It's safe to say by now, I think, that Missouri has a full blown case of #SECBasketballFever.
It all started when, in their NCAA Tournament appearance after they announced their SEC move, the Tigers suffered the ignominy of losing as a 2-seed to a 15-seed in the first round. The team wasn't as good the following year, only securing a 8-seed and, again, losing in the Big Dance's first round. And now? Ugh.
Last night, Mizzou fell on the road to Vanderbilt 78-75. If you don't follow SEC hoops that closely, you might think that's not so bad. Didn't the Commodores win the SEC Tournament a couple of years back? You're right that they did, but that was with a senior-laden team. Last year, Vandy struggled to a 16-17 finish, and it's 9-6 so far this year. None of those six losses were to horrible teams, but they're still not exactly one of the conference's elite.
An isolated loss like this to KenPom's No. 102 team would be troubling enough, but it comes just a week after falling to Georgia, the No. 148 team. An actual top team from the league, Florida, blew the doors off of UGA to the tune of 72-50 on Tuesday, and UGA has also lost to a sub-.500 SoCon team in Davidson. The Bulldogs aren't very good at all, but they did knock off the Tigers.
If this is some kind of ploy by MU to distribute quality wins to the league's lesser teams to help them possibly sneak into March Madness, it's picking the wrong teams. If it gets any more generous, then these won't even be "quality" wins anymore.
It just goes to show that SEC basketball is still nowhere near what SEC football is. Things are looking better this year than last year, when the conference only got three teams into March Madness, but not by that much. The difference is largely due to Kentucky getting its act back together, teaming with UF to give the conference a couple of very good teams. Missouri was supposed to be a strong third option, but it looks like that's not happening. It's going to be the Big Two and a few bubble teams come Selection Sunday, and SEC basketball will continue to limp forward as a relative afterthought.