Missouri’s failure shocking

March 18, 2012


— In the bowels of the CenturyLink Center, separated by barely 20 paces and a thin wall of cinder block, the agony and ecstasy of March Madness was unfolding in all its vivid, joyful and cruel excess.

Inside the walls of the Norfolk State Spartans locker room, Cinderella was inviting everyone into their little party. The No. 15 seed of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference had just turned the NCAA Tournament on its head with the biggest upset of the day so far — an inexplicable, indescribable, wildly entertaining and thoroughly heartbreaking 86-84 victory over No. 2 seed Mizzou in the West Regional second round. And now Norfolk State director of athletics Marty Miller stood in the narrow hallway leading into the locker room ushering the largest flow of national media they’d ever seen into the room.

“Yes, yes, please come on in,” said Miller, grinning like a Cheshire cat. “Come on in. We’re glad to have you. Bet you didn’t think you’d be coming in here, huh?”

And there was junior guard Quasim Pugh, standing in the middle of the room shouting at the top of his lungs. “This one sure messed up a lot of folks brackets,” Pugh said, cackling. “Ruined the president’s. Ruined everybody’s. Heck, it even ruined mine.”

Oh, yes, this is what makes March Madness so devine.

And now here is what makes it so painful: The stroll from the winners on Cloud Nine to the losers.

Inside the morgue-quiet Mizzou locker room, the only noise you heard above a whisper was when the media hordes had finally cleared away from Kim English’s locker stall, and the senior guard grimly walked into the adjoining bathroom, went into the toilet stall and slammed the door in exasperation.

The noise echoed into every corner of the Mizzou locker room, and it spoke as loudly as any of the words English or any of his teammates tried to offer up to describe what it felt like for this magical season to come to such a shocking and abrupt end.

How are we supposed to look back on this Missouri season now and put it in its proper historical context? Do we remember it as some sort of miracle we never saw coming? Do we remember it because no one could have imagined that Frank Haith could have come here and in his first season guide the Tigers to 30 victories in 35 games? Do we remember it for the way the Tigers went into Kansas City last weekend and played rude house guests in their final Big 12 tournament, chanting “S-E-C!” as they won the tourney title?

Or do we remember the Tigers for this shocking end, losing to a 15th seed that no one knew anything about?


cato_the_elder 6 years, 2 months ago

"Oh, yes, this is what makes March Madness so devine."

No copy editor? Or was this a Freudian slip reference to Dan Devine, who gave a one-fingered salute to Pepper Rodgers in 1969 after Pepper had flashed him the peace sign late in the game?

Steve Jacob 6 years, 2 months ago

I having been saying for two weeks in all those small tournaments, the one or two seeds have won, so it may have been the deepest field ever. That's why two 15 seeds won.

But it has to be rough for MU. Duke has a top team every year, so they can survive an early exit, but MU, who knows when they will get this opportunity again.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 2 months ago

Bye bye, Slavers. Have a long depressing spring and enjoy your new league.

Maddy Griffin 6 years, 2 months ago

Looks like they went into the "Big Dance" with a big head over winning the Big 12 tourney.A nice loss would have kept them humble and focused.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

Missouri's success this year was based in large part on hitting three-pointers. But when you live by the three, you die by the three. On Friday, the other team just happened to be a little hotter at hitting the threes than MIssouri, and in a single-elimination format, that's all it takes to go home early. Something KU has certainly experienced in the last couple of years.

Jayhawk1958 6 years, 2 months ago

Actually it wasn't so much of that but rather the fact Missouri can't rebound the basketball because they play small.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

If Missouri had outscored Norfolk from three, which is what it did in pretty much every game it won this season, the lack of rebounding would have been moot.

But in a game decided by a couple of points, you can point to at least a dozen plays that if they had gone differently would have won the game for Missouri.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

You can't pass up any opportunity to roll out your made-up words, can you?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

I'm OK with made-up words if there's a meaning that needs to be expressed behind them. You just puke up nonsensical words because you think other people find your vomit cute.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

You're still not cute (or possessing of penetrating intellect, either.)

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 2 months ago

I sure know an awful lot of conservatives who are also happy as clams that Missouri lost. I can introduce you to some if you'd like?

KEITHMILES05 6 years, 2 months ago

The reason they lost is because of their less than stellar rebounding and defense. This has been nothing new all year. As has been said they live/die by the 3 and this bit them in the end. You MUST have a complete game and this team did not. Enough said.

Also, their RUDE behavior in KC chanting "SEC" was just that. They can now look in the mirror to see what a mess they truly are and their lack of courtesy came home to roost.

No more Mizzery. They are gone.

Patricia Davis 6 years, 2 months ago

I agree with everything you said. While I'm an OU grad, I'm married to a Jayhawk. Both of us have had to eat large dishes of crow from time to time. Missouri had the opportunity to leave the Big 12 with grace and class. Time to write that essay, "Humility and How I Gained It."

ps hope we never have an AD who will schedule another game with Missouri!

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 2 months ago

The other Big 12 schools should pay the SEC To take Mizery off our hands. We're better off without them! I'd prefer UMKC or Missouri state university to keep the border war alive. Maybe we can start playing one of those teams in the preseason...

Shane Garrett 6 years, 2 months ago

Ah, lets just play Wichita State. Fear the Wheat Shock.

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