Opinion Tigers

Published on May 19th, 2013 | by Phil Bergman, Staff writer

MU-KU rivalry not likely in Big 12-SEC basketball crossover

Being “close” only matters with horseshoes and hand grenades.

With the SEC and Big 12 announcing this past year that there would be games with competing conference schools playing against each other during the men’s basketball season, many hoped that the long-standing MU-KU rivalry would rekindle after a short one-year hiatus.

But, as the old saying goes, the MU was close, but no cigar.

On May 14, the Southeastern Conference announced that Missouri would not face Kansas, but instead head coach Bob Huggins and the Mountaineers of West Virginia University, one of the two teams that replaced Missouri and Texas A&M after they bailed to the SEC in July 2012. The game will take place on Thursday, December 5 at Mizzou Arena and will be seen on one of ESPN’s networks.

This will be the third match-up between the two schools, with the previous two taking place in the NCAA Tournament. In their last game against each other in March 2010, the Mountaineers defeated the Tigers in the second round en route to their Final Four appearance. Missouri won the first meeting between the two teams in 1992, defeating West Virginia 89-78.

Kansas on the other hand, will face the University of Florida on December 10, pinning two of the nations top teams a season ago against each other for a game that will definitely show which team has the pieces earlier in the season to potentially make a late-season push come March.

While Kansas has made it clear in the past that they don’t want to keep the rivalry going after Missouri left for the SEC, the new Big 12-SEC challenge will definitely keep the possibility of the rivalry picking up again sometime in the future.

The announcement of the game against West Virginia comes days after Missouri announced its participation in the 2013 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational, which will have the school play two games in Las Vegas, and two at Mizzou Arena.

In Las Vegas, the Tigers will play in-state host Nevada, and Northwestern in a battle of that will pit two of the best journalism schools in the nation against each other on the hardwood.

Missouri’s home game against UCLA will be counted as part of the Invitational as a “Classic.” The game was previously scheduled as the conclusion of a home-and-home series that sent the Tigers out to Los Angeles last December.

Missouri’s home opponents for the first two rounds that will take place at Mizzou Arena will be announced at a later date, but they could be the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis (IUPUI), Morehead State (Ky.) or Gardner Webb University (NC), the other teams taking part in the Invitational.

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