Yesterday’s 61-52 loss at the hands of the Arkansas Razorbacks brought a full range of emotions for Tiger fans. Despite the loss and early exit in the second round of the SEC tournament, great basketball was played, especially on the defensive end. To be quite honest, I didn’t expect this game to be such a defensive grudge match.
I find it hard to complain about the team’s performance as both were pretty much evenly matched in the box score. Yes, there were gimmicks and individual performances I was truly shocked about, and if time permitted, I would go back into the game and deep dive into some of the ridiculous officiating. For a more in depth description of the game, check out my live game thread.
Here’s is a screenshot of the overall box score of the game.
I can’t say that I’m happy with the result, but I’m not furious about it. As of 9 am today, Charlie Creme still has Mizzou as one of the last four in to face Gonzaga in the Texas regional. There’s a lot to recap in this game so here are the takeaways from the OT loss to Arkansas.
1. Haley Troup and LaDazhia Williams balled out
With Aijha Blackwell coming off the bench for only 11 minutes, it was up to the rest of the starting lineup to pick up the slack. This time around, the “Splash Sisters” did not have their best shooting and scoring afternoon... it happens. In their absence offensively, HaleyTroup and LaDazhia Williams were the heroes.
Arkansas outscored Mizzou 15-6 to tie the game up at 32 after Mizzou took a 23-17 lead in the first half. Heading into the fourth quarter, it seemed like the Tigers would be able to hold on to the lead and advance to play South Carolina. Instead, Arkansas went on a run and was able to take the 48-46 lead until Troup’s incredible layup took them to overtime.
Their efforts truly led Mizzou into overtime. Troup finished with a career-high 21 points, to go along with a season-high six rebounds and three assists. Williams recorded a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. She also had two of Mizzou’s four points in overtime. You just can’t look at this game and deny their efforts.
2. The officiating.
I really hate to bag on officiating because I’m not on the court during those moments. I do make some exceptions when I know there were some absolutely wacky calls and no calls.
From memory, I can count at least seven times where the officials did not call clear fouls against Arkansas on drives to the basket. A majority of the no calls came when Troup drove to the basket and got absolutely decked. I don’t recall any of those shots being from blocks. Mama Dembele had her fair share of blown calls as well, as she’d drive to the basket and get slammed onto the ground. At one point, LaDazhia posted up and was clearly whacked by an Arkansas player and there was no call. And these are just the offensive examples.
Defense is a whole other story. There were block attempts when Arkansas drove to the basket and not one Mizzou player even got close to touching a player. Those shots, a majority of the time, ended up in misses. One point, Samara Spencer clearly flopped on a shot attempt and Mizzou was called for a foul.
Another ridiculous defensive foul called against Troup made my eyes roll. She was called for a reach in foul when the Arkansas player was holding the ball in front of her. Troup literally just touched the ball and the refs blew their whistle. The game ended with Mizzou getting called for 22 fouls and Arkansas with 14. Does this remind you of another game where the foul calls were extremely uneven? The answer is Baylor.
3. Mizzou still has a shot at the tourney.
This isn’t necessarily a takeaway, but let’s pretend it is. We all know a no. 8 vs no. 9 matchup is hard and Arkansas has had Mizzou’s number all season long. In the post game press conference, Coach Pingeton addressed the tournament and stated that she doesn’t think Mizzou is a bubble team. As I mentioned above, Creme updated his bracketology and still has Mizzou on the bubble.
Brandon Haynes of The Maneater and I have been looking at scenarios for Mizzou’s odds after their loss to see where the Tigers currently stand. Last night, Mizzou desperately needed Kentucky and Minnesota to win. Mississippi State was on the bubble and a win against Kentucky would not have increased Mizzou’s chances. Thankfully, Kentucky beat them and took the Bulldogs out of contention. Similarly, Northwestern is on the bubble and a loss would’ve taken them out. Unfortunately for Mizzou, Northwestern beat Minnesota.
So what does Mizzou need to happen today? The Tigers needed a Dayton win over Davidson today, and got it as the Flyers beat the Wildcats 60-55 in overtime. They also need Florida State to lose to NC State, Northwestern to lose to Iowa, Saint Joseph’s to beat Rhode Island and lastly, Fordham to beat UMass.
For a full reference, the bubble outlook and play-in games are below.