Frank Cusumano's commentary: Mizzou and SLU should hook up

7:17 AM, Dec 19, 2011   |    comments
  • December 18, 2011; Columbia, MO, USA; Missouri Tigers forward Ricardo Ratliffe (10) and guard Kim English (24) and center Steve Moore (32) celebrate during the second half at Mizzou Arena. The Missouri Tigers defeated the William & Mary Tribe 94-56. Mandatory Credit: Dak Dillon-US PRESSWIRE
  • Nov. 25, 2011; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Saint Louis Billikens guard Jordair Jett (5) takes the ball downcourt during the first half of the game against the Villanova Wildcats at the Anaheim Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
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St. Louis (KSDK) -- With the outstanding start for both the Mizzou and SLU basketball teams, people are looking down the road to the possibilty of the teams facing each other in the NCAA tournament and whether these teams should be playing more often.

Frank Cusumano explained on Today in St. Louis why he thinks these standout basketball team's should play.


I am only certain of a few things in life: Larry Bird's jump shot, my mom's cooking, and there is no downside to Mizzou and SLU playing each other in college basketball.

Right now, they avoid other like Chris Brown and Rihanna.

They played each other three times about a decade ago.

It didn't work out well - that's if you don't like packed houses, pulsating finishes and picturesque college basketball environments.

I guess in a bad economy with a lot of sports choices it's much better for Mizzou to play William and Mary like they did yesterday and win by 38, or for SLU to face Alabama State on Saturday and win by 30.

If you watched more than 30 minutes of either of those games, you may need a family, hobby or a job.
I admit I am basketball junkie, and I can't watch those games where teams come in and donate blood.
They get punctured, they get a paycheck and then they take a plane out of town.

It's okay for Marquette to play Wisconsin; it's all right Louisville to play Kentucky, but it's not okay for Mizzou to play SLU.

Now to be honest with you, SLU wants the game and Mizzou doesn't. Or they haven't. The theory is Mizzou is the better program; they have everything to lose and nothing to gain. Mizzou is the better program: better tradition, better conference, and better television package. But if they lose a game, does it suddenly hurt their illustrious program in recruits' eyes.

Look, if I was a great high school basketball player and Mizzou were recruiting me, I wouldn't say ''oh I am not going to Mizzou because they lost to SLU. I am going to Mizzou for the great tradition, the Golden Girls, the journalism school and the Golden Girls.

One loss doesn't destroy a program.

And I gotta tell you, as good as Mizzou is, and I think they have legitimate Sweet 16 potential, SLU would show up and play. They are 10 and one for a reason with wins over teams from the BIG 12, PAC Ten, Big East and ACC. And they would be the one that would have a coach on the sideline with 500 wins and a Final Four on his resume. Rick Majerus kind of knows what he's doing.

Look, I love Mizzou. Kim English is my favorite player and Frank Haith is the most engaging coach the program has had in years, but play the game!

So what if Mizzou wins two out of three, which would likely happen. What also would happen is we would have basketball passion. I know you can't get enough of Mizzou and Kennesaw State and SLU and Illinois-Springfield. I mean its call the neighbors and wake up the kids when those games are played. The only people who can make these two teams play now is the selection committee for the NCAA Tournament. The Midwest Regional Final will be played at the Edward Jones Dome. I think 11-0 Mizzou will be here, and who knows about 10-1 SLU?

Kentucky wouldn't play Louisville for 20 plus years. Then in 1983, they met in the NCAA tourney. They have played every year since.

That's what we need - the NCAA to break the ice. And then when the game is over, each side will realize they didn't get cooties, but they did make the sports world go crazy.


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