The Missouri basketball team has to stop opening up league play at the bottom of the standings.
Since joining the SEC, Missouri basketball has yet to start the conference out with a 2-0 record.
After Saturday’s opening loss at Kentucky, Missouri will have to wait another year to break that streak. And now, the Tigers are streaking in the wrong direction.
For the second straight season, and for the third time in four years, Mizzou is 0-2 to begin the year after the Tigers dropped their conference home opener to Tennessee 69-59 on Tuesday. The loss comes against a Volunteers team that also was looking to avoid an 0-2 start to the year.
The Tigers’ slow start to conference play has hindered them for the better part of eight seasons. Only twice since joining the SEC have the Tigers been able to pull out enough conference wins to get to the NCAA Tournament. Both of those years came after 1-1 starts, and so did the year Mizzou went to the NIT. The Tigers continues to dig themselves into a hole with early conference struggles, and the 2020 conference season is no different.
Before the year started, we knew it would be a rough start with hopes of coming away with wins. Mizzou had Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi State and Alabama to start conference play. All five teams were picked to place in the top half of the league — Kentucky and Florida were the top two in the preseason poll. Two games in, the Tigers are winless.
Only twice since joining the SEC did the Tigers get out of the first five games with a winning record — 3-2 marks in 2013 and 2018, the two seasons they made the NCAA Tournament. The year they went to the NIT, in 2014, Mizzou started league play 2-3.
All other years, Missouri was either 1-4 or 0-5 (coach Kim Anderson’s final year). And all of those years, Missouri finished below .500. in the SEC.