ST. LOUIS -- A team can't qualify for the NCAA Tournament in December but a loss or two during this time of year certainly can make gaining entrance into the dance more difficult.
Ask the 25th-ranked Missouri Tigers.
They lost a chance to add to their postseason resume with a one-point setback to Illinois last Saturday. Now they face another challenge that, because of last week's loss, could prove even more telling to their eventual tournament chances.
Win at North Carolina State (9-2) Saturday night and the Illinois loss becomes a mere blemish on Missouri's early season. But lose a second straight game and the Tigers (10-1) will be looking at a nasty stain on their non-conference schedule.
The Wolfpack offer a far tougher test than Illinois, too. They're bigger, deeper and are improving.
Plus, this will be Missouri's first real road game of the season, though it has played four games on neutral floors. PNC Arena might not provide N.C. State with the home-court advantage of a Camero...