Hey Rock M! I am a blogger who is just kind of mid-west sports crazed! I am not an alum (Illini) but my wife is and she has made me a Tiger fan and without our schools playing I never have anti-MIZ moments these days.
It seems that there is little doubt that the Missouri Tigers will be present in this years NCAA Tournament, but for how long? Rock M actually has this post up top right now http://www.rockmnation.com/2014/2/17/5419412/ncaa-tournament-bracket-projections-rock-m-tology - projecting the field and Mizzou's path to glory. It is different than Lunardi's latest bracketology which also has Mizzou as an 11 seed but with a different opening round matchup (Oklahoma) - http://espn.go.com/ncb/bracketology
As far as Bill's post on RockM goes his "Path To Destiny" for Miz is pretty insane, but really every tournament run should be...Louisville-Michigan State-Wichita State-Syracuse-Cincinnati-Arizona. I don't think that Missouri beats Louisville if they play, I give them a great shot against Oklahoma but based on the finish, these are teams the Tigers shouldn't face in round 1.
If you look at the home stretch for the Tigers they play all winable games and only 1 team ahead of them in the SEC standings (Georgia). They remaining slate is 3 home and 3 on the road with the road games being played against the previously mentioned Bulldogs, a sorry Alabama team who only scored 47 on Mizzou in January, and a Tennessee team that the Tigers beat at home on Saturday.
Since it is unlikely for the Tigers to win all 6 and end on 8 straight let's project the record on ranking, so 5-1 down the stretch and 7 of 8 to end the season. Based on their finish how high could these Tigers be seeded? If we stuck to rankings they wouldn't win the tournament but instead get bumped after a win or 2.
Since the Tigers are mocked up to play Louisville and Oklahoma in these 2 forecasts I looked at some data and these 3 teams are surprisingly similar, so lets see if you can guess which team is which...
A - RPI is currently 37, their SOS is 113, they have zero losses to teams with RPI above 50, and 3 wins over the top 50. Their highest ranked statistic is 11th in America in points per game.
B - RPI is currently 38, their SOS is 65, they have 4 losses to teams with RPI above 50, and 3 wins over the top 50. Their highest ranked statistic is 47th in America in rebounding.
C - RPI is currently 25, their SOS is 24, they have 3 losses to teams with RPI above 50 and are the only with a loss of a team worse than 100 in the RPI, and they have 6 wins over the top 50. Their highest ranked statistic is 13th in America in points per game.
Looking back it might seem easy to pick out Missouri as Team B because of the scoring (Missouri is 75th in PPG), but they only score 7.1 points less per game than Louisville, that's not many points between 11th and 75th. Also Missouri is the only team with a player averaging 20+ per game (Jabari Brown).
What's my point? Well its easy to see why Oklahoma and Louisville are 6 seeds in everyone's bracketology while Missouri is an 11, however I think its pretty safe to predict that Missouri can join them in the 6 seed range by selection Sunday. With a weak remaining schedule and a chance to snag an impressive win or 2 come conference tournament time I think Missouri could finish 23-9 and in the RPI top 30.
Not only did Andy Katz give Missouri some love this week, but I think that once this team starts rolling down the stretch it will solidify its place, not as a "last in" but instead as a "shoe-in" for seed between 6 and 8.