ST. LOUIS (KTVI)- The last time the University of Missouri men’s basketball team hosted and defeated a top-ranked team in the country, Bill Clinton was President of the United States delivering a State of the Union speech on the same night, and none of the players on the current MU roster were born.
February 4, 1997, the Kansas Jayhawks came to the Hearnes Center and the unranked Tigers emerged victorious in double overtime, thanks to a Corey Tate jumper from near the free-throw line. 96-94. It was KU’s only loss of the regular season.
Tuesday, the Tigers face a different challenge, when a number one comes to town. Missouri (8-10) hosts Auburn (18-1). In January, Missouri has shown signs of progress, with a stunning home win over then-ranked Alabama, and a complete takedown on the road against Ole Miss, but has also seen second-half struggles that led to losses against Texas A&M and most recently, Alabama Saturday night.
Auburn comes to Mizzou Arena fresh off a high-energy performance in defeating 12th ranked Kentucky over the weekend featuring 6-10 forward/center Jabari Smith, seen as a top 5 pick if not the number one overall.
On Monday Head Coach Cuonzo Martin talked about the opportunity facing his team and said you don’t get these opportunities often.
Cuonzo Martin needs only to look inside the halls of Mizzou Arena for some inspiration when it comes to taking on a top-ranked team and winning. The women’s basketball team upset #1 South Carolina on the same floor 70-69 in OT December 30.