(KMOV.com) -- The Missouri men's basketball team took the court to defend its Big 12 Tournament title Wednesday afternoon in front of a heavily partisan group of Tiger fans in Kansas City.
What ensued was March Madness for the Tiger faithful, and we're not talking the good kind. Their opponent was the lowly Nebraska Cornhuskers who finished the Big 12 season 2-14 including two blowout losses to Mizzou.Now I don't believe that games on a neutral court can really be called "home games," but Mizzou definitely had the advantage.
The Sprint Center was filled with Tigers fans who either took off work in advance or had a sudden case of the Tiger Flu.Unfortunately they would all leave the arena feeling sick. Final score: #12 seed Nebraska 75, #5 seed Missouri 60.
Mizzou ran into the deadly combination of a desperate team playing out of its mind.Nebraska jumped out to a big lead and never looked back. The Huskers shot 55.8% from the field including 8-14 from behind the arc. Mizzou shot 33.9% from the field.The Tiger fans at the Sprint Center tried to get loud for their team several times.But each time Nebraska had a quick answer. Mizzou cut the lead to 8 with 1:59 to play, but that's as close as they would get.
Nebraska played by far its best game of the season, but that's little consolation for the Mizzou fans who had already made plans for a long weekend in Kansas City. They ended their title defense on the wrong side of one of the biggest upsets in Big 12 Tournament history.
Mizzou still is in good shape to make the NCAA Tournament, but it will now be a long wait until the field is announced Sunday evening. The Tigers are likely looking at an 8 or 9 seed at best now. And the likelihood of Mizzou ending up in the St. Louis Regional side of the bracket is slim to none with Kansas almost assured of getting the 1 seed. If KU is a 1 seed and Mizzou is an 8 or 9, the NCAA selection committee would most assuredly not set up a potential second round meeting.
Mizzou fans can't feel good about how the team is playing. They have lost 3 of the last 4 games. And the one win was an overtime escape against Iowa State. But that's the beauty of March Madness. The terrible feeling Tigers fans are experiencing from getting bounced early in the Big 12 Tournament can quickly turn to basketball bliss if Mizzou can right the ship and go on a run. And hey, look at the bright side. Now Mizzou has even more time to get healthy and prepare for the NCAA Tournament.