A lot on the line for Tigers

With ceremonies for Senior Night and the Hearnes Center on Sunday, don't forget about how much this game means to the Tigers. The team certainly hasn't. Coach Snyder and the players talked about how much this game means for their tournament hopes and for conference position.

It might be the most eventful and historically important game in Missouri basketball history.

Not only is the team playing its last regular season game ever at the Hearnes Center, but the Missouri fans will also say goodbye to four seniors in their last regular season game.

There's plenty there for the fans, but the Tigers are trying to focus on none of that, with no option but to win Sunday's game against Kansas.

"All of those things, although they are noteworthy and special, our primary focus as players and staff has to be on actually playing the game," coach Quin Snyder said. "I think that is very important to us …. The best thing that we can do is get a win."

Wednesday's loss to Texas Tech kept the Tigers at 9-6 in the conference. Colorado won Saturday and so did the Red Raiders, who were a game behind Missouri. So if Missouri loses Sunday, it will drop to sixth in the conference and have to play a first-round game against Texas A&M rather than having a bye.

In ESPN.com's Daily RPI report, Missouri lands in at 39, just enough to get the Tigers in as a 10 seed in the latest bracket projection. If the Tigers lost at Kansas, it could mean they would have to do a lot of work in the Big 12 Tournament to ensure they won't be returning to the Hearnes in that other tournament: the NIT. At 15-11 and with a loss to Belmont on its resume, Missouri needs all the wins it can get.

Snyder said stopping Kansas' transition game has to be the key, so the Tigers will have to be more disciplined on offense and much more disciplined on defense than they were against the Red Raiders. With all the emotion of sending seniors Travon Bryant, Arthur Johnson, Josh Kroenke and Rickey Paulding off before the game, the Tigers are going to have to keep their composure once the game starts.

"It's going to be emotional night, but we've got bigger things at stake than that," Bryant said. "We're trying to get an NCAA bid, and we know this game means a lot for that. Also, we can finish fourth in the Big 12 so that's our only focus right now to just go out there and focus on that."

There might not be a more fitting end for these four: going up against their biggest rival in the Hearnes' last game while fighting for a tournament spot. Johnson said he's trying to put all that past him.

"I try not to think about it really," Johnson said. "I just try to think about the Big 12 tournament and just adding games to it."

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