Perhaps the bitterness is slowly starting to fade. Maybe, just maybe, more and more people are starting to let go.
The Missouri Tigers don’t have to be “that team that ditched us.” Or to put it in a relationship context– because that’s what some schools (looking at you Kansas) seem to act like: they no longer have to be “the one that got away.”
This is slowly but surely becoming the revelation on the athletics landscape. And it continues as it was announced today that the Missouri Tigers basketball program will renew an old rivalry with the Big 12 foe, Oklahoma State.
The two former Big Eight rivals will meet on the hardwood again for the first time since Mizzou departed the Big 12 for the SEC. The big date is December 30, 2014 and, the two will verse each other on neutral site at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
It will be the 119th time in the series’ history that Mizzou has squared off with OSU. The Tigers own a 77-41 advantage over the Cowboys.
The two clubs last met at Sprint Center in 2012, with Mizzou grabbing an 88-70 win en route to the 2012 Big 12 Championship. It will mark the 15th time the two programs have faced each other in Kansas City.
Mizzou is starting to be extremely ambitious with both its football and basketball teams’ non-conference schedule, proving that they are going to keep taking big strides in building a very high quality and respectable athletics program.
It’s not an easy task on the basketball side of things– MU lost players that accounted for more than 75% of scoring on the roster since last season ended. But newly appointed head coach Kim Anderson believes these types of match ups are critical to rebuilding brand of Tiger basketball for the future.
“I just felt like this is a game that would be great for us,” Anderson said in an interview for STLtoday.com. “We want to play here every year and it’s a quality opponent. I don’t know if it’s a smart game for me to agree to schedule, but I think it’s a great game.”
Anderson was key getting the match up officially decided. Mizzou athletic director Mike Alden began attempting to get Mizzou and Oklahoma State on the basketball court again back in January when the two schools’ football teams met in the Cotton Bowl.
But Anderson came in and ruffled feathers to make sure it got done.
It wasn’t long ago that a game with a Big 12 opponent for Mizzou was absolutely out of the question. Now The Tigers will play two games against the conference this season. They will also meet Oklahoma in Norman as a part of the SEC-Big 12 Challenge on December 5.
Playing in Kansas City is nothing new for Mizzou Athletics. The basketball program, like the football program, has a long history there. Appealing to the West part of Missouri is a monumental goal for MU.
“In joining the Southeastern Conference two years ago, we talked about our commitment to our fans throughout Missouri, and in particular, our fans in Kansas City,” Alden said via a press release. “We have tremendous fan support in this part of the state, and it is critically important to us as a University to have a strong presence in Kansas City. Athletics gives us an excellent opportunity to build on that presence, and we’re excited to host a major event in Kansas City once again this year.
The innaugral meeting between MU and OSU in K.C. was way back when on Dec. 29, 1959, with Oklahoma State winning, 64-49, in the Big Eight Holiday Tournament. Overall Missouri owns a 9-5 series advantage in Kansas City.
All in all, this is great news for Mizzou sports. Being able to schedule high-quality non-conference opponents is key to building the prowess of the program. It helps bring in recruits, who want to play in the big games, and it helps build a bigger audience with more national respect.
Now, if only Mizzou and Kansas could make up so that we can continue the Border War. C’mon KU, let’s hug it out.