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KChiefs1
03-25-2009, 06:20 PM
http://missouri.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=927819

TIGERS WITH SOMETHING TO PROVE

Gabe DeArmond
PowerMizzou.com Publisher


The 2008-09 Missouri Tigers have done almost everything this season. But there's one thing left this team has not accomplished. If they can do this one last thing, they're going to head to Detroit.

The Tigers have had a season better than any fan in his right mind could possibly have expected. But what's the one thing Mizzou hasn't done? The Tigers haven't beaten a truly top-shelf team outside of Mizzou Arena.

Now, first off, Missouri is consistently spoken about as a team that struggles away from home. Sorry, not true. The Tigers are now 12-6 in games played outside Mizzou Arena this year. That's pretty damn good. The national "experts" say they aren't a very good road team. Well, they were over .500 on the road, but that doesn't even matter. Last I checked, you don't play road games in the NCAA tournament (unless you are matched up against Duke or North Carolina or, this year, Villanova). They're not home games, but they aren't road games either. So the road record doesn't even much matter.

Anyway, on to my point. I consider the teams in the Sweet 16 pretty much elite basketball teams. Missouri has a 2-and-2 record against teams still standing in this tournament. The two wins (Kansas, Oklahoma) came at home. The two losses (at Kansas, Xavier in Puerto Rico) were away from home.

So, yeah, Missouri has a little bit left to prove. If the Tigers don't get it done, frankly, to me, it doesn't blemish one thing about this season. Thirty wins, Big 12 tournament title, Sweet Sixteen. Very, very good. Nothing changes that.

But a great season, one of those truly elite, historic seasons, is going to require the Tigers to take out two of college basketball's better teams away from home.

The first chance comes against Memphis. Honestly, these two teams are virtual mirror images to me. Sure, there are differences, but both have a high level of athleticism, both can put up a lot of points, both win games based on their defense. But the biggest similarity is this: Both come into the Sweet Sixteen feeling like they still have a lot to prove.

"I think that both us and Memphis definitely feel like we have a lot to prove," Zaire Taylor (http://missouri.rivals.com/bviewplayer.asp?Player=411040) said. "I know they feel like they're a number one seed. People tend to not give them the credit they deserve because they're in Conference USA, but you win thirty games, you win thirty games. Ain't nobody giving you no games, whether you're in Conference USA, the Big East, wherever you're playing. And they won out of conference games too. We've seen them in Puerto Rico and we both lost to Xavier. They're a good team. I know they're going to come with it. Both of us, I think the main thing about this game, is that we both feel like we have something to prove."

Taylor pretty well laid out the disrespect sent Memphis' way. A truly elite team, say the Tigers' detractors, doesn't play in Conference USA. Load of crap, I say. I mean, you play the games in front of you. John Calipari (http://missouri.rivals.com/viewcoach.asp?Coach=1224) and Tyreke Evans (http://missouri.rivals.com/bviewplayer.asp?Player=401155) aren't in charge of what league the school affiliates itself with. The Tigers have won 61 consecutive games in their league. Is it a bad league? Sure. But 61 straight wins is 61 straight wins. I'd guess that Memphis could have beaten Colorado, Iowa State, Texas Tech and Nebraska. All won games in the Big 12 this year. In addition, the Tigers beat Gonzaga and Tennessee and took out Maryland in the second round of the tournament. Memphis has done exactly what it is supposed to do: They've won the games on their schedule. You would think any reference to Memphis not being able to handle top competition would have gone out the window with their run to the national title game last year. Guess not.

As far as Missouri's Tigers go, they have to prove to some people they belong here. Yes, three seeds are supposed to make it this far, but these same "experts" are treating the Tigers as a mere afterthought in the Sweet Sixteen.

Look at the rest of the field. It's tough to say there's a surprise team here. If you go back to pre-season expectations, Pitt, Louisville, Carolina, UCONN, Duke, Oklahoma, Memphis, Michigan State and Villanova were all pretty much supposed to be this good. Same with Xavier, Purdue and Gonzaga. Perhaps Kansas, Syracuse and Arizona are small surprises, but when you have one of those names on your jersey, you aren't a surprise to anyone. That leaves Missouri.

The Tigers were picked seventh in their conference at the start of the season. If they win on Thursday, they're one of the top eight teams in the country.

But shouldn't we have gotten over pre-season expectations by now? That was four months ago. And obviously, we all missed on forecasting Missouri's season. They're here for the same reason the other fifteen teams are: They belong here.

In sports, a little disrespect can go a long way. On Thursday night, two sets of Tigers will take the floor with an "us-against-the-world" attitude. One of them is going to keep on proving people wrong right into the Elite Eight.

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KcMizzou
03-25-2009, 06:29 PM
Judging from the comments leading up to the game, Memphis and Mizzou seem to have a lot of respect for one another.

From Calipari's press conference...

"From where that program was when he took over to where it is now... just phenomenal."

Said that he ran into Anderson in the hall. They exchanged laughs and said "Get ready for another boxing match... We've had wars."

He watched second half of Kansas home game at his home: "I thought, 'He's got it going again.' A terrific coach. Lots of body on body. Physical. They play. They ball."

Kind words. I can't help but like Calipari.

Nzoner
03-25-2009, 06:33 PM
Judging from the comments leading up to the game, Memphis and Mizzou seem to have a lot of respect for one another.

From Calipari's press conference...

"From where that program was when he took over to where it is now... just phenomenal."

Said that he ran into Anderson in the hall. They exchanged laughs and said "Get ready for another boxing match... We've had wars."

He watched second half of Kansas home game at his home: "I thought, 'He's got it going again.' A terrific coach. Lots of body on body. Physical. They play. They ball."

Kind words. I can't help but like Calipari.

Was listening to Anderson's PC a bit ago he said and I paraphrase,' there's going to be some fireworks in this game,people are going to be watching and say,did that player really just do that.'

To say I can't wait for tip is an understatement.

KcMizzou
03-25-2009, 06:43 PM
Was listening to Anderson's PC a bit ago he said and I paraphrase,' there's going to be some fireworks in this game,people are going to be watching and say,did that player really just do that.'

To say I can't wait for tip is an understatement.Hell yeah.

I guess the last time Memphis lost a conference game, it was to a Mike Anderson coached UAB team.

Not that that's indicative of anything, but it tells you a little about the history between the two.

DeezNutz
03-25-2009, 06:45 PM
Was listening to Anderson's PC a bit ago he said and I paraphrase,' there's going to be some fireworks in this game,people are going to be watching and say,did that player really just do that.'

To say I can't wait for tip is an understatement.

I heard his PC, too.

Really impressed with that guy. Same thing with Coach Cal. Dude has it all working.

KChiefs1
03-26-2009, 10:37 PM
Hell yeah.

I guess the last time Memphis lost a conference game, it was to a Mike Anderson coached UAB team.

Not that that's indicative of anything, but it tells you a little about the history between the two.

Mike Anderson > John Calipari

KcMizzou
03-26-2009, 10:38 PM
Mike Anderson > John CalipariPay the man.

Lock him up.

Nzoner
03-26-2009, 10:53 PM
Just got back from the bar and all I got is


FOCK YEAH!!!!!!!