If the Missouri Tigers make the move that everyone expects them to — that is, to become the 14th member of the SEC and make the transition from the Big 12 along with Texas A&M, then there’s going to be a definite gap in the Kansas City area for alumni and fans of Missouri and the Big 12. That’s certainly part of the reasoning behind Missouri’s overtures at last week’s press conference after the Board of Curators meeting toward keeping some kind of sustained connection with the KC area.
But one of the propositions on the table — the scheduling of a college basketball tournament at the Sprint Center — might not be realistic, according to ESPN’s Andy Katz. The reason is that tournaments of that type have gone by the wayside in recent years.
Katz writes, “Missouri’s promise of putting on a college basketball tournament in December in Kansas City if it were to leave for the SEC won’t be such an easy outcome. Team-oriented invitational tournaments are dying in the sport. Few power-six schools play in these non-exempt two-game tournaments anymore. According to a tournament organizer, Missouri’s best option would be to play a semi-neutral series at the Sprint Center, like facing Gonzaga in year one and then playing the Zags in Seattle in year two. Play Connecticut in Boston in year one and UConn in KC in year two. Most non-elite tournaments have shut down because of the difficulty of scheduling these games.”
The point of the tournament is to keep the Missouri basketball brand in front of the Kansas City area crowd, yet why would the crowd want to come and watch Missouri trump a lackluster opponent year after year as they’ve already left to a conference that has no regional ties? Perhaps the audience would be there, but Katz makes it clear that it’s doubtful that they could create a power structure. Maybe so, if their former conference mates were to get involved. But it’s interesting to note that even the overtures might not work after all.