(KMOV)-- Missouri plays its first round game in the NCAA tournament on Thursday and there doesn't seem to be much of a buzz about it. In the past there always seemed to be a lot of excitement and anticipation about the Tigers playing in the tournament. What happened this year? I don't hear too many people talking about Mizzou hoops, or holding out much hope they'll do well in the tournament. I'm sure some of the enthusiasm was dampened by the poor showing against Texas A&M in the Big 12 Tournament, and the lackluster finish to the regular season.
But even before that I sensed that St. Louis area sports hadn't embraced this Mizzou team as they have in recent years. I think there are a couple of reasons for that. For one, there are exactly zero St. Louis area players on the Missouri roster. Not one. I know I have more interest in Missouri hoops when I know some of their players, and followed them in their high school career. Mizzou's recruiting of St. Louis area talent has been woeful over the past few years. Why are stars like Bradley Beal (Florida) and BJ Young (Arkansas) going to out of state schools? That really hurts, losing the two best high school players in the state this year. I think Mike Anderson's laid back personality might also be an issue in developing fan support around the state. Anderson is a classy guy who runs a solid program.
He's certainly done his share of winning. He never acts like a jerk on the sideline, never throws a tantrum toward a player or ref, never a hint of scandal surrounding his performance. Still, Anderson doesn't sell many tickets or generate a lot of hoopla around the state. I wouldn't expect him to put on some kind of a show to demonstrate that he's passionate, or worthy of our attention. He is who he is, and I totally respect that. But his low key manner doesn't get many basketball fans excited about the team. Head coaches in college basketball provide the face, and in many cases the personality of their team. Anderson is extremely mellow by college coaching standards, and while that's certainly not a negative personality trait, I think it's part of the reason why this Missouri Tiger team hasn't seemed to capture the imagination of many basketball fans in this area.