The Missouri Tigers have added a prominent program to their nonconference schedule.
Mizzou will play a home-and-home series with Xavier beginning this winter, the team announced on Thursday afternoon.
🗓 Dec. 18, 2018 at #Mizzou Arena
— Mizzou Basketball (@MizzouHoops) May 17, 2018
The Tigers will host the first matchup in Dec. 2018 and will then travel to Cincinnati for the return game to take on the Musketeers from the Big East in 2019.
Both Mizzou and Xavier are coming off of strong seasons that resulted in NCAA Tournament appearances. Coincidentally, Florida State knocked both teams out of March Madness last season.
While Mizzou appears to be at just the beginning of a resurgence under Cuonzo Martin, Xavier has built one of the top basketball programs in the country over the last few seasons, going from dangerous Atlantic 10 conference mid-major to bonafide Big East contender and No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament last season.
However, longtime Musketeers coach Chris Mack left in the offseason to become Louisville’s new coach.
The Tigers will also have some talent to replace, given freshman standout Michael Porter Jr. and his brother Jontay both have declared for the NBA draft, although they can still withdraw their names before June 11.
The 2018 matchup between the two programs will come shortly before Mizzou begins SEC play for the season. The 2019 game will be among the first games of the season for each team.
This type of scheduling should keep Mizzou in the good graces of the NCAA Tournament selection committee should the Tigers end up on the bubble in one or both of the next two seasons, given that strong nonconference games and performances, especially on the road, always bring added value to postseason resumes.