COLUMBIA — Just a few days ago, the Missouri baseball team was dealing with the harsh reality that unless they pulled off something special in Oklahoma City, its season would be coming to an abrupt end.
The under-achieving but talented team entered the Big 12 Conference tournament seeded No. 6 and with little expected from them.
But then something special happened. The Tigers rolled through the tournament defeating Texas, Texas A&M, Kansas and finally Oklahoma to become Big 12 champions and receive an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
And on Monday morning, it was announced that the Tigers will be heading to Arizona as the No. 4 seed in the Tuscon regional. On Friday, Missouri will to try to extend its dream season and four-game winning steak in a game against the No. 1 seeded Arizona Wildcats.
Not that the opponent means much right now to Missouri coach Tim Jamieson.
"Three or four days ago, it (making the tournament) wasn't even a consideration," Jamieson said at his team's selection show watch party Monday morning. "So who we're playing and where we're playing doesn't matter."
Last season, Missouri was one strike away from doing what they did this season in becoming underdog Big 12 champions. But the Tigers were foiled in 10 innings by Texas A&M. This year, the Tigers final season in the Big 12, they were not going to let the opportunity slip away again.
"We were talking about that in the locker room down in Oklahoma," junior Dane Opel said. "We were celebrating, and I went up to Conner (Mach) and some of the guys and I was like 'I'm just so glad I'm not crying with you guys right now.'"
It has been two years since Missouri last made the 64-team double elimination tournament.
"We're just, well we're not just happy to be here, but really, that's what we are," Jamieson said. "We just want to go out and have a chance to play."
The other two teams in Missouri's regional are No. 2 seed New Mexico State and No. 3 seed Louisville.
Missouri's first game will be at 10 p.m. Friday and will be aired on ESPNU.