Nothing would keep them out of today's final _ certainly not a few bumps and bruises.
Missouri point guard Clarence Gilbert dislocated his left ring finger in an 82-73 upset of UCLA on Thursday night, and Oklahoma guard Hollis Price hurt his ankle in an 88-67 victory over Arizona.
The 12th-seeded Tigers face No. 2 Oklahoma today.
At first Gilbert's finger didn't bother him, but when he looked at it, he screamed. It stuck out at a funny angle.
"It looked like a K," he said.
A trainer popped Gilbert's finger into place, and he scored 23. The finger was taped Friday, too, and Gilbert had not tested it in practice.
Not that it would matter.
"I happened to dislocate my finger," he said. "And I have to play."
Hollis said Friday his right ankle was sore. Late in the first half against Arizona, he began limping and wincing. He finished with 26 points against the Wildcats, but 22 came in the first half.
"Sometimes I come down wrong and I tweak it a little, but that's all it was _ just a little tweak," he said. "I was sitting on the bench for a minute or two, but that just got me going again."
SAMPSON UPDATE: Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson's father, John, remained in intensive care at a local hospital after emergency surgery to drain blood from his brain.
The elder Sampson, known as Ned, fell ill during practice on Tuesday in San Jose. That night, he had surgery for a subdural hematoma.
"He's tough. He's battling through it," Kelvin Sampson said.
Ned Sampson was a high school basketball coach for 30 years. He launched his son's basketball career, coaching him at Pembroke High School in North Carolina.
"Mr. Ned is a wonderful guy," Price said. "Every time he comes up to Norman, he gives us a boost of energy. Coach hasn't said anything about his dad, but it's in the back our minds."
BIG 12 RESPECT: Big 12 teams feel they are getting some respect. Sampson said that throughout the season, the focus in the Big 12 was on perennial favorite Kansas and Bob Knight's new job at Texas Tech. "I'm really happy for the Big 12, and I mean that sincerely. One of the early questions was why we weren't getting any respect. I think we are now," Sampson said. Four Big 12 teams _ Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas and Texas _ were in region semifinals.
_ TIMES WIRES