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NCAA Basketball Missouri Tigers

Bubble Watch: 5 Reasons Why Missouri Will Make the Tournament

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Bubble Watch: 5 Reasons Why Missouri Will Make the Tournament

Mizzou Tigers Basketball, Frank Haith
Dak Dillon USA TODAY Sports

As it stands now, the Missouri Tigers are recognized by most reports as one of the last teams that would make it into the NCAA Tournament. After missing three big opportunities to boost their resume against the Kentucky Wildcats, Florida Gators and Ole Miss Rebels, the Tigers took down the Arkansas Razorbacks and Tennessee Volunteers in must win games.

Not only did those two wins move Missouri up a couple of notches, but they also knocked two of their biggest bubble competitors down a few pegs. The Tigers are now 6-6 in SEC play, 18-7 overall and on the good side of the bubble. Their RPI ranking of 38 and BPI ranking of 31 also suggest they’re in a good position to make the tournament.

Unfortunately for Mizzou, any loss from here on out will drastically change the good position they’re in. If the tournament started today they would likely make the cut, but it doesn’t, and they still have some work to do to stay in the hunt.

Will they take care of business is the only remaining question for Mizzou as they come down the final stretch of the season. They don’t need any outside help; they just need to win. A loss won’t necessarily knock them out, but there’s a slight possibility it could without a win or two in the SEC Tournament.

The next month is going to be fun to watch for Tiger fans with nothing but impactful games remaining. The Mizzou faithful should feel very confident in their team’s chances to make the tournament, and here are five reasons why.

Aaron Charles is a writer for rantsports.com. Follow him on twitter @aaroncharleskc or add him to your network on Google

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5. The Schedule

Missouri Tigers Basketball Schedule 2014
Dak Dillon USA TODAY Sports

The final six games on Missouri’s schedule are very winnable with the exception of a tough road game at Tennessee for the season finale. Outside of that, they have home games against Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Texas A&M with road games against Alabama and Georgia.

The Tigers are good enough to win out, but they’re going to have to bring their best game against the Volunteers and the Bulldogs, who have been an immensely improved team since SEC play began.

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4. They Have No Big Losses

Mizzou Losses
Kim Klement USA TODAY Sports

All of the Tigers’ losses to this point were close games that they had a chance to win. Only Florida beat them by more than six points, and Missouri was either leading or within one score for the bulk of that game before the Gators pulled away for a 10-point victory. It may not seem like much, but little things like that could be the difference between Mizzou and another bubble team.

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3. The SEC Should Have More Than Two Teams in the Tourney

SEC Basketball 2014
Justin Ford USA TODAY Sports

It would be very strange if only two of 14 SEC teams make the tournament, and Missouri is unquestionably the conference’s third best option for an at-large bid. LSU and Ole Miss still have the opportunity to surpass Missouri’s resume, but it would take a major upset or two. Both teams have games against Kentucky and Florida left on their schedules, and both teams beat Mizzou.

LSU faces Kentucky and Florida on the road which doesn’t bode well for their chances, and the slumping Rebels get them both at home. Regardless of what other teams do, if Missouri finishes strong they will still make the tournament.

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2. Motivation

Missouri Tigers At-Large Bid
Dak Dillon USA TODAY Sports

Missouri has everything to lose each time they take the court for their last six games. Of the Tigers' remaining opponents, only Tennessee will have an opportunity for that same motivation. No other team the Tigers will face has a realistic shot for an at-large bid.

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1. Jabari Brown, Jordan Clarkson and Earnest Ross

Mizzou Transfers
Jasen Vinlove USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to Frank Haith’s ability to grab some of the best transfers in college basketball, the Tigers have one of the best backcourts in the country. They not only produce a combined 53.4 points per game but also provide veteran leadership.

They are a tough group to match up with, and Brown has a legitimate case for SEC Player of the Year. Missouri has more than enough talent to finish the way they need to — they just don't have a very big margin for error from here on out.