Missouri falls to DePaul in NIT

In a game that was a microcosm of the entire 2004-2005 season, Missouri fell to DePaul in the first round of the NIT Tournament, 75-70.

There were few surprises at Mizzou Arena Tuesday night for the opening round of the NIT.

First, there were just over 6,000 fans in attendance. Given the incredibly low price of tickets, I doubt the NIT will be rushing back to Columbia anytime soon if the Tigers ever qualify for the tournament again.

Second, Missouri shot 26% from the arc, which was five percent lower than their season average.

Third, The Tigers don't know how to stop a hot outside shooter. Deiner exploded for 30 points, with the back breaker on a tip in as he slid around Jimmy McKinney's limp block out. All DePaul had to do is set a high pick and Deiner had an open shot. The Tigers don't know how to switch off of picks, and they couldn't fight through the moving screens DePaul set all night.

Fourth, mind numbingly bad decision making by Missouri. This aspect was emphasized by Jason Horton's ridiculous pass from the hip to a streaking Jason Conley, and he threw it behind and over him by at least six feet. A team that struggles to do the fundamental things well, can't afford gratitous showboating.

Fifth, when Kleiza's on the floor, Missouri has a chance to score. When he's not, they don't. It's really as simple as that.

Sixth, Missouri's offense still doesn't know how to defeat a zone after seeing it in virtually every game all year long.

Perhaps the most poignant moment of the night was when ESPN came out of commercial break and showed Jon Sundvold and his son sitting all by themselves in the upper deck eating popcorn. We don't blame Jon for wanting to distance himself from the brand of basketball Missouri played on its home floor last night, but how did he explain it to his son?

This game marked the end of the careers of Jason Conley and Brian Daley at Missouri. Thank you gentlemen for your commitment and contributions to the University.

Now, on to Spring Football...!


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