I have to tell you, my interest in following men's basketball has waned over the past few years. Like I said below, I just couldn't get into following Missouri. Now SIU, that was a team I could get behind. They constantly surprised people. The players weren't a bunch of stars. No one left to join the NBA after playing a year. They were a mid-major team, and they were fun to watch.
Then I come to Missouri, a place with a whole lot more money, and a coach who nervously met with the public to defend himself against their disappointment. But things never got better, and when they lost against, as one radio announcer put it, "Big 12 bottom feeders Baylor," well, that was it. He was out of here.
So when Missouri hired Mike Anderson, I was kind of hopeful. He came out of a mid-major program, UAB, one that had surprised people. I liked that. But still, I was so jaded from the Quin years, I just didn't pay that much attention.
But, wow. Did you see the game last night? Yeah, it got kind of messy for awhile toward the end, but their energy level was something to see. And there was that shot that they're talking about, that was featured on the front of my Yahoo page this morning, that had the most amazing and beautiful arc. (Reminds me of a shot I saw at the SIU Arena back in the day.)
And so it seems, while I wasn't paying attention, that Mizzou has transformed itself into exactly the kind of team I like. A team's team. Not a team that forms itself around a star or two. A team that believes in itself, that works together. That surprises people. Back in January, a Sports Illustrated writer called them the "Sleeper Team."
Last night's game was pretty spectacular. And I'll be watching on Saturday. Even though I was thinking they can't possible win, that's not what the critics are saying. It should be a good game, no matter the outcome.