The No. 3 Missouri Tigers tip off against the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks later this afternoon, yet even though the Tigers are the higher ranked team who already won the first of two this Big 12 conference season, Bill Self’s team is still favored in Sports Illustrated’s weekend college basketball predictions. Seth Davis has Kansas winning 80 to 70 in the final Border War showdown of the regular season.
Davis writes, "I realize Missouri would like to win this game, but I’m not so sure the Tigers really want to win. This team has done wonders with only seven scholarship players, but there were some tired legs on the court in Columbia Tuesday night when Missouri shot just 8-for-26 from three-point range in a 10-point loss to Kansas State.
“As impressive as Missouri’s win over Kansas was on Feb. 4, the Tigers needed a closing 11-0 run and a couple of questionable charge calls to escape with a three-point win. That was the game where Jeff Withey was a no-show for Kansas. I think he’ll show up for this one.”
If Missouri can complete the season sweep and hold fast in the Big 12 Conference tournament, they should be an easy No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament come selection Sunday. If Kansas can pull this off, they grab a share of the Big 12 conference title and it might have been among the top coaching jobs this year. Either way, this should be a great game to watch from beginning to end — not only for the tradition and the stories but the great basketball that will be played.