Tappmeyer, now in his 17th season at Northwest, was at the helm when the Tigers and Bearcats played for the only time, on Dec. 17, 1996. Missouri handed Northwest a 77-56 loss. It was the last Division I game for the Bearcats until today.
Northwest visits Paige Sports Arena in Columbia tonight for the Tigers’ final exhibition game of the season. Game time is set for 7. Tappmeyer said he knows Missouri is the toughest competition his team will see all season and hopes that the game will be a learning experience for his players.
“I think exhibition games and scrimmage games, your main goals are to make your team better,” Tappmeyer said. “That’s what we’re trying to do is just to get down, and we feel like if we can make some progress and become a better rebounding team against that level of competition, it’s going to make it easier when we come back down to our level of play.”
The Bearcats have won at least 20 games in five straight seasons and are ranked No. 12 in the Division II Bulletin preseason poll.
Tappmeyer said he is also hoping to have some success running his offense against the Tigers. Playing well against Missouri would be a good early step in the Bearcats’ season.
“It’s going to be a very, very tall order; we know that,” Tappmeyer said. “We watched last week, and they’re a very good basketball team with some great athletes that play together well. It’ll challenge us, but I think we’re just looking to try and get better from the game.”
The Bearcats might have a little more trouble running their offense with the loss of 6-foot-1 guard Sky Wilson, who is out for a couple of weeks with a concussion he received Sunday. Tappmeyer said he was counting on Wilson to help with the press break.
This year Missouri’s game is much faster, but Tappmeyer said he hasn’t changed his practices to compensate. Instead he made sure his team was aware of the Tigers’ style of play and instilled in them the importance of getting back on defense. He said he wants his team to focus on the things that will be important later in the season.
Tappmeyer said he and his players are excited about playing in Columbia.
“We get to play against a very, very talented team and see how we match up,” Tappmeyer said. “It’s also nice and close so fans can get down to watch it, and my home is back in that area so it’s an opportunity for friends and family back there to get to watch it.”
One family member who will almost surely be at tonight’s game is Tappmeyer’s daughter, Andrea, who is a student at Missouri.