Mizzou basketball facing tough journey to tournament - KMOV.com

Mizzou basketball facing tough journey to tournament

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMOV) -- It has been assumed that ten Big 12 wins will get Missouri into the NCAA tournament this March. The hoops squad is off to a solid start at 17-3 and 4-1 in conference play. Let's take a look at their remaining games to see if they can hit that magic number - or if it could possibly be eclipsed.

Kansas State (1/28) - Missouri will travel to the Little Apple to take on the Wildcats this Wednesday. However, they will not be taking on the same team that beat O.J. Mayo and USC in the NCAA Tournament. K-State's best player from last season, Michael Beasley, was selected 2nd overall in the last spring's NBA Draft. The Wildcats are 12-7 but have a record of just 1-4 in the Big 12. After beating Oklahoma State on the road, the Tigers have no reason not to win this game.

Baylor (1/31) - The Tigers will take on the Baylor Bears at Mizzou Arena on Saturday in what will be the most anticipated game played in Columbia thus far this season. Baylor's basketball program has been scandal-ridden for most this decade after the murder of player Patrick Dennehey, but the Bears are 14-4 on the season and even cracked the top 25. However, they are just 3-2 in the Big 12 and have to take on No. 11 Texas on Tuesday. With this game at Mizzou Arena in front of a packed house, Mizzou - again - should be expected to come out with a victory.

Texas (2/4) - Mizzou will travel to Austin next week to battle the Longhorns in one of their tougher contests this season. While they can't be favored to win, if they do, they are certainly for real. Remember, the Tigers shocked the Longhorns with a victory in Columbia in their only meeting last season.

Iowa State (2/7) - The Cyclones are 12-7 but just 1-3 in the Big 12. This is a road game, but the Tigers should have no issues leaving Ames with a win. They took care of business against Iowa State in Columbia earlier this month.

Kansas (2/9) -Now for the big one. The Jayhawks come to town next month for a Big Monday matchup on ESPN. Like their in-state rivals to the west, Kansas is not the same team from last year - the squad that won a National Championship, but then lost all five starters. Bill Self has a talented, young nucleus, but they are not a dominant team. Mizzou fans love beating Kansas and after a heartbreaking football loss, this could help restore order to this crazy universe.

Nebraska (2/14) - The Cornhuskers will travel to Columbia in mid-February as Mizzou wants look to redeem themselves after losing their conference opener in Lincoln in what is likely their most disappointing game this season. Nebraska is 1-3 in the Big 12 since, with their only win coming against Kansas State at home.

Colorado (2/21) - Mizzou easily disposed of the Buffalos in their first meeting in Columbia by a score of 107-62. This game should be just as easy for Mizzou, as Colorado is still winless in the Big 12.

Kansas State (2/25) - Mizzou pulled off an upset last season when the Wildcats traveled to Columbia. They will win again this year - but it won't be an upset.

Kansas (3/1) - The Tigers travel to Lawrence to take on the Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse, which is perhaps the best basketball venue in the world - really. Missouri cannot be expected to win in such a hostile environment, but don't be surprised if they do.

Oklahoma (3/4) - The No. 4 Sooners come to Columbia in early March in what will certainly be the Tigers toughest match this season. Forward Blake Griffin is quite possibly the best player in the country and the Big 12's answer to Tyler Hansborugh. The Sooners looked outstanding in their win against Oklahoma State on Monday night. It certainly helps Mizzou this game is Columbia, but they are not yet on the same level as Oklahoma (I actually copy and pasted that from a football article, but it works here too).

Texas A&M (3/7) - Missouri travels south to College Station in their final Big 12 contest of the year. The Aggies opened conference play with a loss to Oklahoma State, but then pulled off an upset against Baylor. Since that victory, they have lost three straight. If the Tigers are not too tired, and can keep their focus, they should be able to win this tough road game and have some momentum going into the Big 12 Tournament.

So, if you glance over these remaining games, the only contests Mizzou should be big underdogs in are Texas and Oklahoma and probably at Kansas. If they can win the other eight games, they will have 12 Big 12 wins - and a ticket to March Madness.

Michael Bittner is a student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism

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