Wow, what got into the Missouri Tigers? They put on a basketball clinic last night against the Arkansas Razorbacks and controlled every aspect of the game from start to finish. Going into the game I had hopes that playing at home coupled with the tough loss at Fayetteville a couple of weeks ago would give the Tigers the edge they needed to pull out a victory. I fully expected the game to once again go down to the final buzzer which shows you what I know. The Tigers were a team on a mission who used last night’s game to make a statement and Arkansas never knew what happened. Welcome back to Mizzou Arena Mike Anderson! The Tigers wrap up their regular season on Saturday with a game at Tennessee which is very winnable in my opinion.
Being a Missouri Tigers fan has been interesting this year as the Tigers are somewhat of an enigma. There is the Tigers team who gave a very good Arkansas Razorbacks team a basketball clinic last night, who beat an Illinois team that quite honestly I didn’t expect them to beat, and who barely lost to Louisville in a game where Louisville played as close to perfect as you can get. Then there is the Missouri Tigers team who has had two games this year where their shooting percentage has been in the high 20’s and appeared to be going through the motions for almost three weeks during the month of January. You never know for sure which team is going to show up and when the other team will make an appearance. Sometimes you get both teams in the same game with them either building up a huge lead only to lose it and either barely hang on or lose the lead entirely and never get it back. This same team will sometimes dig a massive hole for themselves before the other team shows up to try and mount a comeback. Sometimes they are successful and sometimes they aren’t. You just never know what you are going to get with this team. One interesting dynamic that isn’t talked about much is the fact that the Missouri Tigers basketball team is made up in large part with transfers. If you look at the team roster you can see that many of the players and most of the starters transferred from other schools and the team as a whole has only been playing together since the start of the season. In many ways it is remarkable that the Tigers are where they are right now given that it takes time to build team chemistry and the current group of players have had very little time to do that. I have criticized them several times this season for not playing together as a team and when that happens is when their shooting percentage goes way down and their turnovers go way up. When they are focused and play together as a cohesive unit like they did last night that’s when you can tell how good and how talented this team clearly is.
The Truman State women’s basketball team were victorious in the first round of the MIAA playoffs as they beat a pesky Southwest Baptist team last night at Pershing Arena. This sets up a second round rematch with Emporia State who knocked Truman State out of last year’s playoffs in a heartbreaking loss that I’m sure the Bulldogs still remember clearly. This weekends tournament in Kansas City will be the Bulldogs last chance to make a statement in the MIAA before departing for the Great Lakes Valley conference next year.
The Truman Sate men’s basketball team wasn’t quite as fortunate as they lost a tough one on the road at Pittsburg State on Monday night. The Bulldogs had a lead at one point but simply wasn’t able to hang on to it. Although the season wasn’t what they had hoped for it is very obvious they made tremendous strides from last year and that coach Matt Woodley has the team headed in the right direction.
The Kirksville High School Lady Tigers play in the first round of the playoffs tonight as they travel to Troy to take on St. Dominic who apparently came out of nowhere to win their district title. Teams like that are always dangerous but if the Lady Tigers play like they are capable of playing they can beat anybody. Last year’s experience in playing in these types of games should go a long way in helping them deal with the pressure that comes from the high expectations that come with playing at this level. I fully expect a victory tonight.
The St. Louis Cardinals bats have cooled off considerably from last week as the overly long spring training continues. It’s hard to believe that spring training will go on for another three weeks. The future of shortstop Rafael Furcal is in doubt as he has experienced more problems with his elbow. At this point it looks like he will be missing a considerable amount of time and if surgery is required he will most likely miss the entire year which will be a huge blow to a team that seems to be faced with more and more questions as spring training progresses. The Cardinals certainly have players on their roster who can fill the void at shortstop but certainly not anyone of Furcal’s caliber. Only time will tell how this all plays out.
The Kansas City Royals have been red hot this spring as it would certainly appear that the off season moves made by the Royals front office have given this team a sense of confidence it didn’t have before. Obviously we are still very early in the spring and spring training games don’t count but the Royals are definitely putting up some impressive numbers right now.
We’ll be back on Friday with a look ahead to all the weekend’s sports action and hopefully a look back at a Lady Tigers victory tonight. Please take the time to check out the other blogs on this site and thanks as always for supporting this one.
Have a wonderful Wednesday!