The University of Missouri athletics department announced Monday the men's basketball team will play Oklahoma State on Dec. 30 at the Sprint Center.
The match-up demonstrates the university's commitment to play in Kansas City and recruit from the metro area, says MU athletics director Mike Alden. He praised head coach Kim Anderson's willingness to put a tough non-conference team on the schedule.
"For him not to balk at all but to see this as important to our program, for the University of Missouri and for Kansas City, I give a lot of credit to Kim as well too," says Alden.
Anderson, who most recently coached the Division II Central Missouri Mules, is starting his first season at the Tigers' coach.
"This is a great basketball area," says Anderson. "We have outstanding high school coaches in this community. I've had the pleasure over the years to be involved with them – we've recruited a lot of Kansas City-area players to Central Missouri. One of my goals when I got this job was to do a good job of recruiting in the state."
Though the Oklahoma State game is a one-off, Alden and Anderson say they'd like to make Kansas City a regular destination for the basketball team. Both cited the annual MU-Illinois game in St. Louis.
The game is expected to be a big draw for the local tourism industry.
"When you see a game here at the Sprint Center, we expect a sell-out on Dec. 30," says Kansas City Sports Commission President Kathy Nelson, who also attended Monday's announcement. "Our job is to welcome those fans – transportation, hotel rooms, anything that the team and the players might need – that's what our role is in this game."
Tickets will go on sale next month to season ticket holders and contributors to the Tiger Scholarship Fund.