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THE WEEK IN MISSOURI SPORTS: Missouri shocked in first round of NCAA Tournament

Sunday, March 18, 2012 | 7:24 p.m. CDT; updated 8:43 p.m. CDT, Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Missouri men's basketball team fell victim to the madness of the NCAA Tournament, and the wrestling team didn't fare well in its own national tournament. On the bright side, the softball and baseball team each rode double-digit winning streaks into the weekend. 

Tigers' season ends abruptly in NCAA Tournament

Missouri, a No. 2 seed and popular Final Four pick, fell to No. 15 seed Norfolk State in the first round Friday in Omaha. The Tigers (30-5) couldn't handle the Spartans' big man Kyle O'Quinn, who scored 26 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Missouri senior Kim English scored just two points.

When the two teams returned from halftime tied at 38 and Norfolk State continued to hang around, the crowd sided with the underdogs. When Missouri guard Phil Pressey missed a last-second three-pointer, the Spartans celebrated while the Tigers left the court in disbelief.

Missouri became only the fifth No. 2 seed in NCAA Tournament history to lose to a No. 15 seed. Later on Thursday night, though, fellow 2-seed Duke lost to 15-seed Lehigh. 

The Columbia Daily Tribune's Joe Walljasper wrote that despite the Tigers' remarkable season, they will be remembered as a tournament flop. Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star described the post-game scene in the Missouri and Norfolk State locker rooms. Greg Doyel of CBSSports.com did not approve of Frank Haith's implication in his press conference that the loss was a fluke.

Earlier in the week, the Missourian made a year-in-review graphic of the basketball team's season.

Missouri wrestling team's season ends in disappointment, too

After winning the Big 12 Tournament and having 10 wrestlers — more than any team in the country — qualify for the NCAA Tournament, Missouri didn't have a single wrestler make it past the second day of the three-day tournament.

Now the team must figure out who it will compete against next year. The Southeastern Conference does not have any Division I wrestling teams, so the Tigers will either have to join another conference or compete as an independent.

Missouri baseball, softball teams win in bunches

With a shutout victory over High Point on Saturday, the Missouri baseball extended its winning streak to 10 games. During that streak, the Tigers also beat Ball State, Nebraska-Omaha, Charlotte and North Dakota. On Wednesday, Missouri trounced North Dakota 21-5.

On Sunday, the Tigers (12-6) finally faltered in a 13-7 loss to High Point.

The Missouri softball team (20-3) has shown no signs of letting up. It has won 15 straight games, including every game in March, and kept the streak alive by sweeping Kansas this weekend. The No. 12 Tigers outscored the Jayhawks 24-0 in the three-game series. On Friday, freshman pinch hitter Kelsi Jones hit a walk-off homerun, ending the game early in six innings because of the eight-run rule (Missouri won 10-0). 

The Tigers will face tougher teams in the weeks ahead against Big 12 opponents like Baylor and Oklahoma.

Big 12 Conference considering filing realignment-related lawsuit

David Briggs of the Columbia Tribune wrote that the Big 12 was ready to sue the Southeastern Conference after Missouri announced it would leave the former conference to join the latter. The Big 12 had a 12-page lawsuit prepared to be filed in Boone County Circuit Court accusing the SEC of "illegally enticing" Missouri to breach its contract with the Big 12.

Briggs wrote that the lawsuit was unfinished and was intended as private leverage against the SEC. It was supposed to remain confidential.


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