You all know the story of what happened in the months to come, so I won’t re-hash it for you here. I only bring up the past because it serves as a helpful reminder when watching the 2017-18 team wind down their season. In case you forgot, this team won eight games last year and 27 total during the KA reign.
Keep that in mind on Selection Sunday. Keep that in mind when thinking about the SEC tourney loss to Georgia. Keep that in mind after the final horn has sounded on Mizzou’s season. We weren’t supposed to be here. Certainly not this soon, even with a healthy, all-world talent.
I know it’s hard. Trust me, I’ve been a masochistic Mizzou fan for the last 28 years. We forget how utterly bad those last three years were that when this team even sprinkles a little hope of success, we are instantly furious when things don’t go our way immediately.
It was hard to reign in our excitement when MPJ brought his family (both traditional and extended) to Columbia. Fraught with above-the-rim expectations, we immediately assumed we’d be a Final Four team. After the injury, we were telling ourselves “wow, can’t believe we got Mizzou’d” again and preceded to slump back into our chairs. Then this team went ahead and won 20 games without aforementioned all-world talent and here we are again demanding the moon.
I’m writing this reminder for me as much as I am for the fan base as a whole. I, too, have been following #TheReturn. I have spent much of this season screaming at my television about the performance of 18-21 year-old kids. I have cursed the refs and the end of game decisions by our new Supreme Leader. As a former Antler, all of this has been perpetuating for the last three years, so I’ll ask you, the readers, the same thing I’ve been asking myself over the course of this season.
Please take a step back and look at how far this team has come.
From where we were just 365 days ago, to where we are now, and all of the bullshit in-between, just take a moment to reflect. This team was supposed to be middle of the pack WITH MPJ. We were a projected borderline NCAA team WITH MPJ. We were SUPPOSED to take a medial step forward.
Instead, we did what most pundits thought we wouldn’t do: make the NCAA tournament. In doing so, those oh-so-familiar feelings have come back. Of pride, of frustration, of near heart-attacks, of excitement and jubilation.
Feels good to have this all back and I can’t wait to see what this team does next week. M-I-Z!