English: “We learned that Mizzou means more now than it did four years ago”
November 19, 2010
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Following Mizzou’s narrow escape from an upset at the hands of Western Illinois Thursday, Mizzou players—including Kim English—came to the realization that they’re no longer underdogs. Mizzou’s 2008-2009 Elite Eight team played with house money the entire season, and the 2009-2010 Tigers were viewed by most as being in a transitional state.
But Mizzou’s 2010-2011 team has a target on its back. Being recognized as a top 15 team means Mizzou can expect efforts like the one Western Illinois gave Thursday more and more often, as all of a sudden, a win against Mizzou for a mid or low-major program would be a marquee win for that program.
That target didn’t exist on Mizzou’s back four years ago. It didn’t exist three years ago, and it didn’t even exist in the last two years. And Western Illinois’ gritty performance Thursday served as a wake-up call to Mizzou that the team will be targeted by every single one of its opponents, whether that be Western Illinois or Kansas.
While English scored just six points, Laurence Bowers credited the junior guard for playing a major role in keeping Mizzou’s huddle positive during breaks in the action. That’s not too surprising given how Mike Anderson praised English’s leadership before the season—and English likely was a big reason why Anderson thought his team didn’t panic despite playing nervous.