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Around the Columns

Dancing in KC and beyond

Big 12

Senior guard Matt Pressey and Missouri Coach Frank Haith hoist the Big 12 Tournament Championship Trophy. Photo courtesy MU Intercolligiate Athletics.

The Missouri Tigers and a partisan black-and-gold crowd celebrated at the Sprint Center Saturday, March 10, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo., as No. 3 Mizzou toppled No. 10 Baylor 90-75 to win its second Big 12 Tournament title in four years.

There was more celebrating back in Columbia on Sunday. Missouri (30-4) drew a No. 2 seed in the West Region of the NCAA Tournament and will face No. 15 seed Norfolk (Va.) State Friday, March 16, in Omaha, Neb. The game tips off following the 1 p.m. CDT Florida-Virginia game. Both games will be nationally televised on TNT.

Against the Bears, the Tigers continued their streak of energetic starts when senior guard Marcus Denmon stole the ball from forward Quincy Acy for a quick layup on the opening possession. Mizzou never trailed, and relied on steady free throw shooting to seal the game in the closing minutes.

Senior guard Kim English earned MVP honors by leading all scorers with 69 points in the tournament, 19 of those coming against Baylor.

This is the Tigers’ fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. Missouri made it to the Elite Eight in 2008–09 when Denmon, English, senior guard Jarrett Sutton and senior forward Steve Moore were freshmen.

This is the first trip to the NCAA Tournament for the Norfolk State Spartans (25-9) of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.