The Committee Giveth and The Committee Taketh Away
Rejoice! The Missouri Tigers are returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2018! They are facing a former Big XII rival! They can get revenge for last year’s debacle in KC! IT’S ALL SO EXCITING.
So... while I’m happy about all of this, I don’t love how out of left field this seeding choice seems. When the selection show started and Mizzou was almost immediately announced in the West Region, several obscenities were said. Phones were angrily turned off and tossed away. Heated conversations about the decisions made ensued. 7 QUAD ONE WINS. A 9-3 RECORD AGAINST TEAMS IN THE FIELD. THE MISPRONOUNCED NAME. THE OUTRAGE. THE DISRESPECT. HIS NAME IS PRONOUNCED CON-ZO. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING.
Alas, cooler heads prevailed (eventually), and I was overcome with a feeling of happiness for this Tigers team, almost all of whom will be playing in their first NCAA Tournament (Jeremiah Tilmon played in 2018, and Mitchell Smith was on the team, but redshirting). How cool is that?!? The potential second round matchup? Not as cool. Making the tourney and facing Oklahoma? Super cool.
But before Mizzou can take on the No. 1 overall seed, the undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs (26-0), they must first beat No. 8 Oklahoma (15-10, 9-8 conference) in the first round of the West region.
Let’s check in on how the Tigers have fared historically against their opponent, as well as how they’ve done in the West region (though technically everyone is in the same vicinity this time). From the press release at MUTigers.com:
Mizzou’s placement in the West Regional marks the fourth time in its last five (and 10th in its last 15) NCAA Tournament appearances that the Tigers have been shipped West from a bracketology standpoint. The Tigers’ matchup with Oklahoma will mark the first meeting between the programs since Nov. 26, 2019, when the Sooners claimed a 77-66 victory in Kansas City, as part of the Hall of Fame Classic at the T-Mobile Center. Oklahoma holds a 114-97 edge in the series, which began on February 16, 1916, with a 50-20 Mizzou win in Columbia, and the Sooners are 17-14 against the Tigers on neutral courts.
In regards to how 25th ranked Oklahoma fared this season, the Sooners had five games either canceled or postponed, and like the Tigers, they hit a rough patch at the end of the season, as they lost five of their last six games, all by single digits (kansas-7, Texas-4, OSU-4 twice, KSU-5). In fact, since February 20, the Sooners have only won two games, both to Iowa State. For reference, the Tigers won three of their last six in that timespan (SC+15, MISS-7, FLA+2, LSU-6, UGA+3, ARK-6).
Does this rough patch make them an easier opponent, though? Of course not. According to KenPom, the Sooners are ranked 39th overall (Mizzou is 51st), 36th in adjusted offense (Mizzou is 51st), and 55th in adjusted defense (Mizzou is 58th). The Sooners also play at a bit slower tempo than the Tigers prefer (67.2 compared to 68.6), so that will be something else to monitor during the game.
For more on the matchup, we’ll have an extensive game preview later in the week, as well as Josh taking a look at the West region as a whole.
Now, the important part:
How to Watch
TIME: 6:25pm CST
DATE: Saturday, March 20, 2021
LOCATION: Lucas Oil Stadium Equality (North), Indianapolis, Ind.
ON THE CALL: Tom McCarthy / Avery Johnson (love him!!) / Lauren Shehadi
STREAM: NCAA March Madness Live
Looking for FuboTV? Try our signup link: FUBOTV
March Madness is here! Cannot wait for the game Saturday! M-I-Z!
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