Man, what happened to Missouri? Flashback to the spring of 2012 where the Tigers rode into the NCAA tournament with a Big 12 tournament championship, a 2-seed, and a top 5 ranking. The common thought was that Missouri was set to join the SEC and provide an instant boost to a football conference’s roundball prowess. However, instead of challenging Kentucky and Florida for SEC titles the Tigers have been on a steep decline into the cellar of the SEC. And with a postseason ban for this season along with recruiting restrictions for the next few years there are no signs they’ll be competitive anytime soon.
Currently, the Tigers are the worst team in the SEC. There’s not really not much debate to that sentence. Just check out what Bill Connely of RockMNation, SBNation’s Missouri affiliate, wrote about the Tigers following Saturday’s loss to A&M:
Watching Missouri basketball right now is like being in a horror movie — you know your character’s ugly death is going to come, but you don’t know when. Sometimes you’re the “Hey, I’m going to go to the car to grab some chips” guy, and it happens right off the bat with a 10-0 deficit three minutes in. Sometimes, as was the case against both Georgia and Texas A&M this week, you’re the boyfriend who consoles the main character before meeting a particularly grisly death two-thirds into the movie (Missouri plays competitive ball into the second half before succumbing). One thing’s for certain, though: unless the opponent is Auburn, Missouri will indeed succumb to the antagonist.
So will the Tigers ever be the team we thought they would be upon joining the SEC? Probably not while Cal is in Lexington and that’s a shame. Basketball in the Southeastern Conference appears poised for a Renaissance thanks to the SEC Network. Texas A&M is a top 5 team. Mississippi State, LSU, Alabama, and Auburn are recruiting at a very high level. Tennessee has a new head coach with Final Four experience.
Most of the teams appear to be on the rise while Missouri is stalled out with no end in sight. It’s a disappointing start to the Tiger’s SEC tenure.