Columbia leaders share NCAA tournament picks

The brackets that arrived on the fax machine Wednesday weren’t for the office pool. They were for publication.

The Missourian asked five well-known residents to give their predictions for this year’s NCAA men’s basketball championship tournament and then explain their picks.

NAIA’s No. 1 program too much for Cougars

The Columbia College men’s basketball team lost 77-50 to No. 1 seed Mountain State on Wednesday in the first round of the NAIA tournament at Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium.

The Cougars (21-14) shot poorly in the first half and were unable to account for Mountain State’s height on the perimeter.

Strong connection

Tears rolled down Charliss Ridley’s face as she leaned on her crutches and clung to her mother.

After transferring from Indiana to Missouri, taking a semester off from basketball, and then coming to play at Columbia College; Ridley injured her knee, tearing her ACL before the seasoneven started in an event for the Show-Me State Games.

Cougars remain unbeaten in AMC

The Columbia College softball team swept a doubleheader at Harris-Stowe on Wednesday, winning 4-0 and 13-5.

Lindsey Williams hit a home run in the first game to lead Columbia College, while Monica Mueller had 11 strikeouts and shutout Harris-Stowe.

Round two brings more excitement

It will not be easy to top the first weekend of the high school state basketball championships, but 24 teams from around Missouri are in Columbia to give it a shot.

The Missouri State High School Activities Association breaks up the basketball championships into two weekends of hard-court excitement. Last weekend was for the larger Class 4 and 5 schools, and this weekend welcomes eight more schools from the other three classes.

Opportunity knocks

Missouri senior wrestler Cody Greene quit the team.

Actually, he quit the team numerous times.

End of the road

With all of its tumults and travails, devastating losses and unexpected but brief successes, Missouri’s season somewhat resembles a Shakespearian play.

Fitting then, that like Shakespeare’s Caesar, the Tigers’ final curtain should fall on the Ides of March.

Missouri looks to wrap up first title

The University of Missouri wrestling team has unfinished business.

“This program has not won a national title,” coach Brian Smith said. “It’s the only one in the Big 12 that doesn’t have an individual national title. That’s one of the goals of this program, to have a national champ.”

Vocal minority supports Missouri

Missouri fell in the first round of the NIT for the second straight year, but there weren’t very many fans around to see it.

Just 5,997 fans showed up for the match-up between Missouri and DePaul at Mizzou Arena, the lowest attendance for a men’s basketball game this season.

Hickman graduate fills ‘toughest role’

A look at Jamaal Foster’s stats might make one wonder why coaches can’t stop gushing about the Southern Illinois forward.

The Hickman graduate has averaged seven minutes per game in his freshman season for the Salukis, who face St. Mary’s (Calif.) in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday in Oklahoma City.

Kunkel gets best of ex-Tiger

Heather Kunkel stepped to the plate in the first inning of Missouri’s game Tuesday and shot a quick look at the Southwest Missouri State pitcher.

The exchange was nothing like your typical pitcher-hitter stare-down. There was no intimidation, no hostility.

Conley’s career ends on sour note

Jason Conley never achieved his dream of winning a national championship.

That dream died last Friday.

He didn’t mind settling for second best, especially if it meant he could keep playing college basketball.

Tournament pools popular but also illegal

The real March madness begins when teams are announced for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and fans begin to fill in their brackets.

One out of every 10 Americans will fill out a bracket in this year’s tournament. Groups of office workers, students and friends throw money into a pot, hoping to predict the winner of as many games as possible to receive a usually modest payoff.

Cougars run streak to nine games

Monica Mueller’s comfort level was high as she led the way to another Columbia College win on Tuesday.

Mueller, the Cougars’ All-America senior pitcher, allowed three hits in a 5-0 victory in the first game of a doubleheader with Lincoln. The Cougars won the second game 2-0.

Big 12 honors Tigers’ Boone

The Big 12 Conference named Missouri outfielder James Boone the Player of the Week on Tuesday. This is the second time in Boone’s baseball career he has received the award.

In the past four games, Boone hit .786 (11-for-14) with a home run and 13 RBIs. On the season, Boone is hitting .431 with three home runs. His 36 RBIs puts him on pace to break Aaron Jaworowski’s Missouri record of 101 RBIs in a season.

Cougars find rec-center gem

You won’t find Columbia College guard Justin Falker in the team photo.

He was too busy playing pickup basketball when it was taken.

Sweet Sweep

James Boone was having one of his typically productive days, but the rest of his team was not. So he decided to help them out.

With the Missouri baseball team ahead 5-2, mostly thanks to Boone, but in an offensive lull, coach Tim Jamieson sent junior Derek Chambers in to pinch hit.

Big 12 packs postseason

The Big East and the Atlantic Coastal Conference may have received the most national attention during the men’s basketball regular season, but the Big 12 Conference seems to be the one to watch in the postseason.

Six Big 12 teams were selected to the NCAA tournament. The conference has sent six teams to the tournament five times in its nine year history.

Bruin Girls dance to national crown in Orlando

A long season of hard work and dedication has paid off for the Rock Bridge Bruin Girls dance team, which won the NDA National Dance Championships in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday.

The 17-girl team is the first from Columbia to win the competition. The Bruin Girls placed second at the competition for the past two years.

Tigers ready for tournament test

Missouri men’s basketball coach Quin Snyder has had at least one sleepless night already. He is liable to have a few more before the week is out, either because of the sting of defeat or preparation for the next game.

Single-elimination tournaments will do that to a coach, even when they aren’t the ‘Big Dance.’