Missouri fans have known for several months the Tigers would play perennial SEC powerhouse Kentucky twice next season in basketball, but MU fans can begin planning for those occasions Thursday after the conference announced its 2017-18 schedule.
First-year coach Cuonzo Martin’s squad hosts the three-time reigning SEC champion Wildcats on Feb. 3 at Mizzou Arena and the return game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., is slated for Feb. 24.
It’s expected that CBS will broadcast at least one of those clashes nationally, but the SEC plans to announce game times and broadcast information at a later date.
The clashes with the Wildcats aren’t the only highlights on the Tigers’ newly announced schedule.
Mizzou hosts Martin’s former team, Tennessee, where he coached from 2011-14, on Jan. 17 in Columbia.
His return trip to Knoxville will have to wait a year as it’s the only meeting between the Tigers and Volunteers during the upcoming season.
Missouri faces a tough test right out of the gate in conference play, tangling with three of the SEC’s NCAA Tournament teams during a stretch of four games in 11 days to kick things off.
The Tigers open the SEC slate Jan. 3 in Columbia — but it’s the one in South Carolina, where Frank Martin’s Gamecocks are coming off a Final Four appearance last spring.
Cuonzo Martin — and a remade MU roster that includes the Porter brothers, Michael Jr. and Jontay, along with East St. Louis (Ill.) center Jeremiah Tilmon — makes his home debut a few days later as MU hosts Florida (Jan. 6) and Georgia (Jan. 10) before venturing Jan. 13 to Fayetteville, Ark., for a showdown with former Tigers coach Mike Anderson and Arkansas.
“The Southeastern Conference has built an identity of tough, physical basketball, which is certainly exciting for me as we start this season of Mizzou Basketball,” Martin said. “The league is competitive, top to bottom, and it will be our goal as a program to factor into what makes the SEC one of the top basketball conferences in the country. We’ll certainly take pride in protecting our home court, and we look forward to seeing our fans pack Mizzou Arena to help us accomplish that.”
Twice, Missouri plays three of four games on the road.
The first such run begins in late January and includes trips to Mississippi State (Jan. 27), Alabama (Jan. 31) and Mississippi (Feb. 6) sandwiched around the first meeting the Kentucky.
The second is only a few weeks later and kicks off with a trip to LSU (Feb. 17) followed by a home game against Mississippi and back-to-back road games at Kentucky and Vanderbilt (Feb. 27) only three days apart.
The Tigers wrap up the regular season March 3 against Arkansas at Mizzou Arena.
The schedule also includes homes games against Auburn (Jan. 24), Mississippi State (Feb. 10), Texas A&M (Feb. 13) and a return trip to play the Aggies in College Station, Texas (Jan. 20).
2017-18 Mizzou men’s basketball schedule
Fri., Nov. 10
Iowa State, TBA
Mon., Nov. 13
Wagner, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Thur., Nov. 16
at Utah, TBA
Mon., Nov. 20
Emporia State, TBA
Thur., Nov. 23
vs. Long Beach State*, 10:30 a.m. (ESPN2)
Fri., Nov. 24
vs. St. John’s or Oregon State*, TBA
Sun., Nov. 26
vs. TBA*, TBA
Thur., Nov. 30
at Central Florida, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Tue., Dec. 5
Miami (Ohio), TBA
Sat., Dec. 9
Green Bay, TBA
Sat., Dec. 16
North Florida, TBA
Tue., Dec. 19
Stephen F. Austin, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Sat., Dec. 23
vs. Illinois**, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Wed., Jan. 3
at South Carolina, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Sat., Jan. 6
Florida, noon (CBS)
Wed., Jan. 10
Georgia, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Sat., Jan. 13
at Arkansas, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
Wed., Jan. 17
Tennessee, 8 p.m. (SEC Network)
Sat., Jan. 20
at Texas A&M, 3 p.m. (ESPN or 2)
Wed., Jan. 24
Auburn, 8 p.m. (SEC Network)
Sat., Jan. 27
at Mississippi State, 7:30 (SEC Network)
Wed., Jan. 31
at Alabama, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Sat., Feb. 3
Kentucky, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Tues., Feb. 6
at Mississippi, 8 p.m. (SEC Network)
Sat., Feb. 10
Mississippi State, 1 p.m. (ESPN or 2)
Tues., Feb. 13
Texas A&M, 6 p.m. (ESPN)
Sat., Feb. 17
at LSU, 1 p.m. (ESPN or 2)
Tues., Feb. 20
Mississippi, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Sat., Feb. 24
at Kentucky, 5 or 7 p.m. (ESPN or 2)
Tues., Feb. 27
at Vanderbilt, 6 p.m. (ESPN or 2)
Sat., March 3
Arkansas, 5 p.m. (ESPN or 2)
Home games at Mizzou Arena in Columbia unless noted
*AdvoCare Invitational at HP Fieldhouse in Orlando, Fla.
** Braggin’ Rights Game at Scottrade Center in St. Louis
***At Scottrade Center, St. Louis