Missouri's Marcus Denmon (12) drives around Nebraska's Caleb Walker in the first half of their NCAA college basketball game in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, March 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) By Nati Harnik
Nebraska's Lance Jeter passes the ball over the defense of Missouri's Ricky Kreklow (2) and Matt Pressey (3) in the first half of their NCAA college basketball game in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, March 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) By Nati Harnik
The Missouri Tigers never figured out how to win on the road this season. They lost 69-58 to Nebraska on Wednesday night. That brought their road conference record to 1-7. But who cares? Mizzou won't play another road game.
The No. 22 Tigers (22-8, 8-7) have a showdown against the No. 2 Kansas Jahawks on Saturday. And they are very grateful to be playing in the friendly confines of Mizzou Arena. It's quite astounding the difference in play at home versus on the road. I had a chance to attend the Tigers' last home game against the Baylor Bears. The game was never in question. Baylor has one of the Big 12's best scorers in Lacedarius Dunn. And Mizzou guard Kim English told me after the game that Baylor has the best big men in the country. Didn't matter. English and the Tigers wiped the Mizzou Arena floor with Baylor, winning 77-59.
This Saturday's game agains Kansas will be no picnic and the Tigers know it. They lost 103-86 in Lawrence on February 7th. But the Zoo Crew will be ready to make it as difficult as possible for their hated rival.
Then the Tigers will play the rest of their games on neutral courts (provided they make the NCAA Tournament as expected). Mizzou is 2-1 on neutral courts this season. They defeated Illinois and Wyoming. They lost a very tough overtime game to No. 17 Georgetown. And anyone who watched that game knows Mizzou played very well.
Now it's so long to the road games and hello to the postseason. You better believe the Tigers are relieved.
"Starting today, no more road games," said guard Marcus Denmon after the Nebraska loss. "There's nothing more to figure out. It's either home or neutral."