Missouri will be renewing a rivalry with a former Big 2 rival at the Sprint Center in Kansas City this season, but it’s not the rival that we all hoped for.
The Tigers sent out a release with Oklahoma State on Monday announcing the renewal of the rivalry between those two programs on December 30th of this season.
Both teams will be in a bit of a rebuilding mode next season, as Oklahoma State will be looking to replace Marcus Smart and Markel Brown while Missouri will be beginning the tenure of new head coach Kim Anderson without Jordan Clarkson or Jabari Brown. But this move is a good thing for college hoops. There were some hard feelings when the Big 12 and the Big East saw some of the most high profile programs depart, but in recent weeks we’ve seen some of those rivalries renewed: Georgetown will start playing Syracuse again in 2015-2016 while Baylor and Texas A&M will play again next season.
Hopefully, Missouri and Kansas -- and Pitt and West Virginia -- will take notes.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: when your rivalry has an actual nickname, you conference affiliation isn’t an excuse not to play it.
Anyway, here are the coaches’ quotes given in the statement by Missouri and Oklahoma State:
Travis Ford: “We are looking forward to playing Missouri at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. Oklahoma State has a long-standing history with the Tigers, having been conference rivals for more than half a century. We’ve had some thrilling games with Mizzou the past several seasons. It is also exciting to play an early season game in the same venue that hosts the Big 12 Championship. OSU has a lot of alumni and fans in the Kansas City area, and we hope this gives them an opportunity to catch the Cowboys in person. I have a great deal of respect for Coach Anderson, and think he’ll continue the great tradition that they have at Missouri.”
Kim Anderson: “What a special game for the fans and former players of both universities,” Anderson said. “I remember playing Oklahoma State in Kansas City twice while I was in school and those were two great games. Our two universities share great history with one another and conference affiliation isn’t going to change that fact. Obviously KC is very special to us and plays a major part in who we are as a university and as a basketball program. We have tremendous fans in the city and they know how committed we are to bringing Mizzou Basketball to the Sprint Center as often as possible.”