In Barnett's absence, Michael Porter Jr., who came off the bench in his second career game against Georgia in the SEC Tournament this week, could get the nod as a starter.
More to the point, MU doesn't need to have the idea of playing Kansas in its grill when it has to have one singular focus with a team full of players who never have appeared in an NCAA Tournament game: winning its first NCAA game since 2010 to snuff out the school's longest NCAA victory drought since the one between 1944 and 1976. The victor of the Florida State vs. Missouri game will face the victor of the Xavier vs.
The Tigers bristled instead of buckling, though, finishing 20-12 overall (after going 8-23 last season) and 10-8 in Southeastern Conference play - more league wins than in the last three years combined - to return to the NCAA tourney for the first time since 2013. The victor will go on to play the winner of Xavier and NC Central/Texas Southern. The Seminoles have made the Sweet 16 four times - 1972, 1992, 1993 and 2011. Florida State has now participated in the postseason in 13 of Hamilton's 16 seasons at Florida State.
With back-to-back tournament appearances, the 'Noles have now made the "Big Dance" in six of the last 10 seasons.
Mizzou is the eighth seed in the west and will play the ninth seed Florida State Friday in Nashville.
The Seminoles enter the 2018 NCAA Tournament with four wins over nationally ranked teams - No. 5 Florida (Dec. 4, 83-66), No. 10 North Carolina (Jan. 3, 81-80), No. 11 Clemson (Feb. 14, 81-80 in overtime) and No. 24 Miami (Jan. 27, 103-94 in overtime). Since the Seminoles were ranked No. 23 in the AP Top 25 on January 8, they have gone 8-8.