The Bracketology Report: Missouri

Updated: February 25, 2004, 11:32 AM ET
By Charlie Creme | Insider Bracketologist

Editor's note: Each week Bracketology Insider will take an in-depth look at teams headed for the NCAA Tournament ... or not.

Week in review
The five-game Missouri (Inside RPI No. 40, SOS No. 7) winning streak has been good enough to get the Tigers back in the NCAA Tournament hunt, but only because beating Oklahoma State (Inside No. 12, SOS No. 59) Tuesday night, 93-92 in double overtime, was part of it.

The Tigers blew a big first-half lead and a late nine-point advantage, but survived John Lucas' missed 3-pointer at the end of the second overtime to snap Oklahoma State's 11-game winning streak. The victory represented Missouri's first win in five tries against RPI Top 25 teams and just the Tigers' second against the Top 50. Missouri seniors Rickey Paulding and Arthur Johnson combined for 60 of the 93 points.

The Tigers' doors were almost closed last Saturday at Baylor (InsideRPI No. 206, SOS No. 74) before the dramatic win over Oklahoma State could even occur. A 24-point effort by Jason Conley and key late free throws by Paulding helped Missouri avoid an embarrassing upset and win, 70-66. The fact that the hapless Bears were within one point of the Tigers with 29 seconds left seems to leave enough doubt about Missouri's ability to see this late run to the finish line.

Coming up
The momentum and NCAA Tournament hopes disappear if the Tigers don't avoid a letdown at Kansas State (InsideRPI No. 102, SOS No. 79) on Saturday. A loss to the RPI sub-100 Wildcats would essentially be giving back the upset of Oklahoma State.

On Jan. 31, Missouri managed a 62-53 win over Kansas State in Columbia, blunting an otherwise terrible 1-3 stretch that included losses to Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska. The Tigers got over the hump with six second-half three-pointers in an otherwise underwhelming performance.

Next Tuesday, Mizzou visits Lubbock to meet Texas Tech (InsideRPI No.30, SOS No. 36) in a terrific "opportunity" game. The Red Raiders remain a Top 50 opponent, but are going in the exact opposite direction of the Tigers, having lost four of six.

"Bubble Trouble"
The Tigers were No. 77 at the start of this week on The Bracketology Report national seeding chart. This put Missouri back in at-large consideration, but still 12 spots away from a spot in the NCAA field. Obviously the win over Oklahoma State puts them several spots closer, if not quite in, the project bracket.

The five-game winning streak has saved, for the time being, the Tigers' once-remote tournament hopes. Missouri is in a position where any slip-ups could be disastrous. Winning out still only means 17 victories heading to the Big XII Tournament, but, with Texas Tech and Kansas still on the schedule, that scenario would at least get the Tigers to four RPI Top 50 wins.

Ironically, Missouri's recent run has almost directly coincided with the loss for the season of their leading rebounder and fourth-leading scorer, forward Linus Kleiza, who injured his shoulder in the loss to Colorado.

Games of the Week
Missouri fans should root FOR and AGAINST the teams in ALL CAPS.
For MEMPHIS @ Louisville (Sat.)
Missouri @ KANSAS STATE (Sat.)
Against UTEP @ Louisiana Tech (Thurs.)
WESTERN MICHIGAN @ Toledo (Sat.)


Inside the Numbers
Additional considerations for the NCAA Selection Committee include:
"Good" wins
(vs. RPI 1-25) Oklahoma State
(vs. RPI 26-50) Oklahoma
(vs. RPI 51-100) @Indiana, Colorado, UNLV, Iowa State, Nebraska
"Bad" losses
(vs. RPI 101-150) NONE
(vs. RPI sub-150) NONE
Record vs. projected field (2-6)
Win: @Oklahoma, Oklahoma State
Loss: @Memphis, Syracuse, Texas, N-Illinois, Texas, @Kansas
Record vs. at-large pool (3-2)
Win: Iowa, Iowa State, Colorado
Loss: @Iowa State, @Colorado
Reason(s) to INCLUDE Missouri
  • SOS No. 7
  • NonConfSOS No. 5
  • Reason(s) to EXCLUDE Missouri
  • 4-7 road/neutral record
  • 1-6 vs. RPI Top 50
  • Season breakdown (14-10, 8-5)
    All RPI data through Monday, Feb. 24

    Date      Opponent          Result          Opp. RPI      Opp. SOS
    11/29     N-Oakland         90-85             222           169

    12/2 Coppin State 70-61 262 323 12/6 @Indiana 63-58 88 48 12/13 @Gonzaga 80-87 (L, ot) 7 68 12/21 UNC Greensboro 106-98 255 224 12/23 N-Illinois 70-71 (L) 31 69 12/27 @Memphis 59-61 (L) 22 75 12/30 Belmont 67-71 (L) 82 168

    1/3 Iowa 76-56 73 76 1/7 @Iowa State 65-70 (L) 68 72 1/10 Texas A&M 82-77 214 132 1/12 Syracuse 68-82 (L) 29 42 1/17 @Oklahoma 79-75 (ot) 35 34 1/20 Texas 69-75 (L, ot) 12 28 1/24 Nebraska 72-51 90 111 1/28 @Colorado 70-83 (L) 54 71 1/31 Kansas State 62-53 102 79

    2/2 @Kansas 56-65 (L) 16 14 2/7 @Nebraska 62-78 (L) 90 111 2/10 Colorado 77-65 54 71 2/15 UNLV 94-60 97 86 2/18 Iowa State 82-70 68 72 2/21 @Baylor 70-66 206 74 2/24 Oklahoma State 93-92 (2ot) 12 59 2/28 @Kansas State 102 79

    3/3 @Texas Tech 30 36 3/7 Kansas 16 14 3/11 BIG 12 TOURNAMENT


    Joe Lunardi's forecast (Feb. 25)
    Chance of NCAA top seed: 0 percent
    Chance of NCAA "protected" (1-4) seed: 0 percent
    Chance of NCAA bid: 50 percent
    Chance of NCAA at-large bid: 40 percent
    Chance of NIT bid: 45 percent
    Chance of missing post-season: 5 percent

    Charlie Creme | email

    Women's College Basketball
    Charlie Creme projects the women's NCAA Tournament bracket for ESPN.com.

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