Bubble Watch: Missouri Basketball Keeps Slim NCAA Tournament Hopes Alive
After the final minute — which felt like it took 30 — finally came to an end, the Missouri Tigers came back to defeat the Texas A&M Aggies, winning by a score of 57-56. The win for Mizzou was absolutely crucial, as they could not afford to add another bad loss to their very “bubbalicious” resume.
Jabari Brown had 20 points for the Tigers and his fellow backcourt mate Jordan Clarkson also chipped in with 14. Alex Caruso scored 13 points to go along with four assists for the Aggies.
Frank Haith‘s squad came out really sluggish and wound up trailing by 10 at the half. They still weren’t sharp after the break, but somehow managed to fight and claw their way back and walk away with a victory. And at this point in the season, that’s all that matters.
A loss to the Aggies would have been disastrous and likely would have ended Mizzou’s NCAA tournament hopes. The Tigers’ RPI is 60 and their strength of schedule is a very underwhelming 92nd best in the country. Furthermore, the Tigers’ only quality win is over UCLA, and that was all the way back in December.
In my opinion, at this point, Mizzou is still a long-shot in terms of qualifying for the big dance. Their resume isn’t at all impressive and having just one marquee win isn’t ideal this late in the season either. Brown and Clarkson are two terrific guards and there’s no doubt in my mind Mizzou could be very dangerous if they are able to get in. With that said, I just don’t see that happening.
Next up for the Tigers is a huge SEC and bubble showdown at Tennessee, which will essentially serve as an elimination game for both. Haith and company will need to pick up that win and do a considerable amount of work in the SEC tournament to feel comfortable come Selection Sunday.
Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @OfficialSturg27