|The most unlikely great team in college hoops keeps winning. Missouri is 18-1. (US PRESSWIRE)|
By Jeff Goodman
No one had Missouri winning in Waco.
It appeared to be the ultimate mismatch. Mizzou's lack of size and depth on the road against the endless length and big bodies that reside in Scott Drew's program.
Missouri's non-conference body of work had been questioned. Then the diminutive and short-handed Tigers went on the road and got smacked in Manhattan by Kansas State a couple weeks ago.
There were those -- myself included -- who needed to see more from Frank Haith's club.
This is a team that has one legitimate post player in Ricardo Ratliffe. Haith had no option but to utilize Kim English -- a perimeter player -- on the inside as the power forward.
The rebounding margin could be embarrassing against the Big Bad Baylor Bears.
It was. For Drew & Co.
Missouri actually won the battle on the glass on Saturday afternoon -- and held off Baylor in Waco on Saturday, giving the Tigers the inside track -- along Kansas -- for the Big 12 title.
Haith's Tigers are now 18-1 with the lone loss coming at K-State. This team just dispatched of the third-ranked team in the nation on its home court, arguably the most impressive victory for any team this season.
Missouri will host Kansas on Feb. 4 and then face the Jayhawks in Lawrence on Feb. 25.
Those two games could determine the Big 12 crown and also whether Missouri can earn a No. 1 seed come March.
Ratliffe was a man in the paint and pint-sized and jet-quick point guard Phil Pressey controlled the tempo, make life easier for his teammates and created havoc for Baylor's ball-handlers. On the "flip" side, Perry Jones III was a no-show for virtually the entire game while freshman Quincy Miller kept Baylor in the game.
The final score, 89-88, wasn't indicative of how Missouri controlled this game. It was Mizzou dominance. On the perimeter, in the paint. Just about everywhere.
It's about time we started taking this team seriously. Yes, as a Final Four contender.