The Hangover

COLUMBIA --- Here's what they do, here's what they say, game after game, week after week, year after year.

After a win ...

We'll enjoy this one until midnight, then we'll start getting ready for (the next generic opponent.)

After a loss ...

We've already forgotten about this one. Now, we'll start getting ready for (the next generic opponent.)

But not this time.

Monday, the Missouri Tigers were still reeling from Saturday's crushing 87-86 overtime loss at Kansas.

"I've never experienced one like Saturday, a loss that tough," Kim English said. "But you've got to forget about it, you can't dwell on it.

"I just told the guys in the locker room (Monday) that we're not going to talk about it anymore. We're not going to replay the plays, dwell on what happened, what didn't happened, what should have happened.

"You don't want to be so emotionally drained and fatigued that you lose a really important game here on Wednesday."

Then in the very next breath, English said: "But we had the lead, man, we had the lead."

Feel the pain.

All the ramifications of Saturday's showdown --- the last Big 12 meeting, the conference title on the line, the mutual dislike, etc. --- and the way the Tigers lost it, blowing a 19-point lead in the second half, added up to a lingering hangover 48 hours later.

Aspirin the size of, well, basketballs, couldn't make this hurt go away.

"I don't think anybody gave us a chance to win that game, except the guys in that locker room," Missouri coach Frank Haith said. "We felt really good about that game and we put a lot into it, as we do every game.

"When you lose, it drains you emotionally. We all felt that.

"But the sun does come up and we've got to move on."

Sunday was a needed day of rest.

"We took a complete day off," Haith said. "It was an emotional game and there was a lot of emotion in that locker room after the game. They needed some time.

"We competed for 45 minutes. Obviously, there were some tough breaks that didn't go our way."

Translation: The referees did Missouri no favors, including Phil Pressey getting body-slammed by Thomas Robinson on the potential game-winning drive at the end of regulation.

"I've talked to Curtis Shaw (head of Big 12 officials)," Haith said, "and we had a really good conversation."

How good?

"Really good."

Haith would say no more.

The now-No. 7 Tigers (25-4, 12-4 Big 12) can't keep looking back, or they'll run straight into a wall Wednesday night when they host the Iowa State Cyclones (21-8, 11-5) at 7 p.m. at Mizzou Arena.


"It's a tough adjustment from what happened Saturday to what's going to happen Wednesday," English said. "I'm in the middle of trying to get Saturday out of my mind, while preparing for Iowa State."

Missouri beat Iowa State 76-69 in Ames on Jan. 11. Then, 18 days later, Iowa State beat Kansas 72-64.

With a win, the Cyclones could pull into a tie with the Tigers for second place in the Big 12.

"They're a really good team," Missouri senior Marcus Denmon said. "We had a dogfight with them in Ames and I'm sure it will be another one here at Mizzou Arena."

It will be Senior Night, but not the ordinary Senior Night. This class is the winningest in school history --- 102 wins --- passing the 1983 class, which won 100.

"These seniors have been great all year," Haith said. "They're obviously winners ... they've performed at a high, high level all year. You look across the country and there are a lot of veteran teams that don't win. But the senior leadership on this team is just spectacular.

"This is a special group --- they win with class and lose with class. I'm proud to be a part of it."