Press Box: Can’t have nice things

Uninspired Tigers just playing out the string

No one can tell a tale of woe like a Missouri Tiger sports fan. And the current one is a doozy.

As punishment for an exciting and unexpectedly successful football season, I present to you the basketball Tigers!

If the Tigers overachieved on the gridiron, the basketball team has gone soft on the hardwood.

There is one thing the two programs have in common. Missouri’s run toward a national championship in football came to an end at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The basketball Tigers’ run toward getting this season over with will conclude in the same place.

The Tigers entered Saturday with a hope of getting a top-four seed and the automatic spot in the quarterfinals in this week’s Southeastern Conference Tournament in Atlanta. And Alabama was there to help the cause by beating Arkansas earlier in the day.

Plus, the Missouri-Tennessee matchup was viewed by many as an NCAA Tournament play-in game.

Thus inspired by something tangible to play for …

Final — Tennessee 72, Missouri 45.

Look out below!

After the debacle in Knoxville, Missouri fell into the No. 8 seed and a Thursday afternoon matchup against Texas A&M.

There is absolutely no reason to think Missouri, who struggled to a one-point win against the Aggies last Wednesday at Mizzou Arena, can beat Texas A&M in what should be a decidedly “Does anyone really care?” atmosphere among the hundreds of people sure to be in attendance in the Georgia Dome.

And if the Tigers should win, they would be rewarded with a quarterfinal game against No. 1 Florida. That would not end well.

Hello, NIT.

So what happened?

Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown all but checked out for professional careers once the conference season started. The junior guards are currently projected to be NBA second-round draft picks and maybe will get a shot at playing in the league. But they should probably pick up the Greek and Turkish versions of the Rosetta Stone series, just to be on the safe side.

And the inside game has been inconsistent, even non-existent.

So what about Frank Haith? His future in Columbia has been called into doubt by a growing number of Missouri fans.

Is he the second coming of Norm Stewart? It sure doesn’t look like it.

But is he second coming of Quin Snyder? Not even close. And if you think Haith is, you likely don’t remember how those wild and wacky and downright odd those days were.

When they hired Haith, great coaches weren’t exactly beating down Mike Alden’s door for the position. And they won’t now, either.

Haith deserves a chance to have a class of his recruited players work its way through the program. And that will be another couple of years. If they’re not good, then we’ll talk.

A great football season followed by a decidedly down basketball campaign. This is why Missouri fans know they can’t have nice things, they know they’ll pay for it later.


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