Mizzou will go dancing…to the NIT

We’ve been here before, haven’t we Mizzou fans? What do they call this? The darkness? Has Mizzou ever really been out of the darkness? I’m pissed, and you should be too.

So let’s set the stage for last night. Mizzou comes in with an 8-6 SEC record. That’s good enough to put them in a four-way tie for third place. The rest of the season is huge because the top four seeds get the double bye and automatic berth into the SEC Quarterfinals. Who’s coming to town? The worst team in the SEC, Ole Miss.

Boy did the Tigers just absolutely choke. Instead of winning, making their SEC record 9-7, allowing them to sit alone in third place, they lose. They lose in just embarrassing fashion. And they now sit in another four-way tie. But this time it’s for 5th place. Mizzou doesn’t have a tiebreaker advantage over any of the other three teams.

So what went wrong? We could start with 19 turnovers in regulation. Another two turnovers in overtime. For you math geniuses out there, that’s 21 total turnovers. That’s also what some would rightfully call “pathetic”. Because that’s what it is. It’s absolutely pathetic.

You know what else is pathetic? The fact that it’s pretty normal. Through 28 games, Mizzou averages 14.6 turnovers per game. How does that rank among their NCAA counterparts? It ranks them 301st in the country. There’s 351 Division 1 teams in the country.

A game after missing 10 free throws, in which they lost the game by one point, they missed 11 total last night. When you commit 21 turnovers and miss 11 free throws and lose by three, that’s really frustrating. Mizzou shoots 73.7% from the free throw stripe this season. 86th in the country.

To compare, the women currently rank 19th in the nation with a 76.6% free throw percentage. Just saying. Maybe the men should get some pointers from the women on how to make their damn free throws. It wins and loses games. The last two games are proof.

Aside from turnovers and free throws, Cuonzo Martin can’t get a free pass. “But Austin, you’re so pessimistic. He’s done a phenomenal job this year and has turned this program around.” I’m not saying he hasn’t done a very good job this year. But that doesn’t mean he’s perfect.

Why in the blue hell is Jordan Geist consistently getting last second opportunities? Not only did he get a good layup completely stuffed near the end of overtime, but then he forced a terrible game-winning attempt.

This isn’t the first time Jordan Geist has really pulled through in the clutch…for the other team. Remember that beautiful pass right to the Florida defender that allowed Florida to steal one on the home court? Remember that fantastic game-winning attempt in the Arkansas game? Man that guy can really deliver.

The fact that Cuonzo trusted Jordan Geist in this situation is absolutely inexcusable. I could potentially make an exception for Barnett, but I want the ball in this situation in Kassius Robertson’s hands every. single. time. Jordan Geist can play the game. But not in clutch situations.

I don’t want this to seem like the be all, end all. I think Mizzou would still probably be in the tournament if the season ended today. But it doesn’t, and there’s more games left for Mizzou to embarrassingly choke away.

I’m proud of the turnaround Mizzou basketball has had, don’t get me wrong. They are leaps and bounds ahead of where they were last year. But they have failed to meet their potential. Looking at all the games they could’ve and probably should’ve won, they should be in first in the SEC right now.

If MPJ comes back this season, it may be too little, too late. We’ll see, but I’m starting to lose faith. I hope Mizzou proves me wrong the rest of the way. From what I’ve seen this season, I don’t think this team can make any kind of a postseason run, if they can make the tournament at all. Hello NIT.

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