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Mizzou Eager for First SEC Season

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Posted: Saturday, July 7, 2012 12:00 am

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Perhaps the only downer in Missouri’s jump to the Southeastern Conference is the indefinite interruption of the feisty border conflict with Kansas.

Left behind in the Big 12, the Jayhawks were left feeling abandoned, jilted.

Men’s basketball coach Bill Self said several times last season that he couldn’t see scheduling the Tigers anytime soon.

There seem to be no hard feelings anywhere else, including the big city just down the road that used to benefit from the Missouri-Kansas rivalry.

Missouri athletic director Mike Alden took delight this past week announcing that a $30 million gift that jump-started the school’s $200 million facilities facelift came from Kansas City.

“I thought it was pretty special to know that coming straight out of Kansas City was the second-largest gift to ever be made in the history of the University of Missouri,” Alden said. “Certainly the move to the SEC was something that created quite a bit of enthusiasm and support.”

Missouri’s move to the SEC became official on Sunday, ending an association with the Big 12 and its previous incarnations dating to 1907. There’s no looking back. An SEC logo already adorns midfield.

The campus is sleepy this time of year. Yet, there’s unprecedented excitement about the inaugural year in a league that has recently dominated the top tier of college football in particular.

A Tiger Town initiative endorsed by the Columbia Tribune proposes closing downtown to vehicles and relaxing the city’s open container policy to accommodate “increasing hordes of Southeastern Conference visitors” and create a “pedestrian downtown party zone.”

Tickets are scarce for the inaugural SEC game against Georgia in September, just the second meeting between the schools. Alabama comes to Columbia in October.

During a summer men’s basketball teleconference several days ago, the new guys had the welcome mat out.

“Clearly, last year they were one of the top five teams from start to finish,” Florida’s Billy Donovan said of the Tigers. “Some of them are gone but others are coming, and I’m a big, big fan of Phil Pressey.”

John Calipari, coach of national champion Kentucky, believes the new SEC, which is also adding Texas A&M, will send half of its teams to the NCAA tournament.

“And that’s going to be from here on out,” Calipari said.

So rather than Oklahoma and Texas, the top-end competition in football will be Alabama and LSU. Or Arkansas, where there is also an attractive rivalry possibility in men’s basketball given that Razorbacks coach Mike Anderson led the Tigers for four seasons.

“Now it’s just gotten a little more interesting,” Anderson said. “They bring a great deal to the league. The whole athletic program, what Mike Alden has done, has been tremendous. and I’m proud to have been a part of it.”

Football coach Gary Pinkel has characterized the move as “mammoth.” He is fired up about a renovation project that will add 6,000 seats and luxury suites, along with other improvements that should make it easier to sell high school prospects that Missouri is a destination school.

The boost in attendance to about 76,000, in anticipation of increased demand relating to the move, would still be 10th in the SEC. But it makes a statement nonetheless.

“It’s great for many reasons but it’s also huge for recruiting,” Pinkel said. “Players want to go to a place where they’re going to be the best, where they have excellent facilities, as good as anyone in the country. That’s what we’re going to have.”

What Missouri had before now was instability and a feeling of second-class citizenship in a conference dominated by Texas.

Missouri and Texas A&M are leaving one year after Colorado and Nebraska jumped ship. The Big 12 is adding TCU and West Virginia to remain at 10 members.

The Tigers will compete in the East division along with Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

The huge benefit to the convincing case for switching is an influx of cash. The SEC distributed a record $18.3 million to its 12 schools last year.

Missouri is spending in anticipation, pouring money into improvements, with the initial round also including facility upgrades for softball, baseball, tennis and golf.

“We made a commitment early on to be the best in all that we could be, academically as well as athletically,” Chancellor Brady Deaton said. “It’s a proud moment when you can hold your head high and say we’re doing it right at Missouri in every day.”

Both major sports appear ready for the move.

Pinkel has taken the Tigers to a bowl game the last seven seasons, and eight times overall, most in school history.

Last year’s senior class finished with the highest four-year victory total in school history, and there’s been a solid run of first-round NFL draft picks in recent years including Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert and 49ers defensive end Aldon Smith.

Haith’s first team was the surprise of the Big 12, and the victory total the last four seasons is another school best. Haith played at Kentucky and Mississippi State when he was at the University of Miami, so he has a bit of familiarity with the new league.

One of the downsides for the northernmost SEC member is an increased travel budget. No more going Greyhound.

In Haith’s first season here, there were five bus trips. In season two, there will be none.

“We’ve got a little bit longer distance to go where we’re playing, and they’re really good,” Haith said.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Area Scoreboard

62nd Annual Borgia Pepsi Thanksgiving Tournament

Blue Division

Pool 1

McCluer North

Normandy

Carnahan

Pool 2

Cardinal Ritter

Pacific

Rockwood Summit

Gold Division

Pool 1

CBC

Soldan

Washington

Pool 2

Borgia

North Tech

Union

Monday, Nov. 24

CBC 77, Washington 52

Tuesday, Nov. 25

Cardinal Ritter vs. Rockwood Summit, PPD

Washington 63, Soldan 62

Borgia 83, Union 50

Wednesday, Nov. 26

Carnahan 71, Normandy 46

Pacific 64, Rockwood Summit 22

North Tech 67, Union 37

Thursday, Nov. 27

McCluer North 95 Carnahan 68

CBC 82, Soldan 55

Borgia 50, North Tech 45

Friday, Nov. 28

McCluer North 93, Normandy 39

Pacific 70, Cardinal Ritter 57

Saturday, Nov. 29

Blue Consolation — Rockwood Summit 47, Normandy 38

Gold Consolation — Soldan 78, Union 59

Gold Third Place — North Tech 63, Washington 57

Blue Third Place — Cardinal Ritter 71, Carnahan 46

Blue Championship — McCluer North 64, Pacific 58 (OT)

Gold Championship — CBC 67, Borgia 66

Boys Basketball

Monday, Dec. 8

Lutheran S 64, St. Clair 48

Borgia 61, Carnahan 51

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Lafayette 44, Washington 35

Friday, Dec. 12

Potosi 72, St. Clair 45

*Washington 69, Ft. Zumwalt North 65

Montgomery Co 62, New Haven 61

*St. Mary’s at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

Bourbon 75, Union 74

Glendale 63, Pacific 46

Saturday, Dec. 13

New Haven 46, Barat 40

Nixa 56, Pacific 46

Tuesday, Dec. 16

*Pacific 70, New Haven 35

*Hermann 67, St. Clair 49

*Ft. Zumwalt South 61, Washington 50

*Union 81, St. James 74

Friday, Dec. 19

*Owensville at St. Clair    4 p.m.

Washington vs. Parkway Central, GAC/Suburban Shootout, St. Charles Family Arena, 5:30 p.m.

*St. James at New Haven    6 p.m.

*Pacific 76, Union 57

Saturday, Dec. 20

Sullivan Shootout

Owensville vs. Rockwood Summit, 11:30 a.m.

Lindbergh 67, St. Clair 46

Jefferson City vs. Jackson, 2:30 p.m.

Washington 56, Lutheran South 54

Poplar Bluff 59, Borgia 49

Sullivan vs. Affton, 7 p.m.

Girls Basketball

Saturday, Dec. 6

Cor Jesu 63, Borgia 60

New Haven 46, Moberly 39

Monday, Dec. 8

Pacific 73, Rolla 40

St. Clair 68, Dixon 37

Washington 54, New Haven 15

Tuesday, Dec. 9

*Borgia 59, Rosati-Kain 38

Union 53, Northwest 44

Thursday, Dec. 11

*Borgia 60, Notre Dame 53

Union 81, Bourbon 53

Friday, Dec. 12

New Haven 45, Principia 30

*Washington 59, Ft. Zumwalt North 32

Saturday, Dec. 13

West Plains 76, Pacific 37

Monday, Dec. 15

*Pacific 46, New Haven 28

*St. Clair 59, Hermann 50

*St. James 64, Union 37

Sullivan Tournament

Cuba 48, Principia 27

Borgia 68, Patriettes 29

Sullivan 56, Pattonville 43

Owensville 78, Farmington 54

Wednesday, Dec. 17

Sullivan Tournament

Farmington 61, Pattonville 39

Sullivan 68, Owensville 64

Principia 55, St. Louis Patriettes 42

Borgia 56, Cuba 38

Thursday, Dec. 18

*St. James 72, New Haven 21

*Union 49, Pacific 48

Friday, Dec. 19

Francis Howell 55, Washington 48

Sullivan Tournament

Seventh Place — Pattonville vs. St. Louis Patriettes, 4 p.m.

Consolation — Farmington vs. Principia, 5:30 p.m.

Third Place — Owensville vs. Cuba, 7 p.m.

Championship — Borgia 62, Sullivan 35

Saturday, Dec. 20

Union at Waynesville    5 p.m.

Wrestling

Monday, Dec. 8

Maplewood 48, Borgia 30

Brentwood 47, Borgia 36

Winfield 48, St. Clair 36

St. Clair 42, St. James 40

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Pacific 55, North County 10

Jackson 63, Washington 12

Farmington 63, Washington 6

Wednesday, Dec. 10

Borgia 36, Lutheran St. Charles 34

Winfield 54, Borgia 30

Thursday, Dec. 11

Union 72, Ft. Zumwalt East 9

Union 52, Principia 30

Union 54, Winfield 27

Saturday, Dec. 13

Union Tournament    9 a.m.

Borgia at McCluer S-Berkeley Tny    9 a.m.

Pacific at Farmington Tny    9 a.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 16

Owensville 61, St. Clair 16

Union 48, Owensville 27

Union 65, St. Clair 18

Friday, Dec. 19

Washington at Raytown S Tny    TBA

Union at Cape Central Tny    TBA

Pacific at Ft. Zumwalt E Tny    TBA

Saturday, Dec. 20

Washington at Raytown S Tny    TBA

Union at Cape Central Tny    TBA

Pacific at Ft. Zumwalt E Tny    TBA

Girls Swimming

Monday, Dec. 8

Washington at Eureka    4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Washington at Nerinx Hall    4 p.m.

LSC/OFC 134, Borgia 101, St. Dominic 83

Monday, Dec. 15

Borgia at Notre Dame (Forest Park)    4 p.m.

Kennedy 88, Washington 84

Wednesday, Dec. 17

Lindbergh 128, Washington 48

*Conference Games

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