The Jayhawks and Tigers tip off tonight as part of ESPN's Big Monday coverage and both teams will head into this contest ranked in both major polls. The Tigers sit 18-5 with a 4-4 conference record while Kansas checks in at 22-1 and 7-1 in the conference. This is a game and a rivalry that year in and year out brings out the best from both teams and both fanbases and fuels a tremendous amount of passion around the Kansas City area.
For Missouri and Mike Anderson the game presents an opportunity to fix the trend of recent road losses for the Tigers who have now lost four straight outside of Columbia. For Bill Self and the Jayhawks the game is a chance to extend a winning streak that dates back to 2000 against the Tigers in Allen Fieldhouse.
Whoever wins it's sure to be electric in Allen Fieldhouse tonight, Missouri's Michael Dixon described it well when discussing the game.
"For like two hours, you can't really think, you've just got to play. When they get dunks and hit threes and stuff like that, it's crazy. It's the best atmosphere in college basketball, no doubt about it."
The key to this one will be responding to that atmosphere. Some teams feed off of it, while others are overwhelmed by it. In the last two meetings Missouri found themselves facing a huge deficit early and in order to make tonight's game different the Tigers have to weather the storm and find a way to play their game.
For Kansas it's about breaking the pressure and exploiting the advantage on the interior. The Jayhawks and Tigers tip tonight at 8PM CST on ESPN.