November 25, 2008

Media Day Notes: Hawks have Mizzou's attention

The Missouri Tigers already know they'll be playing two games in Arrowhead Stadium in the next two weeks. Well, most of them do. Asked about the possible matchup in the Big 12 Championship game, Gary Pinkel deadpanned, "I don't even know if we're playing in it."

The Tigers, of course, have already clinched the North division's bid in that game, and Pinkel most likely is aware of that fact. But the comment speaks to the fact that Missouri refuses to look past this weekend's game against arch-rival Kansas.

"That's not who we are, that's not what we do," Chase Daniel said. "One game at a time."

"Not at all. The fans around here, anywhere you go in town, somebody might tell you, 'Beat KU,'" Sean Weatherspoon said. "If we were 6-and-5, beating KU would probably save our season. We know what kind of game this is."

In talking to the Tigers, they assure anyone who will listen there is absolutely no danger of a letdown or a look-ahead this Saturday.

"This game is kind of one that you don't really worry about getting your team ready to play," Pinkel said. "If you have to talk your team into playing this game, it's going to be a tough day."

While this year's game doesn't carry the same amount of weight as last year's contest that held a Big 12 North title, a championship game berth and a chance at a national championship, the Tigers say it is no less important to their season.

"I think it definitely is to us," Weatherspoon said. "I don't know how the public is looking at it because we've already secured our spot in the championship game, but that doesn't mean we're going to play any different than if the championship was riding on this game. We need this game. It's a confidence thing. We could definitely use a big win against KU to take into the next game."

"10-2 sounds a whole lot better than 9-3," Jeremy Maclin added.

And this year's match is likely even more important to the Jayhawks, who come in 6-and-5 and can clinch a second consecutive winning season.

"I know KU's purpose this year is a little stronger to go out and basically be that piece to end Missouri's whole successful season," William Moore said.

Kind of like the Tigers did to the Jayhawks a season ago?

"Right, right, right," Moore said. "You know how it goes."

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