It would take a miracle for the Tigers to stun the Mountaineers Sunday.
But they don’t call it March Madness for nothing.
This tournament has thus far been as crazy and upsetting for higher seeds as any tournament in recent history.
With a No. 2 seed already fallen to a No. 10, Mizzou’s chances might have just increased– at least mentally.
No. 2 seed Villanova fell prey to Cinderalla St. Mary’s Saturday afternoon 75-68. Nova’s collapse, making them the fourth BIG EAST team to be upset, shows that being a Goliath in this year’s tournament could be especially troubling.
Mizzou is nothing short of a David– and Mizzou’s three stones are pivotal to its chances of upsetting a much bigger West Virginia squad.
It’ll take a career day from sophomore guard Marcus Denmon off the bench. Denmon has struggled recently, shooting just 1 for 13 from behind the arc over his last 3 games. But look for Denmon to have a breakout game for the Tigers, shrugging off his slumping shot.
West Virginia clearly has the advantage size-wise, but Mizzou’s quickness could be too much for West Virginia to handle. If Mizzou’s quickness can lead to sloppy turnovers, the Tigers might find themselves in the game down the stretch, poised to pull off the upset.
But it’ll take Zaire Taylor and JT Tiller’s senior leadership on defense to push the envelope with Mizzou’s 40-minute press defense. If Tiller and Taylor can’t set the tempo early, it could be a long afternoon for the Tigers– and an even longer bus ride back to Columbia.
While Taylor will have to be forcing turnovers on defense, look for him to come up big down the stretch if the game is close. Taylor might not shine on offense the first 38 minutes of the game, but he has a knack for living up to his nickname (Zaire “Big Shot” Taylor.) See Taylor shocks Kansas.
Everyone knows that West Virginia is playing the role of Goliath. Hopefully, for the Tigers sake, Zaire will take on the role of David tomorrow– it wouldn’t be the first time.