Before Mizzou’s 69-58 loss to Lincoln, murmurs and concerns from national and conference media wondering where Mizzou’s mojo had gone were overblown. The Tigers may not have been playing at their highest level, but even with a loss to Kansas State on Saturday, Mizzou had won 4 of 5, and 5 of 7, with the only losses coming on the road to Kansas and Kansas State.
But after Tuesday’s loss to Nebraska, the search for Mizzou’s mojo is officially on.
At no point during the game did the Tigers find anything resembling offensive rhythm. Guards spent the first half passing up open looks and the second half failing to convert on any looks. And as the tailspin begun, like being stuck in quicksand, the harder the Tigers tried to drag themselves out, the further they sunk.
The outside shot wasn’t an option for anyone other than Marcus Denmon. The forwards couldn’t finish in the post. And penetration was accomplishing little, as Missouri didn’t attempt a free throw until 4:39 remained in the game.
For the second straight game, Laurence Bowers was the only thing remotely resembling an inside threat for Missouri, and he still only accounted for eight points and five rebounds in 26 minutes. Justin Safford and Steve Moore combined to play only 19 minutes, and Ricardo Ratliffe was somewhat invisible in his 34 minutes of play.
But the good news for Mizzou’s March mojo is that the perfect opportunity to regain it sits just around the corner. Missouri hosts Kansas in a nationally-televised CBS contest on Saturday. A team that desperately feeds off of home energy returns home to a crowd that similarly feeds off of playing Kansas. The challenge is immense, but the opportunity is one Mizzou sorely needs heading into the postseason.