The Missouri Tigers finally were predicted to go to the 2014 NCAA Tournament after defeating the Tennessee Volunteers at home. All they had to do for the rest of the season was win at least four of their last five and try not to lose to any SEC teams with low RPIs. Queue the late season collapse as the Missouri tigers fell to the Alabama Crimson Tide, 80 – 73.
The Tigers are one of the best offensive teams in the country and that showed, as their defense let Alabama guard Levi Randolph score 33 points. Missouri did what they were supposed to on defense and held Trevor Releford, but when Randolph started scoring they backed off and allowed Releford to finish with 18 points. In short, the Tigers were just outhustled by the Crimson Tide.
Missouri has absolutely no excuse for losing this game. They out-rebounded Alabama and their three top scorers, Earnest Ross, Jabari Brown and Jordan Clarkson, combined for 62 points. The rest of the team only scored 11 points; yes, I said 11. The Crimson Tide aren’t a bad team — losing to them isn’t the end of the world. The performance could be, however. Missouri wouldn’t be able to get out of the first round of the NIT if they performed like they did against Alabama.
Frank Haith probably doesn’t know it yet, but he’s getting perilously close to the hot seat. He’s won zero NCAA Tournament games since taking over for Missouri, including that legendary loss to a No. 15 seeded Norfolk State a few years ago. The Tigers have a lot of work to do if they want to go to this year’s tournament, and because of this loss, the final game of the regular season against Tennessee in Knoxville has just become an elimination game.