March 15, 2009

Back to Boise

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There was little suspense. The approximately 200 fans and media in the room at the Clinton Club knew for a fact the Missouri Tigers would be one of 65 teams to see their name pop up during the NCAA Selection Show. But when the Mizzou popped up as the three seed in the West Regional, the roar was no more subdued than if the Tigers had been the last team in the tournament.

"You know your in there cause you have to be," Zaire Taylor said. "But it's still a nerve-wracking kind of situation to see when and where. I don't want to say nervous, but anxious."

The when Friday. The where is Boise, Idaho. Awaiting Missouri in round one is Cornell, the 14 seed in the regional, owners of a 21-and-9 record and the Ivy League championship. Should Missouri get past that first game, the Tigers would get the winner of sixth-seeded Marquette and 11th-seeded Utah State. Game times will be announced later tonight.

The fans will certainly bemoan the trip to Boise. The team did no such thing. Mike Anderson said he has taken teams to Boise three times, the most recent when his UAB team beat LSU and then lost to Arizona in the 2005 tournament.

"There's not a whole lot to do but play basketball. I like that," Anderson said. "They do a great job of putting on the tournament and the people really embrace it."

"Never been to Boise, but I heard a lot about it," DeMarre Carroll said.

Like what?

"Like, really nothing to do. You're going to be really focused in Boise."

"I'm excited to get up there and play some games," Kim English said. "See the beautiful city of Boise. Eat a baked potato maybe."

Joking aside, it is soon time to turn to business. Missouri will practice in Columbia the next three days before leaving for Boise Wednesday. The tournament bid is the 22nd in school history, but the first in six seasons. Still, these Tigers are not happy to simply be a part of the Big Dance.

"I was just happy to see our name, period," English said.

"I've never watched the show," J.T. Tiller said. "This is a momentous occasion for me. This is the first time I've ever done this."

Tiller said he did not watch the Selection Show growing up because his favorite team, the Georgia Bulldogs, was rarely a part of the process. And the last couple of years?

"They were rough," Tiller said. "They were rough years."

But that's in the past. As of Sunday, the Tigers are dancing.

PowerMizzou.com will preview the Tigers' opening week in the tournament over the next few days.

No one covers the Tigers like PowerMizzou.com. To follow the Tigers on every step of their run through the NCAA tournament, sign up today to start your Free Seven-Day Trial.


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