On January 5, the Missouri Tigers were 14-1 and on their way to a top 10 ranking in the Associated Press top 25 college basketball poll. They had only played a bunch of non-conference games -- most of them pretty weak -- so we weren't completely sure what kind of team Mizzou was.
My take on them is that they were a solid top 15 team that, as Marcus Morris suggested, are like "gnats that won't leave the kitchen when you leave dishes in there". In other words, they're a tough team that's not going anywhere.
Apparently I underestimated their inability to win on the road. Since Big 12 conference play has started, Missouri is 4-5 and winless on the road. The road schedule isn't the easiest in the world -- Colorado, Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma State and Kansas -- but they've won just one other true road game all year.
Let's just say Mizzou's road woes continue and they can't win a road conference game all year. That would mean upcoming losses against Iowa State, Kansas State and Nebraska. And if they win at home that means upcoming victories against Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Baylor and Kansas. My guess is that they beat Iowa State on the road and they don't beat Kansas, even in Columbia, so that would put the Tigers at 22-9 overall and 8-8 in the Big 12.
Is that tournament worthy?
I would say probably but that conference record doesn't look great when the NCAA seeds start coming out. To feel safer, Missouri needs to win three of their final four home games and a pair of road games. That would put them at 23-8 and 9-7 in the Big 12.
What's frustrating talking about this is that on Monday night against Kansas, Missouri played well enough on the road to beat everyone in the conference besides Kansas (obviously) and probably Texas. They played a great game and showed why, once into the tournament, Missouri is a team to watch. Their style of play can cause havoc with teams and, from a selfish perspective, they're a lot of fun to watch.