We’re a short while from knowing the NCAA Tournament fate, so I wanted to slide in a couple of lasting thoughts from a Big 12 Championship Tournament that saw some fantastic basketball, an apparent wake-up call for Baylor and me getting lots of player-to-be-named-later type face time on ESPN (thanks, Bob Knight!).
A LOSER’S MENTALITY
In recent years, it has become increasingly passe for coaches (and then fans) to claim that their first tourney loss in March doesn’t matter. All I can say is: enough, coaches. Enough. For the better part of five months, we listen to you tell us that your approach to every game is the same, that every game is important, that the reason top-level kids come to your programs is because they want to play for championships. Then, magically, conference tournaments roll in, and, like clockwork, when a big upset or unexpected loss occurs the popular attitude is the college basketball equivalent of a 10-year-old’s getting punched and answering with a chin-jutted, tearful “nuh-uh, didn’t even hurt! I don’t even care!”
Teams that win their tournaments sure seem to take pride in hoisting that trophy; including those years where the same teams that like to claim it doesn’t matter when it loses. Players in championship games sure seem to love being in those environments. It’s such a loser’s mentality to dismiss the credibility of a championship because you didn’t win it. And, for those who believe losing out early makes a team stronger? Please, stop. Just stop. Losing sucks. Period. It means your team didn’t play well. It means you have deficiencies that were too great to overcome to get a win. It’s why coaches and players, those that win, say it feels a lot better to dissect what went wrong in a win as opposed to a loss.
What happens to all of the “we want to build momentum” rhetoric? Where does it go? Apparently, it gets flushed down the stool along with the crappy performance that just knocked you out of the game you lost.
MISSOURI DIDN’T DIE, IT JUST CHANGED ADDRESSES
Overall, Missouri didn’t die, so pardon me if I don’t take part in the eulogistic approach taken by many. Yes, it’s sad that MU won’t be a part of the conference I grew up watching. I felt the same way about Nebraska and Colorado, even if the Buffs didn’t ever really want to be a part of the Big 8 or Big 12. However, those programs moved on, and I got over it. I’ll do the same with the Tigers. That said, Missouri fans aren’t all moving out of Kansas City. Missouri pride will still be prevalent.As the Missouri Tigers put the finishing touches on its Big 12 Tournament Championship, black-and-gold fans finally let loose with the chant that, let’s be honest, they’ve wanted to let go for months. Sprint Center echoed with “S-E-C, S-E-C,” and you could feel how good it felt to fans to be able to finally get it out of their system. I thought fans handled it right; they waited until they knew they were going to win.
I”ll still cover the Tigers the same way even if other outlets ridiculously decide somehow that it’s not as important now that MU and KU won’t play each other. Personally, I’m excited for the SEC match-ups in both football and basketball. I understand why non-MU people will care less. I’m just not one of those people is all I’m saying. I dig the fact I’ll get to talk about SEC teams on a regular
basis. I think having that added element to the KC sports scene (again, because MU fans will still be here) is exciting.
Those of you who don’t, well, get back to your flaming the move, the school, and whatever else you’ve hated for the last year. We’ll be here when you get back.
I’M NOT SO GOOD AT MATH, SO HELP ME HERE…
So, let me get this right: Kansas is on a ton of No. 1 seed projections. Missouri is a clear-cut No. 2 seed; not even being mentioned. The thought was that Missouri could play their way up to a No. 1, possibly, by beating Kansas in the Big 12 Championship final. But, since Kansas didn’t make it to the final at all, it somehow strengthened KU’s case for a top seed while Missouri, which not only made the final, but then won the title, is stuck in neutral because the right opponent didn’t hold up its end of the bargain?
Sigh… in trying to figure this stuff out, I swear I get a little stupider every spring, or everybody else does. I’m not sure which one it is.