The Missouri Tigers, in recent years, have become a team that is gaining a reputation for getting “snubbed” from important games and distinctions.
Between the 2007 Sugar Bowl snub, the 2011 Independence Bowl bid, and now the fact that the Tigers have become the first 30-win team from a major conference to not be a number 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, Tiger fans have had much to gripe about in recent years.
But were the Tigers really snubbed, or did they deserve the 2 seed they received?
Looking at the numbers, the question becomes even more muddled. That 30-win total is an important one, and should definitely point to Missouri being given a 1 seed. Of all major conference teams, the Tigers had the third best record.
Where MU’s case begins to fall apart a bit is in their weak out of conference schedule. Missouri’s signature non-conference wins were against Notre Dame, California and Illinois (Cal barely made the NCAA tournament and Illinois choked at the end of the year, losing 12 of their last 14). Alas, in today’s world, it’s not how you play, it’s who you play, and the Tigers’ schedule didn’t match up with the other number one seeds, with a schedule strength of 69, as opposed to 25, 22, 5, and 1 (Kentucky, Syracuse, North Carolina, and Michigan State, respectively).
The Tigers did not deserve a number one seed, despite a high win total.
However, what should anger Missouri fans (and it has, to an extent) is the fact that the Tigers were named as the LOWEST number 2 seed in the tournament. The Tigers should have been on the fringe of a 1 seed, not in danger of dropping to a 3 seed. But for the whole season, analysts have been criticizing the Tigers, and the team has responded better than anyone had expected. This may be just another chip on Missouri’s shoulder, and could propel them to a deep tournament run.