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Preview: Mizzou basketball set for first look against Kansas

KANSAS CITY – Michael Porter Jr. and the Mizzou men’s basketball team is set for its first exhibition game of the 2017 season against rival Kansas.

The game is the first time the two teams have played each other since Feb. 25, 2012 when Kansas beat Mizzou by one point. The Tigers left the Big 12 for the SEC following the season. Kansas head coach Bill Self vowed to never play Mizzou again after Mizzou joined the SEC.

While Self said today’s exhibition has “nothing to do with playing Missouri,” the Tigers and Jayhawks will meet again at 3 p.m. at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.

Mizzou faces a tough test as Kansas is coming off a 31-5 season that ended with a loss to Oregon in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. Mizzou meanwhile finished just 8-24 in 2016. However, the Tigers landed a top five recruiting class and hired Cuonzo Martin as its head coach.

Martin told reporters Saturday he envisions nine players working into the rotation. He said the same rotation you see today will likely be what he uses going forward. However, Martin would not say whether today’s starters will be any indication as to who will start during the season.

Michael Porter Jr. will get his first chance to show why he is the nation’s top recruit. The Columbia native is one of five freshman on the roster that figure to see playing time this season. Mizzou returns players such as Terrence Phillips, Kevin Puryear and Jordan Barnett. Porter Jr. said the mix of young talent with more experience players makes this team “special.” His brother Jontay Porter went so far as to say he does not envision “hardly any team beating Mizzou this year.”

As for Kansas, the Jayhawks return just two starters from last year’s team. However, one of those is senior guard Devonte Graham who is expected to be one of the top players in the nation this season. He finished last year as a member of the All-Big 12 second team and averaged 13.4 points per game.

We will have full coverage of Mizzou vs. Kansas up on our website right after the game as well as tonight on SportsZone starting on Fox 22 at 9:30 and on ABC 17 at 10:30.

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