COLUMBIA, Mo. - Missouri basketball has been on the NCAA tournament bubble for several weeks. But the Tigers have several opportunities to get on the right side of the bubble with two more SEC games left in the regular season and the SEC tournament.
This week, Jerry Palm from CBS Sports predicts the Tigers will head to Dayton for the 12-seed play-in game against the Dayton Flyers. However, both ESPN and USA Today predict Missouri will not be dancing in March.
ESPN and CBS Sports rank Mizzou 49th and 50th in their respective RPI rankings. ESPN also says Missouri has two wins over RPI Top 50 squads (UCLA and Tennessee), with a 8-8 record against RPI Top 100 teams so far.
Frank Haith's squad can clinch an automatic NCAA tournament berth if they win the SEC tournament next week. However, the Tigers (20-9, 8-8 in SEC play) would likely have to upset Florida (unbeaten in conference play) and/or Kentucky (ranked 25th in the nation this week) in Atlanta.
Missouri is more likely to get in if the Tigers close out the regular season with two wins and a decent showing in the conference tournament. If Missouri beats Texas A&M on Wednesday and upsets Tennessee in Knoxville, they put themselves in a better position for the NCAA tournament. MU puts itself in a solid spot with at least one win in the SEC tournament.
When asked on Twitter if Missouri could afford a loss at Tennessee and anything short of a finals appearance in the SEC tournament, Palm responded, "wouldn't take that bet."
Mizzou is trying to make its sixth straight NCAA tournament, which would be a program first.