We wrote before Tuesday night's game between the Missouri Tigers and Georgetown Hoyas in Kansas City's Sprint Center that we'll learn something more about the Tigers. We're a month into the season and how much can we say we really know about Mizzou? Not much, in my opinion. But after Tuesday's OT loss to Georgetown we do know Mizzou is for real. Are they No. 9-in-the-country for real? Maybe, maybe not. That part wasn't so crystal clear.
I really liked what I saw from Mizzou after they were getting rolled in the first half. When you're down 18, getting embarrassed on a "neutral court" -- anyone that says this wasn't a Tigers home game didn't see a bit of it -- there are a couple of ways you can go. You could do the easy thing and continue getting blown out. Or you can do the hard thing and keep at it, even if it seems it's not working.
It did start to click for Mizzou because their formula is a proven one and a successful one. They didn't go deep into their bench because the starters played well, and Georgetown controlled the tempo early on but they kept plugging away at the Hoyas until they finally took the lead with under 10 minutes remaining in the second half. Just a few minutes later and they had their largest lead of the game -- five.
Did Mizzou do some things wrong? There's no doubt. Allowing the one guy you knew you had to stop (Austin Freeman) go crazy is one. Allowing their guards to dominate the show much of the night and then get out-rebounded on the other end is another. Getting away from what they do best for most of the first half is also one.
But I think we learned a lot of good things on Tuesday night at the Sprint Center. Georgetown is battle-tested and their early schedule suggests they were ready for this. Missouri is no joke and making an 18-point comeback against at top 25 team is impressive. But there's also the issue of getting down by 18 in the first place.
I don't like the loss we saw from Missouri but I do like a lot from this game. This will be one of those games that will make them stronger down the stretch. There's so much they can learn and do better and there's so much they already did well.
I'll choose to be happy that the Tigers responded when they were down 18 and nearly won this thing in OT.