The No. 8 Missouri Tigers are playing every game with a must-win mentality with 2014 NCAA Tournament hopes on the line, and that showed as they defeated the No. 9 Texas A&M Aggies in two overtimes in the second round of the 2014 SEC Tournament.
The Tigers were lucky to win against the Aggies, as Jordan Clarkson’s off night was hindered by Jamal Jones’s 20 points and Alex Caruso went off for the game of his career with 28 points. The strange thing is that Missouri offset Texas A&M’s ridiculous scoring, not with more scoring of their own like usual, but by out-rebounding the Aggies by 20 en route to a 91 – 83 victory in the second overtime.
Now, the offensively talented Tigers will take on the not only the best team in the SEC, but in the country, the No. 1 Florida Gators, in the quarterfinals of the 2014 SEC Tournament at 1:00pm EST on ESPNU.
The SEC is a good college basketball conference, but Florida is just on another level. After that near loss to North Florida early in the season, the Gators just started rolling out victory after victory. The only team that I think can actually compete with Florida in the SEC is the Tennessee Volunteers because of Jeronne Maymon and Jarnell Stokes, and they will likely face them in the semi-finals if they can get past Missouri. Florida is a legitimate National Title contender and the Tigers will be disappointed to not have a more easily upset team facing them in the quarterfinals.
The Gators roll over the Tigers, even though Mizzou gave them a run for their money in Gainesville earlier in the season.
Missouri deserves to go to the 2014 NCAA Tournament, but the SEC is seen as weak by most and will probably be as well by the Selection Committee. The final prediction should be around 75 – 60, with Casey Prather on fire for the Gators and Clarkson having an off night for the Tigers. However, Missouri should still be the favorite to win the NIT.