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Missouri's parting shot: a Big 12 title

Steve Moore, rear, and tournament MVP Kim English embrace after leading Missouri to a title in its final year in the Big 12.

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Steve Moore, rear, and tournament MVP Kim English embrace after leading Missouri to a title in its final year in the Big 12.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It seemed as if everybody was rooting against Missouri, the school that nearly brought the Big 12 to ruin, and you can be sure coach Frank Haith and the rest of the Tigers heard them.

They made sure to leave a lasting impression on their way to the SEC.

Kim English capped a phenomenal conference tournament with 19 points, Phil Pressey added 15 points and eight assists and the fifth-ranked Tigers beat No. 12 Baylor 90-75 Saturday night to win their second championship in the past four years.

"Obviously, it's special. To win championships is just special," Haith said. "We didn't win the regular-season championship, but we won a conference tournament championship."

English shot 29-of-40 from the field in a virtuoso performance in Kansas City and was named the tournament's most valuable player. Michael Dixon added 17 points for the Tigers (30-4), and Ricardo Ratliffe and Marcus Denmon had 15 each.

"Kim's play was unbelievable all weekend," Denmon said. "He really carried us."

Missouri's decision to leave for the SEC after this season drew outrage from fans of opposing teams, and the fans of nine other schools that flocked to the Sprint Center seemed to be rooting hard against the school from just down Interstate 70.

Thousands of fans clad in black and gold in turn booed interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas when he gave away the trophy, and chants of "SEC! SEC!" arose in the closing minutes.

"There were roughly 18,000 people here; it was packed. I would suggest 17,000 of those people were in black and gold," Missouri athletic director Mike Alden said. "So to suggest that Kansas City, Mo., is a Mizzou town, I can assure you, it absolutely was proof positive today."

Perry Jones led Baylor (27-7) with 16 points and 11 rebounds. The Bears also lost to Missouri in the 2009 Big 12 title game.

Big Ten

NO. 7 OHIO ST. 77, NO. 10 MICH. 55: Jared Sullinger scored 24 and Deshaun Thomas 22 for the Buckeyes (27-6), who shot 49 percent from the field in Indianapolis to earn a shot at their third straight tournament title. The Wolverines (24-9) shot 31 percent from the field, made 4 of 25 3-pointers and committed 18 turnovers.

NO. 8 MICH. ST. 65, NO. 14 WIS. 52: Draymond Green had 14 points and 16 rebounds, and Austin Thornton scored all of his 12 on 3-pointers, leading the Spartans (26-7) past the Badgers (24-9) and into their first conference title game since 2000.

Conference finals

AMERICA EAST: Four McGlynn scored 14 and Vermont (22-11), despite scoring just five over the final 91/2 minutes, held off Stony Brook 51-43 in Stony Brook, N.Y., to earn its fifth NCAA Tournament bid.

C-USA: Joe Jackson led five Memphis players in double figures with 19 points, and the Tigers (26-8) won their sixth Conference USA tournament championship by beating Marshall 83-57 on Memphis' homecourt.

MEAC: Kyle O'Quinn scored 18 and Norfolk State (25-9) held on to beat Bethune-Cookman (18-17) 73-70 in Winston-Salem, N.C., for its first conference title and NCAA Tournament berth.

PAC-12: Freshman Spencer Dinwiddie scored 14, Carlon Brown added 13 and Pac-12 newcomer Colorado (23-11) upset Arizona 53-51 in Los Angeles to earn the school's first NCAA Tournament bid since 2003.

SOUTHLAND: Mike James scored 26 and Lamar (23-11) defeated McNeese State 70-49 for the championship in Katy, Texas, sending Pat Knight into the NCAA Tournament for the first time as a head coach.

MAC: D.J. Cooper scored 23, and Ohio (27-7) beat Akron 64-63 in the championship game in Cleveland. The Zips thought they may have tied it at 64 with 3.1 seconds left on a tipped free throw, but officials determined after a review that the free throw fell in without being touched.

MOUNTAIN WEST: Tony Snell made four 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 14 points as New Mexico (27-6) overpowered No. 18 San Diego State (26-7) 68-59 in Las Vegas, sending the Lobos to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons.

SWAC: Kevin Burwell scored 19 and Mississippi Valley State (21-12) earned its first NCAA bid since 2008, holding on for a 71-69 victory over Texas Southern in Garland, Texas.

.Automatic Bids

Men

Belmont Atlantic Sun

Colorado Pac-12

Creighton Missouri Valley

Davidson Southern

Detroit Horizon

Harvard Ivy

Lamar Southland

Lehigh Patriot

LIU Brooklyn Northeast

Louisville Big East

Loyola (Md.) Metro Atlantic

Memphis C-USA

Missouri Big 12

Montana Big Sky

Murray St. Ohio Valley

MVSU SWAC

NC Asheville Big South

New Mexico Mtn. West

Norfolk St. MEAC

Ohio MAC

St. Mary's (Calif.) West Coast

South Dakota St. Summit

VCU Colonial

Vermont America East

W. Kentucky Sun Belt

Missouri's parting shot: a Big 12 title 03/10/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 10, 2012 11:24pm]

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