M-I-Z ... S-L-U

The Billikens defeated No. 24 VCU 76-62 for their eighth straight win.

Missouri has a very good college basketball team, have you noticed?

It's located in St. Louis. M-I-Z ... S-L-U?

It just doesn't have the same ring.

The Billikens (20-5) won their eighth straight Tuesday night in St. Louis, brushing aside No. 24 VCU 76-62 for their eighth straight win.

(By comparison, Missouri beat VCU by three earlier this season. One other common opponent was Texas A&M --- MU lost by two, SLU won by 21.)

In the "others receiving votes," St. Louis would be ranked 26th; the team two hours west of St. Louis would be ranked 33rd.

It's a great time to be a Billiken.

But it's not a bad time to be a Tiger, either.

The Billikens never trailed Tuesday night. Meanwhile in Columbia, Missouri never led against Florida until the closing minutes.

But oh my, were those some spine-tingling closing minutes, resulting in a stirring --- and perhaps season-saving --- 63-60 win over No. 5 Florida before a raucous sellout crowd of 15,061 at Mizzou Arena.

This was a wow.

Sorry, no it wasn't. It was a WOW!

Florida is clearly a fabulous team, a team that pummeled the Tigers by 31 points last month in Gainesville. But that was there and this was here --- it seems like Missouri could beat the Miami Heat in Columbia.

How's this for There's No Place Like Home --- the Tigers are 15-0 at home this season in the friendly confines, they're 30-1 under Haith, and 82-4 since the 2008-09 season.

If you're not sure, that's quite good.

But the Gators (21-4, 11-2 SEC) didn't flinch, led 29-26 at the half and by as many as 13 points in the second half. The lead was still 57-53 with 3:44 left after a three-point play by Kenny Boynton.

Timeout --- and Missouri guard Phil Pressey had something to say.

"I just said one word: Believe," he said. "You always have to believe you can win. Whether you're up 12 or down 12, you just believe you can win."

The Gators, like all teams, hounded Pressey like he was a dog walking down the street with meat dragging off his heels.

The junior finished with 10 assists, three steals and just seven points --- but three of those came on a fastbreak score and free throw with with 2:47 left to give the Tigers (19-7, 8-5) their first lead of the game, 59-57.

"I was really, really impressed with Pressey," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "I think he did a terrific job of running his team. He got the ball where it needed to be and made the game easy for everybody else.

"I thought he really played within himself."

This, as you know, hasn't always been the case with Pressey. But his three-point play was a part of a game-ending and game-winning 10-3 run, which started on a 3-pointer by Jabari Brown.

Brown had been just 2-of-8 on 3-balls prior to that.

"I didn't worry about what he was before that," Missouri coach Frank Haith said. "I felt like if he got his feet set, then I have confidence in him to make that shot."

Laurence Bowers --- who totaled 17 points and 10 rebounds --- gave the Tigers a 61-60 lead when he canned a 15-footer with 1:15 left. Two free throws by Keion Bell with 3 seconds left ended the scoring, while the Missouri defense did the rest.

"I thought that was the key," Haith said. "Our guys just dug in and guarded them for 40 minutes. It was a great effort on that end of the court."

Next up, Missouri plays at Kentucky on Saturday.

"It's a huge win, especially coming off a loss (at Arkansas)," Bowers said. "We've got a good Kentucky team at their place, so now we've got to get ready for those guys."

And oh by the way, SLU plays at Butler on Friday.

We're all in this together, Missouri.

M-I-Z ... S-L-U.