Jan 5, 2013, 6:30 PM EDT
Bucknell had a chance.
Phil Pressey missed the front-end of a 1-and-1, meaning that the Bison had the ball down 64-63 at No. 12 Missouri and a chance to take the final shot. But Mike Muscala stepped out of bounds with three seconds left, giving the ball back to the Tigers and, essentially, ending any realistic shot at the upset.
The loss will undoubtedly be a disappoint for a Bucknell team that undoubtedly needs to earn their league’s automatic bid — over CJ McCollum’s Lehigh team — to make the NCAA tournament now, but Muscala has no reason to be ashamed. He finished with 25 points, 14 boards, four assists and two blocks, grabbing a trio of key offensive rebounds in the final minutes. He did everything that he could to keep the Bison close, and likely earned himself some NBA money in the process.
If anything, Bucknell’s performance only confirmed the fact that you absolutely do not want to see this team in the first round of the NCAA tournament, especially on nights when Bryson Johnson and Cameron Ayers are hitting shots from the perimeter.
For Missouri, this was yet another concerning performance.
Phil Pressey and Laurence Bowers may just be the best 1-2 punch in the SEC. They are terrific, even if Pressey has a tendency to take some bad shots from time to time.
But the fact that Alex Oriakhi was so thoroughly outplayed and the struggles that Earnest Ross and Jabari Brown had from the perimeter — the Tigers are going to be in big, big trouble on the nights those two combine to go 2-19 from the floor — makes Missouri look quite vulnerable.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
Then again, in a year like this, who isn’t?
- While a major question remains unanswered, No. 4 North Carolina can be special in 2015-16 0
- Tournament darling R.J. Hunter is heading to the NBA 1
- Texas freshman Myles Turner declares for the NBA Draft 3
- The Final Four is set, and it’s going to be insane 20
- No. 7 Michigan State reaches the Final Four for the seventh time under Izzo 15
- Wisconsin vs. Kentucky: The Final Four rematch we deserved to see 9
- No. 2 Arizona, Sean Miller’s quest to reach Final Four once again falls short 8
- Andrew Harrison’s late free throws send No. 1 Kentucky to the Final Four (85)
- Kentucky’s John Calipari is the National Coach of the Year, and it’s not close (36)
- Kentucky responds to Daxter Miles Jr.’s pregame comments (30)
- Updated tournament records: Big Ten teams make up half of Final Four (27)
- The Final Four is set, and it’s going to be insane (22)