When Missouri and Marquette play today in the second round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, Rickey Paulding will be watching from a different perspective than most.
The former Missouri guard will tune in on the Internet in Germany, where he plays for the EWE-Baskets, based in northwestern Oldenburg. And besides being halfway across the world, he will have a hard time not thinking about the last time Missouri played in the tournament before this year.
No. 3 seed Missouri (29-6) vs. No. 6 seed Marquette (25-9)
WHEN: 3:50 p.m.
WHERE: Taco Bell Arena, Boise, Idaho
TV: KRCG/Channel 13
RADIO: KFRU/1400 AM, KBXR/102.3 FM
On March 22, 2003 – exactly six years ago – Paulding and sixth-seed Missouri met Dwyane Wade and third-seed Marquette in the tournament's second round. Wade eventually led the Golden Eagles to the Final Four, but their surprising run nearly ended because of Paulding’s performance in Indianapolis' RCA Dome.
Paulding, a 6-foot-5-inch guard, scored 36 points and made nine 3-pointers, the most by a Missouri player in the tournament. He led the Tigers back from a 10-point halftime deficit and had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation.
Paulding rebounded a Wade miss with six seconds left, ran down the court and got off a 15-footer before time expired. The shot missed, and the game remained tied at 80.
In overtime, Marquette was perfect. The Golden Eagles did not miss a shot, with freshman Steve Novak hitting three 3-pointers. Missouri trailed 90-89 with 2:03 remaining but didn’t score again until Paulding hit a three with under 20 seconds to go and the game already decided. Milwaukee’s MU beat the Tigers 101-92, knocking them out of the tournament.
“It was pretty much out of our control,” Paulding said in a phone interview after his team won Saturday night. “When teams play like that, there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Although Missouri lost, Paulding put on a show.
“I think the game before that, I didn’t shoot that well because of the dome that I had to get used to playing in,” he said. “That morning, shootaround felt good. I had a good feeling shooting the ball. It was just one of those nights when you’re kind of in the zone."
Paulding might have felt like Michael Jordan did during the first game of the 1992 NBA Finals. Jordan, who didn’t attempt many 3-pointers, memorably shrugged his shoulders after hitting his sixth 3 of the game.
“I was surprised because I don’t consider myself a shooter, a guy that can make nine 3’s,” Paulding said. “But once you get that feeling, you just want to shoot the ball every time.”
Wade scored 24 in the game but was outdone by teammate Travis Diener, who scored 26. But after Marquette’s win against Missouri, Wade dominated.
“After that game, he pretty much took over the tournament,” Paulding said. “It was pretty special to play against him.”
Paulding said he was happy that Missouri competed with Wade and Marquette.
“It was good for us just to make it a game, and obviously they were the better team,” he said.
This year, the tables are turned. Missouri is seeded third, while Marquette is seeded sixth. And Paulding hopes the result is different too.
“It would be great (if Missouri won),” he said. “It would be kind of revenge for me. But I think the most important thing, it would be good for the Tigers and what Mike Anderson has done for Mizzou basketball. I’m excited to watch the game."