COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Mizzou men's basketball team is set to host rival Kansas on Saturday, but head coach Dennis Gates says the game plan and preparation is no different than any other game this season.
"My job is to prepare our team for every game no matter the opponent," Gates said. "Consistently as a head coach you want to make sure our guys are prepared for the next opponent so this will be a day that we prepare for Mizzou basketball and my job is for my team to be their biggest opponent."
Watch the full interview with Dennis Gates in the player below.
With only three returners on the roster playing in the rivalry before, Gates is looking to see how his team will react in the environment.
"This will be the first time it will be a complete sell out this season," Gates said. "As a head coach I'm interested to see who my players are in this situation."
Gates had a lot of praise ahead of the game for Kansas head coach Bill Self, who also has a connection to coaching mentor Leonard Hamilton.
"I know Coach Ham is going to be sitting back watching the game as he mentioned to me today," Gates said. "I'm sure it will be a good time for him to watch as a mentor to both of us."
Although this is Gates' first season with the Tigers and experiencing the rivalry first hand, he said as "a basketball savant" he's heard a lot about what this matchup means.
"Those things give you the special quality as to why college athletics are so special," Gates said. "You have generations of families, friends, loved ones, alumni who all come back because these rivalries existed and this is one that people have circled and they make plans to be back."
Kobe Brown is one of just three players that have played in the rivalry before last season at Allen Fieldhouse where the Tigers fell 102-65. After the loss, Brown says he feels like they owe the Jayhawks a bit of revenge.
"This is serious and it means a whole lot more to the community than it may to us from us not growing up around here," Brown said. "We have to give it our all because we owe it to everyone here."
With 12 players on the team never experiencing a Kansas game before, Nick Honor says they've been looking to the returners and coaching staff that have experienced the atmosphere before to give them some insight.
"Stay in the moment," Honor said. "We know it's going to be a big time game, there's going to be a lot of people here, but at the end of the day it's just basketball."
Mizzou will meet Kansas Saturday at Mizzou Arena at 4:15 p.m.
The full interview with head coach Dennis Gates can be found in the player above.