Tigers will forever etch their names into Mizu lore

Sacramento, California– Of course, the Missouri team won this match. why not? The opponent, for the record books, was Utah State. The score to be recorded on the Wikipedia page for the 2023 NCAA Tournament is 76-65. But the remarkable part about Missouri winning its first NCAA championship in 13 years is that there was nothing remarkable about it at all. Because Missouri has won that game over and over again this season.

With 10:46 to go, the Tigers trailed the tenth-ranked Aggies 49-47. Mizu’s biggest lead was six and its biggest deficit was two. The Tigers couldn’t tear themselves away from Utah, but they never trailed more than a possession.

While Missouri fans were biting their nails and driving into their living rooms and again doubting this team and talking about putting on their protective gear and getting Mizzou’d again, the Tigers did what they did all year. They went out and won the match.

Kobe Brown He went on a personal run of 12-4. De Moy Hodge Record the next eight. Sean East Made a bucket. Nick Honor Dig three. Everyone got a steal, bounce, or foul. Missouri edged the Aggies 29-12 over the next 9:36 and spent the last 70 seconds celebrating their first NCAA Tournament win since Dennis Gates He was a 30-year-old Nevada assistant and Brown was a ten-year-old w Aidan Shaw He was preparing to start kindergarten the following fall.

“It is the freedom and trust and faith that we have in one another,” DeAndre Goulston He said. “It’s not always your night. That’s what we preach about the team. Kobe and D’Moi had a great time outing tonight. We needed it. They’re great players. But this team, we all come from where we need to score so we have the ability to do that.” every time “.

One way or another, they all contributed. Gathered together from across the country (and abroad), this team full of afterthoughts won another not-so-safe game in the final minutes.

“We don’t code when things go wrong,” Brown said, after a career-defining performance.

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From start to bench, Mizzou wins as a team again
From start to bench, Mizzou wins as a team again (USA Today)

They all contributed. everyone. At some point during the Missouri Explosion, Tree Jomillion He rose from the bench. He was still fully warming up. He didn’t take them off. In and out of the squad for the last weeks due to a groin injury, Jomillion did everything he could to play. He couldn’t.

“I had to have a real conversation with him in the locker room,” Dennis Gates He said. “I said, if you’re not playing, I need your participation, like my crew members do.

“He’s your Jomillion boss.”

Jomillion walked about 15 feet to Gates. He bent down to talk to his coach.

“I think it may have been a call or a play he didn’t agree with,” Jomillion said after the game. “I was just calming him down to keep that faith in the guys for real. That was about it.”

If he can’t play, he’ll do what he can.

“It’s tough,” he said in the locker room. “But these are the cards I’ve been dealt so I just had to deal with it and give my best.”

They all did. Because that’s what they’ve been doing all year.

We don’t know what the future holds for Missouri basketball. The present has surpassed everyone’s dreams and expectations. At least the ones outside the locker room. And that would have been true even if the last ten minutes had not been spent on the Missouri Road. Nobody was going to shy away from the 24-10 regular season that put Mizzou back in the national conversation, the national rankings, and the national championship. no one. It would have been great, especially after the 12-21 season and coaching change.

But no one told this team that enough was enough. On a Thursday morning — or early afternoon by the time it was over — this group of Tigers cemented themselves in their fans’ memories forever. Is it the best team Missouri has ever known? Almost certainly not. Will it make the deepest run the Tigers have ever made? Although I do not advise anyone to bet against her, more than that they will win. But on Saturday, this team made sure no one who followed this program from national prominence to the depths of the last few years and now back on the rise is not forgotten.

This team captured the hearts of an entire fanbase. And sure enough, it’s their 25 wins and a second-round appearance (incidentally, they’d be favored over 15-ranked Princeton who upset Arizona two hours later in the same stadium). of course it is. But how did they get here. They did it with a coach who wasn’t sold to many and a group of players most of them had never even heard of. They’ve beaten a bunch of really good teams and never faltered against any of the rest. They brought pride, hope, and fun back to a program that hadn’t seen much of it in the last 10 years and hadn’t endured the little that had.

this team? This is a place engraved in your hearts and your memories.

Xu and the tigers were smiling as they walked on the ground
Shaw and the tigers were all smiles as they walked the grounds (USA Today)

It’s emotional for me. “I actually cried,” Gates said. “My college coach, some of my teammates were here. My family is here. For me, it was emotional.”

“It’s unbelievable,” said Goulston. “It’s something I can’t put into words. This is a historical program, just to bring something to it, I can’t even dream about it.”

None of these players had little connection to Missouri prior to this past March. Gates got the job and brought in most of them. Kobe Brown He’s been here for three years. Ronnie DeGray And Caleb Brown one each. On the contrary? The closest thing to a real son on this team is Aidan Shaw, whose parents went to Mizzou. Shaw signed with Cuonzo MartinHe stayed on board with the Jets and played a key ten minutes in Thursday’s win.

“I was always around,” Shaw said. “Finally being a part of it, the fans and all the support we get, it’s great. I feel like part of a big family including my teammates. I love it.”

That back-to-back championship? The 13 year old? 4746 days? That’s it. Died and buried.

“The days are zero now,” Xu said.

actually. It’s another day in a season that will forever be written in Missouri history. But it is not the last day.

“We always say 24 hours,” Caleb Brown he said when asked how long the team will celebrate. “But I don’t think we have that 24-hour shift this time around.”

The next item on the list for the team that keeps unchecking?

Goulston: “Get another one.”

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