Missouri does major damage to its tournament hopes by losing to Georgia – again

It has been nearly three months since Missouri produced a win on the basketball court worth boasting about. The Tigers beat UCLA on Dec. 7, but have produced a handful of cringe-worthy losses since, the latest of which came Tuesday night at Georgia.

The Tigers were on the bubble before losing to the Bulldogs 71-56. Missouri also lost to Georgia at home on Jan. 8 in overtime. It is now solidly in must-win territory going into the final three regular season games against Mississippi State and Texas A&M at home and on the road at Tennessee.

As it stands now, it's unlikely the Tigers can endure any further damage to their resume and still harbor hopes of getting into the NCAA tournament for the sixth year in a row next month as an at-large selection. That leaves them with one option, winning the SEC tournament, and the chances of that happening seem remote considering they have strung together three consecutive wins only once since December.

Missouri is a team with one win over a top-25 team all season and one victory over a top-50 RPI team. That UCLA victory is literally the only thing Missouri has going for it right now.

The Tigers can't be written off completely at this point because they're capable of putting it all together and not only winning the final three regular season games but also making a deep run in the SEC tournament. Doing that might be enough to salvage the resume and allow them to eke into the tournament in one of those No. 9, 10 or 11 seeds generally reserved for inconsistent teams from power conferences.

Florida and Kentucky are the only two SEC teams solidly in the NCAA tournament at this point. Of course, any team from the conference could get hot and earn a surprise automatic berth by stealing the conference tournament. Missouri and Tennessee were thought to be the two most likely teams to do that prior to Tuesday.

Now there is a real possibility the SEC could be just a two-bid league this season, depending on how the regular season finishes up and whether anyone gets hot in the conference tournament as Ole Miss did last season.

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Kyle Ringo is the assistant editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at kyle.ringo@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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