After a 0-1 week that saw Missouri get so so close to knocking off no. 12 LSU (no. 14 in NET as of Monday) in overtime on the road, the Tigers again find themselves on the outside looking in from the Top 25. Due to the schedule, the Tigers only got one game in for the new poll, as they didn’t face Georgia until Monday evening (this is your reminder to read the recap). And, if we’ve learned anything from the polls this season, it appears the Tigers will actually have to start winning some of these ranked matchups to see any real movement in the direction we’d like them to go.
In Week 11’s poll, the Tigers received 8 points, a week after receiving 12 (31st) and two weeks after receiving 56 (tied for 26th). Despite receiving less points, Mizzou still finds itself technically ranked the same. The SEC continues to have five ranked teams in the new poll: South Carolina (1), Tennessee (5), LSU (11), Georgia (13), and Kentucky (23). Missouri finds itself the first SEC team out of the rankings, and 44 points behind the no. 25 team, Iowa.
Only three voters put Mizzou in their top-25 rankings. Chantel Jennings ranked Mizzou at 24, while Danny Davis and Jim Allen ranked Mizzou at 23. Being ranked 23 and 24 makes a lot of sense with how well Mizzou played against LSU. If they would’ve gotten over the hump and defeated the other fake purple Tigers, no doubt more voters would’ve put them in their respective top-25 rankings.
Taking a closer look at the poll, the unranked teams ahead of Mizzou points-wise are all very much deserving of the votes. Ohio State received 47 points for 26th in the rankings. This past week, they defeated Michigan State and Minnesota in games that went down to the final buzzer. The assumption of being undefeated this week is probably what led to them getting a good amount of top-25 votes.
Virginia Tech, however, is the team that is probably the most deserving of their 40 points. Although they only played one game like Mizzou, they defeated no. 21 (who was no. 16 at the time they played) Duke, 65-54, in Durham. An upset on the road is quite deserving on a bulk of points.
Oregon finally got over their hump of some losses that people did not foresee before the season started. The Ducks defeated no. 10 Arizona (ranked 7th at the time they played) 68-66 in overtime in Eugene and received 23 points. Sounds familiar for Mizzou fans, right? Although their convincing win over no. 9 UConn doesn’t count in this week’s top-25 rankings, expect the Ducks to make their way back up the rankings. Don’t worry, it’ll be written about next week if that happens.
After Kansas State debuted at no. 25 in week 10’s poll, they quickly dropped out of the rankings but still received 18 points. The Wildcats lost to Iowa State 70-73 in Manhattan and then were crushed by Texas Tech 45-64 in Lubbock. Understandably, they still got votes and like Mizzou, it was deserved. The Wildcats and the Tigers have had similar type of season all year.
To be 100% honest, South Florida receiving 14 points doesn’t make too much sense. The only factor would be from non-conference where they almost defeated UConn and beat both Oregon and Stanford. This past week, they comfortably defeated Tulane 75-62 but were crushed by UCF 51-67. Some things just make your heads turn and this is one of them.
Speaking of UCF, they received nine points, one more than Mizzou. UCF has been on an absolute roll, going undefeated in AAC play. They defeated Houston 62-59 and, as stated in the previous paragraph, crushed USF 67-51. Again, some things in the Top-25 rankings and votes just don’t make sense.
**We interrupt this discussion for a quick interjection from the both of us, who were confused as hell about something**
Karen: Random question? Why is Kentucky no. 23 with THAT record and behind us in NET? Have they only played good teams? They have SIX DAMN LOSSES. THIS MAKES NO SENSE.
Lauren: Their literal ONLY prominent win was against Georgia but they did play Louisville and Indiana during non-con and lost both
Now let’s get to the NET rankings.
In case you still need explanation of how the NET rankings are tabulated, the NCAA has an article explaining what it is here. NOTE: they still suck.
After the non-con, Mizzou found itself ranked no. 49. And after beating the no. 1 team in all the land, South Carolina, Mizzou moved to up to (an absurdly low) 44. From there, they’ve basically hovered around 44. As of Monday afternoon, when the AP poll was released, the Tigers had moved to 43. MINUSCULE PROGRESS!
It’s worth mentioning again, that even though we are fans, we obviously think this is too low. LSU moved up SEVEN spots in the NET after almost losing to our Tigers last week, and blew out Vandy on Sunday, who currently sits 68 in the NET. We don’t get it. Seriously.
For reference, as of January 17, their opponents’ NET rankings are as follows:
From the chart, we can determine that the best results likely helping Mizzou remain in the low 40s in the NET are their home wins over Auburn and Murray State, neutral site win over Columbia (the big jumper this week— yay), close road losses to Baylor and LSU, and of course, the home South Carolina upset. Taking Baylor and LSU down to the wire is likely a positive in the NET’s algorithm, mainly because both were away games against very good teams. And as we’ve said previously, when all is said and done, because Missouri State and Arkansas are more highly ranked, it may not hinder the Tigers’ rankings too too bad that they lost to them on the road.
Since the NET rankings go to help determine seeds in the NCAA Tournament, we thought now would be a good time to check in on that as well. As a March Madness lover, I say (me, Karen) it’s NEVER too early for a bracket!! As of January 14, ESPN bracketologist Charlie Creme moved Missouri up to a 7 seed in the Bridgeport region. For reference, last week they were an 8 seed in Spokane.
For now, Creme is projecting 10 SEC teams to make the field: South Carolina (overall 1), Tennessee (2), LSU (3), Georgia (4), Mizzou (7), Ole Miss (7), Kentucky (9), MS State (11), and Texas A&M (11- play in game). We’ll monitor this going forward as we march… to March.
Next up is the RPI.
The RPI (real time ratings percentage index) is by far our favorite, and - as mentioned before - seems to be a more accurate picture of teams. If you don’t remember how RPI is configured, visit here. Despite the NCAA’s divorce from the RPI, it is still in use for a different and, in our opinion, more fair determination of rankings.
Currently, Missouri is ranked 12th in the RPI while LSU is ranked 21st. Despite the loss, the black and gold Tigers are still proving their dominance in conference play and showcasing their vast talent. Sometimes, games don’t go the way we want them to. Remember, Mizzou only has one game counting so it’s not the best sample size but it’s what we got.
So what does Mizzou need to do to squeak into the Top-25? Keep beating good teams, obviously. The Tigers faced AP No. 13 Georgia on Monday evening in CoMo and were handed their first home loss. The Tigers will get their next chance on Thursday when they take on Vanderbilt (no. 68 in NET) in Nashville (a makeup of the Covid-postponed game earlier in the season), and then head home to take on Texas A&M (no. 41 in NET) on Sunday. While the Georgia game didn’t break Mizzou’s way, beating Vandy on Thursday and the Aggies on Sunday would definitely raise their profile.
What we can continue to say for sure though, is this team is resilient. They’re fighters who never give up when facing adversity. They beat South Carolina on a rotation of seven. Despite some obvious rust, they came back from behind to Auburn and won in OT, and despite being down 20 to Arkansas at halftime, they battled back to cut the deficit to 10 at the end of the game. Mizzou was down 11 at the half against LSU but battled back to force OT despite it being a loss.
It’s still early in SEC play. Continue the support and let’s hope for a great showing this week.