Missouri a 12th seed in the West Region

Who knew what to expect this year from the NCAA Tournament Committee? In one of the whackiest seasons in recent memory, the committee apparently threw their share of darts, and came up with 32 first round matchups. The Tigers drew the fifth-seeded Miami Hurricanes from the Big East Conference. Is this a favorable draw for Missouri? Listen to what Quin and the players have to say...

Quin Snyder on getting in the Tournament and the team:

"We were really sweating chance with the selection show. I told my wife coming here today that you never know. All week we've heard that we're in, but you never know until it happens. In a year that maybe we've felt better about our chances, it looks as if we were one of the last teams picked and that doesn't bother me one bit.

Everybody's the same right now, and I think we've got a team that's peaking at the right time. In spite of a tough loss in the Big 12 tournament, I feel like who we are now is real as opposed to what we were selected in the pre-season. There are a number of teams that were right up there with us in the top ten and aren't playing in this tournament. I think that could have easily have been where this group had ended up had we not shown a lot of character and resolve throughout the year.

So for us to have this opportunity...I'm excited.

"Clarence (Gilbert) is going to be one of nine players at the University of Missouri, ever, to play in four straight NCAA Tournaments which I think says a lot about where this program is headed."

"We know that Miami's a really good team, and we've got our work cut out for us, but I'm thrilled that our season gets to continue."

On Miami's team and coach:

"He's (Miami head coach Perry Clark) an old ACC guy at Georgia Tech, and I know coach well. He's an excellent coach. He's kept that program really heading up with the job coach Hamilton did, and they haven't missed a beat. They had a terrific year in the Big East.

Darius Rice is really one of the best players in the country and Salmons is too. They've got two guys there that are big time players, and Tyler is as well. They're a very, very formidable opponent for us. We've got our work cut out for us, but I think we'll be ready to go and excited to play."

On Pre-Season Predictions:

"We lost our focus from all that stuff at the beginning of the year. I think, not in a malicious way, it didn't allow us to have happen what needed to happen. We needed to come together and become a good team, we were not already there.

When we began to understand that and really accept that in mid-January, this team started to grow. Since that time there's been moments when sure we've been inconsistent, that comes with growth. We weren't a finished product yet, and I still don't think we are, but every game we play we get a little closer to that. Every challenge that we meet, we grow from it. I see that opportunity still presenting itself with this team this season to do something special."

On the atmosphere of the Missouri team while awaiting the announcement:

"The guys, I don't think based on just what we listened to what's out there, I don't think there was as much nervousness about us getting in. You could feel it begin to kind of escalate. I know it did with me as it went form bracket to bracket to bracket.

So I think that we were excited to have the opportunity. I don't know if there was a little bit of relief or not, I think there probably was a little bit of that. You just don't know.

There's other teams that always can make a case to have a spot, so you never know until you see your name pop up.

On Missouri's draw and number one seeds given:

"We're the twelve seed, so we're not suppose to be beating anybody, but somehow we always get turned into the favorite.

"I'm not on the selection committee, and I'm sure there's a bunch of math that backs that up. Cincinnati's a great team. I doubt that Oklahoma is disappointed, it's kind of either-or I guess in my opinion looking at that."

"I was happy that our conference did so well. Getting six teams in again and having so many high seeds I think shows what we had to do this year to get in the tournament playing against all those teams."

On NCAA appearance and the NIT:

"Some times it seems easy on the outside to get to the NCAA, and I don't think it's anything to ever take for granted."

"I don't know how many times Missouri's been in four straight. For me to think in my first job, we'd go to the NCAA tournament three consecutive years in the first three years I've been a coach. I've never had an opportunity to play in the NIT as a player or a coach. I been fortunate in that respect to be a part of great teams and to coach great kids, and I feel grateful today, more than anything, to have that chance again."

On scheduling and RPI:

"I think that's (changing the schedule) something we've already looked at, in really trying to position ourselves. We really paid attention to the tops teams. I think we're playing an unbelievable schedule with a lot of real tough, high-end opponents from power conferences, and we'll continue to do that. Some of that is random...some of that is in our control and some of it isn't.

I think the thing that hurt us too was that we just had a couple of losses too. We lost to DePaul coming off of Christmas. I'm going to look at that. I'm not going to play I Chicago right after Christmas, play a road game after Christmas, a lot of things like that.

Two years ago we played two games during exams, and I thought that was a set up. We came away with a win at Indiana, which we were fortunate to have, so there's no question we need to really look at what we're doing scheduling wise and evaluate where we're going."

Quotes from Missouri sophomore forward Travon Bryant:

On announcement and tournament:

"I think we were getting frustrated a little bit. We could see guys leaving the back, eyes wondering are we getting in, but once our name flashed up we were happy. Now we know what we have to do. They picked us as a twelve seed, so be it. Just from past experience this, coming in a high ranked team in the beginning of the year, we know that it doesn't matter right now. It matters how you played throughout the year and how you've progressed throughout the rest of the tournament."

"We know that this bracket play all to our favor a little bit because we know we're a real dangerous team, but Miami is a real good team too. They're real long and real athletic and like to get up and down the court so that's going to be another challenge for us."

"I was always positive that we were gong to get in, it just took forever to come up. I mean last year we were one of the first four teams announced, and it got over pretty quick. This time we were just real anxious and antsy about it. Guys were just sitting there, walking out of the room calling people on cell phones talking about I don't think we're in, I don't think we're in; but once we found out our name up there, we were pretty happy.

On the Pit:

"It's a real exciting atmosphere. I was just there for a game earlier when I was younger. It's a real dark place. It kind of resembles Allen Fieldhouse with how the fans are on top of you and just being a real dark place."

Quotes from Missouri sophomore guard Rickey Paulding

On the balance of Miami and Missouri:

"I just see that as the season's gone on, our bench is going to produce. We've got Wesley with a couple of injuries coming off the bench, and he played great in the Texas game for us and in the Big 12 tournament. A lot of guys come off the bench and do small things like give guys blows and making key plays for us. I figure if we can do that, we'll be ok.

On approaching the tournament:

"Right now we're just looking at Miami. We got in the tournament and we're excited, and now we've got to put on our hard hats and be ready to play."


Black & Gold Illustrated Top Stories