We now get to the month that most of Rock M Nation would prefer to forget. The "pretend March never happened" meme, while a means of coping with traumatic stress, belies my preferred "Rock M Nation is a rational place that isn't afraid of math" meme. We'll acknowledge the bad, but we won't dwell on it. So, let's rip the bandaid off and get this done.
March 3 - The basketball Tigers close out the regular season with a 81-59 thrashing of Texas Tech. English and Denmon went for 20 and 17 respectively, and the Tigers made 16 three pointers. On the mat, the Tigers stun #3 Oklahoma State to win the Big 12 championship.
March 6 - Spring football starts. Dave Matter makes the prescient observation that Gahn McGaffie might steal some reps from
Wes Welker T. J. Moe.
March 8 - The hoops team destroyed Oklahoma State in the first half of their Big 12 Tournament quarterfinal game, 47-18, before OSU pulled their patented "We're down by 30, let's play out of heads" maneuver, resulting in a deceivingly close 88-70 final. Mizzou outrebounded OSU 40-20, a truly astounding feat for this team. Key first half stats: 6.67 BCI and +8 expected rebounds.
March 9 - In the Big 12 semifinal versus Texas, Marcus Denmon was a complete non-factor. His adjusted game score was all of 0.2. You might think that the Tigers would be in trouble, but Phil Pressey, Kim English, and Ricardo Ratliffe more than made up for Denmon's bad day, leading Mizzou to an 81-67 victory over the Longhorns, setting up a final against Baylor. The Bears defeated Kansas, ruining the anticipated rubber game in the season series and a new "last game" ever. Perhaps Kansas was already refusing to play Missouri.
March 10 - Five players score 15 points in a 90-75 victory over Baylor for the Big 12 Championship. Frank Haith's squad is flying high at 30-4, accomplishing what no one dreamed they would at the beginning of the season. S-E-C chants fill the auditorium in a giant kiss-off to the Big 12. Kim English was "Best Kimmie" for three games, and Phil Pressey had an excellent three games as well. The Tigers were at the pinnacle. Unfortunately, they wouldn't stay there long.
March 11 - Selection Sunday. Mizzou gets the last #2 seed and is assigned to the West region. I, like most Mizzou fans, was pretty irritated by the "lucky they were a #2" drivel coming from the selection committee chair, but I figured the seed really wouldn't matter. There's really no way of knowing whether it did or not. No one knows how the Tigers would have fared against the other 15's or 16's or 14's, for that matter.
March 13 - In retrospect, this is when the wheels started coming off for Mizzou in general in 2012. We just didn't know it at the time. How so? James Franklin "tweaks his shoulder" in spring practice.
March 16 - Surprisingly, this day is even worse than you remember. Not only did the #2 seed Tigers fall 86-84 to a red-hot shooting Norfolk State team, but all Mizzou wrestlers were eliminated from NCAA tournament. It was the first time in a decade that the wrestling team failed to finish in the top 20. I'll spare you any further details about the game itself, and instead share this: My daughter called after the game and told me, "I'm sorry you team lost, Dad. Remember that Game of Thrones starts soon. Maybe that will cheer you up some." Eventually, it did.
March 18 - The softball team finishes a complete destruction of Kansas, sweeping the three game series by a cumulative score of 24-0. Kansas only gets 10 hits all weekend. It is a fitting way to end the series, at least until Kansas gets over themselves. Also, the women's swimming and diving squad finishes 14th at the NCAA championships. It is their best finish ever.
March 19 - Frank Haith wins the basketball writers' national coach of the year award. It is also announced that James Franklin will have surgery on his "tweaked shoulder." Bill mentions the next day that as long as Franklin is back and healthy in five months, Berkstresser getting reps is a good thing. He failed to add "and Franklin doesn't get injured three other times during the season." Bill also says "it has been a stupid 12 months for Mizzou football injuries." If only that had been the end of it...
March 21 - The women of the diamond sweep Iowa and have outscored their opponents 122-3 in March to date. The Tremendous Stubble is displeased, however:
"You should look like you’re having fun, you’re 20, you don’t have a job, softball is a fun sport," Earleywine said. "They, so far this year, have been able to overcome whatever lack of enthusiasm they have."