UPDATE: We are tracking results at the bottom. Even Missouri’s loss. :(
Missouri’s first SEC Tournament game tips in the mid-afternoon on Thursday, against either Georgia or Vanderbilt. If the Tigers win, they get Kentucky on Friday. If they win that one, they get either Auburn, Alabama, or Texas A&M in Saturday’s semifinals.
In terms of NCAA tournament stakes, Cuonzo Martin’s squad finds itself laminated right in the middle of the current batch of potential 8 and 9 seeds. In Joe Lunardi’s latest ESPN Bracketology bracket, he has the Tigers playing Butler in the first round of the South region, with the winner getting Virginia.
(Joe appears to have forgotten the “If Kansas is a 1 and Mizzou is an 8/9, they must be paired together in the same region” rule. He’s forgiven this one time.)
Of course, that’s just one bracket. For guidance as to the Tigers consensus status, we turn to an old friend: BracketMatrix.com.
In the 133 brackets collected for the Matrix, Mizzou is in the field in 132 of them (the lone exception has ... an interesting view on the basketball world) and is either an 8 or 9 seed in 104. The Tigers are slightly closer to the higher side (18 7-seeds, one 6, and one 5) than the lower (seven 10s, an 11, and one First Four Out) but end up averaging out as the No. 32 team overall.
With up to three more opportunities for quality wins, Missouri could obviously still play itself up to a No. 7 or, in a perfect world, No. 6 seed with a great week ahead. (That’s doubly true if the Tigers do so with Michael Porter Jr., painting the picture of a team with a higher ceiling than has currently been demonstrated.) But that will also depend on the teams around Mizzou on the totem pole.
With that thought in mind, here’s a viewing guide of sorts — here are the other conference tournaments that involve teams projected within two seeds of Missouri per Bracket Matrix (i.e. teams given a No. 6-10 seed). How high Mizzou moves up will depend partially on how these teams fare.
This is, in other words, both a viewing and rooting guide.
- Teams to care about: Rhode Island (currently an 8-seed) and St. Bonaventure (10).
- Rhode Island’s path: URI is the No. 1 seed and will play the winner of VCU-Dayton at noon ET on Friday. With a win, the Rams would play probably either St. Joe’s or George Mason at 1 pm ET on Saturday.
- St. Bonnie’s path: The No. 2 seed in the A10, Mark Schmidt’s Bonnies will take on the Richmond-Duquesne winner at 6 pm ET on Friday and, with a win, would likely face either Davidson or SLU in Saturday’s semis.
- Teams to care about: Houston (6).
- Houston’s path: The No. 3 seed in the AAC, Kelvin Sampson’s Cougars are probably too far ahead for Mizzou to catch. But if they were to lose to either UCF or ECU in Friday’s conference quarterfinals (8:30 pm ET, ESPNU), that might make it a little easier.
- Teams to care about: Florida State (9), Miami (6), NC State (9), Virginia Tech (8)
The 3-seed, Miami doesn’t play until Thursday. The Canes will take on either UNC or Syracuse in the nightcap (9 pm, ESPN). The winner would face either Duke, Virginia Tech, or Notre Dame in the semis. Miami fell to UNC on Thursday.
The Noles are the 8-seed in the ACC and are taking on Louisville right now on ESPN. A win there could move the needle a hair, but it would also give them a chance for a big upset, of No. 1 seed Virginia, on Thursday. UVA barely escaped Tallahassee with a four-point win a month ago. So go Louisville. FSU lost to Louisville on Wednesday.
NC State’s path:
NC State is the No. 5, playing No. 12 BC directly after FSU’s game today (ESPN). The winner gets Clemson at the same time tomorrow. NC State lost to BC on Wednesday.
Virginia Tech’s path:
Buzz Williams’ Hokies are the No. 7 seed and play No. 10 Notre Dame in the first game of tonight’s evening session. The winner gets Duke tomorrow. VT lost to Notre Dame on Wednesday.
- Teams to care about: Kansas State (10), Oklahoma (9), TCU (6)
- K-State’s and TCU’s path: TCU defeated Kansas State on Thursday and will take on Kansas on Friday (ESPN2).
OU crashed in conference play and ended up drawing a 9-seed . That means the Sooners will take on Oklahoma State tonight in the first round and, with a win, take on Kansas tomorrow. Tough path. Oklahoma lost to OSU on Wednesday.
- Teams to care about: Butler (9), Creighton (8), Seton Hall (7)
- Butler’s and Seton Hall’s path: The third-seeded Pirates and sixth-seeded Bulldogs play in the late game on Thursday night at the Garden (9:30 pm ET). Winner will get either Villanova, Marquette, or DePaul on Friday. Probably Villanova (but go, DePaul, just because).
The fourth-seeded Blue Jays will face No. 5 Providence mid-afternoon on Thursday (FS1), with the winner taking on either Xavier, Georgetown, or St. John’s on Friday. I guess the best-case scenario there is Mizzou conquest St. John’s deciding to run the table, huh?Creighton fell to Providence on Thursday.
- Teams to care about: Nevada (7)
- Nevada’s path: The top-seeded Wolf Pack beat UNLV to kick off Thursday’s proceedings in Vegas and will get the Fresno State-SDSU winner on Friday.
- Teams to care about: Arizona State (10)
One of the nation’s hottest early teams, the Sun Devils went just 8-10 in Pac-12 play and drew a 9-seed in the Pac-12 tourney. That means they play No. 8 Colorado later today, with the winner getting a crack at top-seeded Arizona on Thursday. ASU lost to Colorado on Wednesday.
- Teams to care about: Missouri (8), Arkansas (7), Florida (6), Texas A&M (7)
I guess you already know this one. Start by beating UGA/Vandy on Thursday, then attack Kentucky on Friday. Mizzou fell to Georgia on Thursday.
- Arkansas’ and Florida’s path: Arkansas drew the 6-seed, a.k.a. Thursday evening late game in St. Louis against either South Carolina. They won and drew Florida on Friday. Winner of that one gets either Tennessee or Mississippi State.
The Aggies definitely have a nice draw for making some moves. A win over Alabama on Thursday might eliminate the Crimson Tide from NCAA contention, and if they followed that up with a win over Auburn, they could end up a 6-seed at worst . Or, you know, they could lose to Bama and give Mizzou a chance to hop them. That’d be fine. A&M fell at the last second to Alabama.
- Teams to care about: Saint Mary’s (10), eliminated in the semifinals on Monday
So if we organize these games by date, we get this. I put potential future matchups on this list but didn’t go too far with it. I’ll try to keep this post updated with results, new matchups, etc., over the next couple of days.
- Noon ET: Louisville 82, FSU 74
- 2:30 pm ET: BC 91, NC State 87
- 3 pm ET: Colorado 97, Arizona State 85
- 6 pm ET: Oklahoma State 71, Oklahoma 60
- 7 pm ET: Notre Dame 71, Virginia Tech 65
All five of Missouri’s rivals in the No. 6-10 range lost on Wednesday. So far, so good.
- 11:30 am ET: Kansas State 66, TCU 64
- Noon ET: Alabama 71, Texas A&M 70
- 2:30 pm ET: Providence 72, Creighton 68
- 3 pm ET: Nevada 79, UNLV 74
- 3:30 pm ET: Georgia 62, Mizzou 60
- 9 pm ET: UNC 82, Miami 65
- 9:30 pm ET: Arkansas 69, South Carolina 64; Butler 75, Seton Hall 74
- Noon ET: Rhode Island 76, VCU 67
- 6 pm ET: Kansas 83, Kansas State 67, St. Bonaventure 83, Richmond 77
- 8:30 pm ET: Houston 84, UCF 56
- 9 pm ET: SDSU 90, Nevada 73
- 9:30 pm ET: Arkansas 80, Florida 72; Villanova 87, Butler 68
If Missouri had won on Thursday, the table was very much set for the Tigers to move up to a 7-seed, as most of the teams around them lost in their respective conference tournaments pretty quickly. As it stands, the Tigers are unlikely to drop from the 8-seed line, and if they do, they will almost certainly by a 9.