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Big 12 basketball coaches will miss playing in Columbia

Thursday, February 16, 2012 | 6:47 p.m. CST; updated 7:13 p.m. CST, Thursday, February 16, 2012

COLUMBIA — Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford will miss Columbia when Missouri leaves the Big 12 for the SEC.

Even though his Oklahoma State team lost both games he's coached at Mizzou Arena, Ford is upset he won't be coming back.

"I hate that they're leaving," Ford said. "I really do."

During his playing days, Ford spent one season at Missouri before transferring to Kentucky. He was on the 1989-90 Missouri team that went 26-6 and spent four weeks of the season ranked No. 1. Missouri has not been ranked No. 1 since that season.

"I'm gonna miss it," Ford said. "I loved my time here. Loved it. I loved going to school here. I really enjoyed living and playing here for the year I was here."

What he will miss more than the nostalgia of his playing days is the Missouri fans — 14,324 of which showed up to watch Missouri beat Oklahoma State 83-65 last night.

"They have great fans here," Ford said. "Really great basketball fans who enjoy the game. I'm definitely gonna miss it."

Even Kansas coach Bill Self said he will miss coming back to Mizzou Arena.

After Missouri beat Kansas 74-71 on Feb. 4, Self said he doesn't see Missouri and Kansas playing again after this season in the near future, but he did confess to appreciating the Missouri fans.

"So much has been made about the hatred," Self said after that game. "I thought tonight, and this is hard for me to say to Mizzou people, that was about as good and classy atmosphere as there is. I hope it will be the same when they come to our place. I’m sure it will be."

Missouri plays Kansas in Lawrence on Feb. 25, the last time the teams are scheduled to play each other. The two rivals are tied for first place in the Big 12 with 11-2 conference records.

Men's basketball coaches aren't the only ones who will miss having Missouri around. Even though the Missouri women's basketball team doesn't draw the same type of fan support as the men, there is at least one women's basketball coach in the Big 12 that will miss coming back to Mizzou Arena.

"It's one of the nicest arenas in the country in my mind, it's one of the nicest facilities I've ever been in," Texas Tech coach Kristy Curry said. "I'm sad they're leaving the Big 12. I came into this league loving it just the way it was. Maybe in the future we can get something going."


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