Missouri-Colorado: what it means

Missouri's 13-point loss to Colorado on Wednesday night puts the Tigers in dire need for a run to end the season. Tom breaks down the rest of the season and the personnel problems that could haunt the Tigers down the stretch run as they search for a way to get into the NCAA Tournament.

Missouri's flat-out flat performance against Colorado seemed like the Tigers of three years ago. That is, playing bad defense and relying on the 3-pointer to get back in it.

But the difference between that team and this one is that the 2003-04 version is in much worse shape than the 2000-2001 version ever was.

The road game against the Buffs was one of those must-win games that Missouri needed to get near the top of the Big 12. Instead, the Tigers dropped to a mediocre 3-3 and a sixth-place tie with Colorado.

If, and this is a big if, the Tigers hold serve at home, and only lose two of their next five road games (Kansas, Nebraska, Baylor, Kansas State, Texas Tech), they would finish at 17-12 and 11-5 in the conference. But what that means is Missouri would have to win home games against Colorado and Iowa State, which have already beaten Missouri this season, and not to mention the season finale against Kansas. With its RPI at 58 right now, it will have to drastically go up for the Tigers to have a chance at the NCAA Tournament.

But there were worse signs than records from the game in Boulder. If Linas Kleiza is out for any stretch of games, it would severely hamper the Tigers' frontcourt rotation. Any kind of foul trouble from Travon Bryant or Arthur Johnson would force Kevin Young to play extended minutes. Young has yet to prove he is anything more than a big man still learning the game.

Wednesday night's game was also a clear sign that Randy Pulley is not Missouri's remedy at the point. By not playing Pulley at all, Snyder has admitted the junior point guard isn't getting it done. So now the Tigers return to the combination of Jimmy McKinney and freshman Spencer Laurie. McKinney must improve and Laurie will have to mature quick for Missouri to go on any kind of run.

In short, some kind of miracle is going to have to happen, and happen soon. And well, this Missouri team hasn't been even getting good breaks, much less any kind of miracle, this season.

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