While mostly drivel, one point that is worth clarifying
Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 08:17:57 CT
MU denotes via a banner every postseason apperance, not simply NCAA tourney apperances. This is really driven by the 1972 and 1973 NIT apperances which started the practice. At that point in time, MU only had 1 postseason tourney apperance in program history (1944 NCAA tourney), and those were certainly notable seasons worthy of recognition.
Rather than retroactively cease recognizing those teams as college basketball postseason changed (devaluing of the NIT, expanding of the NCAA tournament, creation of additional tournaments) MU, in my opinion correctly, remained consistent with the practice of recognizing postseason berths.
1972-73 MU started the season unranked but moved to 5-0 with wins over Purdue and top 15 Ohio State, and suddenly found themselves ranked #12 in the nation. They then won three games to capture the Tennessee Volunteer Classic championship and at 8-0 took over the #7 ranking in the AP poll. Next up was the Big 8 Holiday tournament, which MU also won with an 82-72 win over KSU in the championship game. The Tigers were 12-0 and had their highest ranking ever up to that point in the AP Polls at #5. They were one of only 5 unbeaten teams in the nation. By the next week only two unbeaten teams would remain, unfortunately MU was not one of them as the Tigers lost their opening two games of the conference regular season to put themselves in a big hole despite their tremendous non-conference start. MU would rebound to win its next three, but then lose another two and with four conference losses seriously trailed leader KSU who was 8-1. MU would narrow the gap with an 80-66 win over KSU and at 18-4 still found themselves ranked #15 in the polls.
MU would next face off with OSU in a game in which John Brown would need 23 points to become MUís All Time leading scorer. He would pass the mark before halftime. A spinning jump shot near the elbow would be his 24th points of the first half and the game was brought to a halt as the MU senior was given an elongated standing ovation. He would finish the game with 41 points and 19 rebounds and MU would win 79-73. MU would split the final two games of the season and finish at 21-5 overall. They would also finish the season ranked 15th (or 14th among eligible teams because #2 NC State who was 27-0 was ineligible because of NCAA violations). In fact, from the time they were first ranked on Dec 12th till the end of the season the Tigers never fell out of the top 16 in the nation and were ranked in the top 10 for eight consecutive weeks.
But the Tigers would also finish the season 2nd in the Big 8, and there was no end of season conference tournament to attempt to secure an automatic bid. Thus possibly the greatest Tiger team up to that point was not considered for an NCAA tournament berth. Unranked schools such as Weber State, South Carolina, San Francisco, St. Johns, Miami Ohio, Jacksonville, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma City would all leapfrog over MU as conference winners to participate in the 25 team field. Big 8 representative KSU would enjoy a first round bye, then defeat UL-Lafayette to move into the Elite Eight.
That team in today's enviroment would be a top 3 or 4 seed in the NCAA tournament. Both participants in the championship game this year (Kentucky and ku) would not even have been invited since they didn't win their conference to earn the conference's automatic bid. There is nothing at all embarrassing about MU hanging a banner denoting the apperance of those teams in the NIT.