“No one had Missouri winning in Waco,” wrote CBS Sports’ Jeff Goodman.
Therein summarizes many opinions around the country as to the legitimacy of the Missouri Tigers men’s basketball team as a national contender, currently sitting at No. 5 in the country. Heading into Baylor’s campus to take on the No. 3 Bears this afternoon, some people didn’t give them a chance. Goodman says he was wrong.
“It appeared to be the ultimate mismatch. Mizzou’s lack of size and depth on the road against the endless length and big bodies that reside in Scott Drew’s program. Missouri’s non-conference body of work had been questioned. Then the diminutive and short-handed Tigers went on the road and got smacked in Manhattan by Kansas State a couple weeks ago. There were those — myself included — who needed to see more from Frank Haith’s club.”
It was Missouri’s dominance all over — even in unexpected areas like rebounding — that turned the heads of its critics like Goodman.
“The final score, 89-88, wasn’t indicative of how Missouri controlled this game. It was Mizzou dominance. On the perimeter, in the paint. Just about everywhere. It’s about time we started taking this team seriously. Yes, as a Final Four contender.”
Now the challenge for head coach Frank Haith might be to not let the praise get to the players’ heads. For now, it must be noted by everyone that Missouri is a real contender and that Haith has done a remarkable job.