Tigers sweet sixteen bound

 

Missouri players celebrate in the final moments of their win over Marquette. (Photo by Kevin A. Roberts, Missourian)

Missouri players celebrate in the final moments of their win over Marquette. (Photo by Kevin A. Roberts, Missourian)

   The Columns would like to say hello from sunny San Diego.  As much as I love writing on this blog, I’m going to make this post quick so I can get back to enjoying spring break.

   We’ll start with first things first and the win over Cornell.  Overall, I thought it was a pretty average game.  Mizzou looked to know they were the better team, it was just a matter of time before they pulled away… Disappointing to give up 15 second chance points to a team out of the Ivy League, but a win is a win… From the opening tip it was apparent that “good Leo” was going to show up in this tournament.  He racked up 23 and 10 while DeMarre only scored 2 in the first half… Another great sign from the first round was the play of Kim English.  Off the bench to hit 3  of 4 from downtown?  Very encouraging to see him get his shot back.  But more on him later.  All in all, a solid first round win for Missouri.

 

Mizzou cruised to a first round win over Cornell.  Leo Lyons led the Tigers with 23 points and 10 rebounds. (Courtesy of AP)

Mizzou cruised to a first round win over Cornell. Leo Lyons led the Tigers with 23 points and 10 rebounds. (Courtesy of AP)

2nd round:

   I was awoken Sunday by about 4 texts telling me how Dominic James was cleared to play for Marquette.  Honestly though, I was not that worried.  It’s very difficult for a player to miss that much time and then come in and make an impact.  Look at Patty Mills for St. Mary’s.  After he returned from an injury he basically stunk it up in his teams biggest game of the year vs. Gonzaga.  Despite scoring no points, Mike Anderson was still singing James’ praises after the game saying James’ toughness and courage were tremendous.

 

How clutch is Kimmie? (Photo courtesy of Missourian)

How clutch is Kimmie? (Photo courtesy of Missourian)

Notes from the Marquette game:

   As Mizzou busted out of the gate to an early 16 point lead, I thought Missouri might win this one in Mizzou Arena non-conference fashion (i.e. by 25+).  However, teams as good as Marquette don’t just go away like that… Missouri played this game in opposite style than they usually do.  Typically it is the Tigers who find themselves down big at half (Marquette trailed by 11), only to make a frantic comeback in the final minutes (Marquette led by 3 with 1:59 to go).  But in the end, Missouri showed tremendous toughness to pull out the win.  Props again to Leo for his play at the end.  That reverse lay-up and-one was a huge play… Speaking of huge play…

Kim English is officially the The Columns favorite player.  Far and away my favorite Mizzou player.  In this tournament he is averaging 15 points a game and shooting 6 of 10 from three.  Not only can English hit from deep, but he isn’t afraid to take it to the hole.  In a year or two, look out because he is going to be a star.  Could this kid have any more confidence?  For him to come in and just calmly nail those free throws was unbelievable.

So despite putting fans through a stressful, heart wrenching ending against Marquette, Missouri moves on.  They avoided being upset and are now playing with nothing to lose.  I agree with Digger Phelps when he says Missouri will beat Memphis.  That is going to be a hell of a game.  But either way, Mizzou has met expectations (see earlier post).

one more note- is anyone else hoping Cole Aldrich goes pro?  As a fellow Minnesotan I wish him the best, but as a Mizzou supporter I want nothing more than for him to get out of the Big 12.  13 points 20 rebounds and 10 blocks yesterday!? Are you kidding me?  Please Cole, go to the NBA.

-MG

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