MARTIN AND MIZZOU IN THE BIG DANCE
- Mizzou earned its 28th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance with its selection as the No. 9 seed in the West Region of the 2021 Big Dance, marking the second appearance in four seasons under head coach Cuonzo Martin and just the second since the 2012-13 campaign.
- The Tigers have gone 22-27 in its 27 previous appearances at The Big Dance.
- The Tigers are the No. 9 seed for the fifth time in program history, last playing on that seed line during the 2013 NCAA Tournament, when Mizzou dropped an 84-72 decision to eighth-seeded Colorado State in Lexington, Ky. Mizzou is 1-4 overall playing as the No. 9 seed, losing to No. 8 Lamar in 1981, 71-67, at Austin, Texas, and No. 8 North Carolina, 84-70, in 2000 at Birmingham, Ala., before going 1-1 in 2001 with a 70-68 win over No. 8 Georgia and a 94-81 loss to No. 1 Duke in Greensboro, N.C.
- Martin has guided three different programs to the NCAA Tournament, and in 2018 became the 59th different head coach to achieve that feat when he guided the Tigers to the 2018 NCAA Tournament against Florida State after leading Tennessee (NCAA Sweet 16, 2013-14) and California (NCAA First Round, 2015-16) to March Madness, too. Martin has made four NCAA Tournaments in his past eight campaigns at those three institutions. All-told, he is making his ninth postseason appearance in 13 seasons as a head coach.
- Mizzou’s placement in the West Regional marks the fourth time in its last five (and 10th in 15) NCAA Tournament appearances that the Tigers have been shipped West from a bracket standpoint.
- Mizzou is 9-4 during the 2020-21 campaign against teams in the 2021 NCAA Tournament field and the Tigers beat six conference champions during an impressive regular season, including wins over Tennessee, Illinois, Alabama, Oregon, Wichita State, Liberty and Oral Roberts.
- Legendary Mizzou head coach Norm Stewart compiled 12 of the Tigers’ 22 all-time NCAA Tournament victories during his 32 seasons at the helm. Martin became the third first-year Mizzou head coach all-time to lead the Tigers to an NCAA appearance in 2018, with Quin Snyder and Frank Haith accomplishing the feat in 2000 and 2012, respectively.
- In 25 games, Mizzou played 13 Quad 1 games, winning seven of them. Of the 68 teams in the 2021 NCAA Tournament field, only 15 teams who punched tickets have played that many. In that group of 15 squads, only four teams – Illinois, Oklahoma State, Iowa and Ohio State – had a better winning percentage against Quad 1 teams than Mizzou. The Tigers went 7-6 vs. Quad 1 teams, a winning percentage of .538.
- Mizzou seeks its first win in an NCAA Tournament since downing No. 7 Clemson as the No. 10 seed, 86-78, in the 2010 Big Dance. The Tigers have gone 22-27 in its 27 previous appearances at The Big Dance.
- Mizzou and Oklahoma have met 211 times in their series history. The Tigers have only faced four programs more often – Kansas (267), Kansas State (237), Iowa State (235) & Nebraska (219).
- Saturday will mark just the second meeting between Mizzou and Oklahoma since Dec. 5, 2014. The two teams are meeting for the 32nd time on a neutral floor after Oklahoma won a 77-66 clash in Kansas City at the Hall of Fame Classic last season. Mizzou is looking for its first win in the storied history with the Sooners since a 71-68 victory in Norman on Feb. 6, 2012 – the Tigers’ final season in the Big 12.
- Mizzou and Oklahoma have met just once in the NCAA Tournament, an Elite Eight battle in San Jose, California, during the 2002 NCAA Tournament that the Sooners won, 81-75. Mizzou is 14-17 vs. Oklahoma on a neutral floor.
- Mizzou was 9-4 during the 2020-21 campaign against teams in the 2021 NCAA Tournament field and the Tigers beat six conference champions during an impressive regular season, including wins over Illinois, Alabama, Oregon, Wichita State, Liberty and Oral Roberts. Mizzou went a perfect 6-0 during nonconference play and heads into the NCAA Tournament with three wins over Top 10 teams in the same season for the first time since 2011-12.
- Mizzou is one of 13 teams nationally with seven Quad 1 victories. Only eight teams nationally have more Quad 1 wins than the Tigers. Mizzou will boast the third-most experienced squad among the 68-team 2021 NCAA Tournament field behind only Texas and UCLA.
- Mizzou improved to 7-1 in games decided by five or fewer points this season after the SEC Tournament win over Georgia.
- Mizzou is 8-4 away from home this season including neutral site wins over Oregon and Georgia, and 6-4 in true road games, its best mark since going 7-3 in 2011-12. Mizzou has at least five true road wins for the second time in Cuonzo’s four seasons (2018). The Tigers had accomplished that feat just four times this century before Martin’s arrival (2000, 2004, 2009 and 2012). Before 2011-12, Mizzou hadn’t won six true road games in a season since 1999
- Dru Smith and Jeremiah Tilmon earned All-SEC honors by both the league’s coaches and the media. It marks the first Tiger duo to earn all-league honors in the same campaign since Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown in 2013-14. Dru also earned All-Defensive team honors, the first Tiger to do so since Michael Dixon in 2012.
- Dru has reached double figures a team-best 20 times as a senior, and led the SEC in steals during the regular season for a second consecutive campaign with 2.0 thefts per game. He is one of eight active Division I players nationally with 1,000+ career points, 400+ career assists and 180+ steals – and the only one in that group playing in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
- Sophomore Kobe Brown is surging heading into the Big Dance. He’s scored in double figures six times in the last 10 games and grabbed 6+ boards seven times in that stretch. In the last 10 games, he’s averaging 10.8 points and a team-high 7.0 rebounds while shooting better than 53 percent from the floor.
COURTESY MISSOURI ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS