Much has been made about the impact that conference realignment has had on certain rivalries, with games becoming non-conference affairs (Syracuse and Georgetown will meet this upcoming season for the first time since 2013) or simply falling by the wayside. One such matchup was the rivalry between Kansas and Missouri, with the former refusing to play the latter in basketball since Missouri left for the SEC in 2012.
However Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have played the Tigers since their move, and according to the Kansas City Star Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber expects Missouri to be his team’s opponent in the semifinals of the CBE Classic this coming November. That matchup isn’t official, with that due to be announced at a later date.
But in the midst of that conversation, Weber stated that he’d be open to playing Missouri with the Sprint Center in Kansas City serving as the venue. Weber noted that the two teams could meet “every couple of years” should things work out this fall with a possible matchup in the CBE.
Weber stressed K-State and Missouri have merely had informal conversations about a series, but he sees its merits. He was part of a similar series with Missouri, the Braggin’ Rights game in St. Louis, when he coached Illinois.
“It is not a definite by any means, but we have talked about it,” Weber said. “We will see what happens this year with the CBE. If it looks like it was a good thing and a success and we have officially broken the barrier of them leaving, that kind of stigma, then maybe we can move forward with it.”
Kansas City currently hosts the Big 12 tournament and will continue to do so through the year 2020, and Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri have all played regular season games at the Sprint Center as well. For Kansas State and Missouri this would be a nice regional game to play if they agree to do so.
As for Kansas and Missouri meeting again in a regular season matchup, that’s an entirely different situation.
Since the Big 12 came into existence in 1996, 14 of its men’s basketball tournaments have been played in Kansas City with Kemper Arena hosting seven and the Sprint Center hosting seven with an eighth scheduled for next season. Thursday afternoon the Big 12 announced the sites for multiple conference championships, which includes the decision to leave the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City through 2020.
The league’s contract with the Sprint Center was due to expire after the 2016 edition of the event.
“We are thrilled to announce the future sites for the championships,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in the release. “Every city that submitted a bid did a phenomenal job – making our decision very difficult. We look forward to growing the success of our men’s basketball championship in Kansas City, while also exposing fans throughout our footprint to our postseason competitions.”
The Big 12 tournament has been well-attended during its time in Kansas City, with the conference noting in the release that the average per session attendance for tournaments at the Sprint Center have exceeded 18,000. Of the 14 Big 12 tournaments played in Kansas City, Kansas has been the most frequent winner as the Jayhawks have won seven of them.
Iowa State, which has won the last two Big 12 tournaments, has won three (2000, 2014, 2015) of the 14 staged in Kansas City with Oklahoma (2001, 2002) winning two and Oklahoma State (2005) and former member Missouri (2012) winning one apiece.
On Sunday the SIU-Edwardsville program added yet another upperclassman to its roster, as it was announced that Hutchinson (Kan.) CC guard Rozell Nunn has decided to spend his final two years of eligibility at the Ohio Valley Conference school.
Nunn, a 6-3 guard from Kansas City, started 33 of the 34 games in which he played and posted averages of 8.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game as a sophomore at Hutchinson. He and the rest of the Blue Dragons managed to lead Hutch to its first NJCAA Division I tournament appearance in 16 years.
Hutchinson finished the season with a 31-4 record and a Region VI title. Also on that team was guard D’Von Campbell, who has since signed on to play at Rutgers for first-year head coach Eddie Jordan.
SIU-Edwardsville head coach Lennox Forrester has added four newcomers this offseason, with three being junior college transfers. Nunn joins fellow JUCO transfers Cameron Craig (6-foot point guard) and Keaton Jackson (6-9 forward), and 6-6 freshman wing Deangelo Stewart.
SIU-E will also have the services of transfers Grant Fiorentinos and Donivine Stewart, who sat out after making moves from Tulane and Bradley respectively. Fiorentinos, a 6-10 forward/center from Cape Town, South Africa, gives the Cougars a much-needed body in the paint while Stewart will factor into the rotation at point guard.
SIU-E finished the 2012-13 season with a record of nine wins and 18 losses, going 5-11 in OVC play. The Cougars lost seven of their last eight games to end the season, just missing out on a spot in the OVC tournament.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
With six players leaving the UMKC program, first-year head coach Kareem Richardson has some work to do on the recruiting trail as he prepares for his head coaching debut.
Richardson has landed two commitments in the 2013 class, as Kansas City natives Martez Harrison (Brewster Academy) and Franklin Williams Jr. (Indian Hills CC) have agreed to join the program.
The Kangaroos may have landed a third player on Sunday, as it was reported by Evan Daniels of Scout.com that former Bradley forward Shayok Shayok has decided to transfer to UMKC.
After playing nearly 19 minutes per game as a freshman Shayok saw his playing time drop significantly as a sophomore, as he averaged just 7.7 minutes as a sophomore.
Shayok, a 6-8 power forward from Ottawa, Ontario, averaged just 1.7 points and 1.5 rebounds per game last season.
While statistically Shayok’s arrival won’t cause major waves among UMKC fans the fact of the matter is that the Kangaroos simply need to add players as they move from the Summit League to the reconfigured WAC.
UMKC won just eight games last season under Matt Brown (5-11 Summit League), and with three of their top five scorers gone (including sophomore guard Estan Tyler, who is transferring) the 2013-14 campaign could be a tough one for the Kangaroos.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
Despite geographic considerations, following the departures of Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC, the Big 12 announced Friday that it would be extending its existing contract with the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., to play host to the Big 12 tournament through 2016.
“This agreement solidifies the fact that Kansas City is Big 12 country. The sport of college basketball has a great history in Kansas City and the Big 12 is a large part of it,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement. “The city has always been a fantastic host for schools, fans and alumni and this allows our men’s basketball student-athletes to continue competition in one of the best basketball facilities in the nation.”
Last year’s tournament at the Sprint Center drew the second-highest average attendance in the 16-year history of the tournament, with an average of 18,979 fans per session.
The $276 million arena was completed in 2007 and has been home to the Big 12 tournament for the past three seasons. Before the extension, the conference was to hold its event in Kansas City through 2014.
“There is no place like Kansas City when it comes to college basketball,” said Kansas City Mayor Sly James. “The extension shows that our city is the No. 1 destination for Big 12 basketball and its fans.”
The city of Kansas City is the owner of the arena.
Missouri won the event in 2012, defeating Baylor, 90-75, in the championship game. Despite not winning the Big 12 tournament, the Kansas Jayhawks went on to the NCAA tournament and advanced to the national title game, before losing to Kentucky.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_