town crowd to sway the momentum.
There will be no tomorrow! If you get down, you will be literally out! Turnovers breed turnovers! With 10 minutes left, you will be holding your shorts and gasping for air.
Missouri will just bring five fresh players off the bench. All this leads to one thing. You do not want to play Missouri.
Will Missouri make it deep into the tournament? Yes, they will. The relentless defense will wear down opponents quickly and Missouri will capitalize. An elite eight appearance would put Missouri back in the talks as a top 20 team every year.
Will Missouri win the National Championship? Probably Not. If they do, it will be much like Kansas last year. Kansas got on a hot streak and destiny took them to the top.
Every team in the nation would love to get into the tourney, but nobody will want to play Missouri. NOBODY!