Two years ago, when Mizzou went into Allen Fieldhouse, they lost by 25. That team went to the Elite 8 in the NCAA tournament.
That team didn't even look prepared to battle in that environment. This year, the leadership stepped up. Ratliffe, Bowers and the Presseys showed no fear of the Phog, the environment or the spotlight.
Yes, foul trouble and a lack of big bodies ended up being the death of the Tigers, but what matters is experience in the big game, and that is going to come up huge when it counts... in March.
Over the course of this year, the team has grown right before our eyes. Ricardo Ratliffe started out the season as a undersized big man that hopefully will play a big part in the offense, but now he looks like a pivotal part of the offense.
Nobody even knew why we gave a scholarship to Matt Pressey—now he looks like a slashing scoring threat.
This team is going to be really battle-tested going into March. In wins against Vanderbilt, Illinois and Old Dominon, the team looked awesome—even in losses against Georgetown, Texas and Kansas they learned huge lessons about how to win in the clutch.
Lastly, Mike Anderson teaches this team to win in late February and March, not the regular-season title.
Honestly, coach doesn't care if we win a regular season title. He cares about being prepared for when it matters. March.