Arizona Wildcats basketball: UA, Missouri agree to home-and-home series

Jamie Squire

The Arizona Wildcats and Missouri Tigers have agreed to a home-and-home series in 2015 and 2016.

The Arizona Wildcats and Missouri Tigers have agreed upon a home-and-home series for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 men's college basketball seasons. Both the Kansas City Star and CBS Sports' Jeff Goodman confirmed the reports on Wednesday.

The series opens at McKale Center on Dec. 13, 2015, and the Wildcats will head to Columbia to face the Tigers on Dec. 10, 2016.

Look no further than the two head coaches and their recent success at their respective schools for this coming together.

"This is a great series and will generate the type of national exposure fans and programs want early in the college basketball season," MU coach Frank Haith said in a statement. "I have so much respect for Sean (Miller) and the Arizona program and when you get two national brands playing in on-campus settings it's great for all of college basketball."

Haith and Miller are two of the hottest young coaches in the nation, and it's hard to argue that anyone outside of VCU's Shaka Smart or the Butler Bulldogs' Brad Stevens belongs in the same club as the two.

Haith left the Miami Hurricanes two years ago, and the 47-year-old coach has build the Tigers into a power quite quickly. Through nine games in which his Mizzou squad has gone 8-1 this year, Haith has a 37-6 record with the Tigers, who went 30-5 last year and fell as a No. 2 seed in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Compare that to the 44-year-old Miller, and the parallels are there as both quickly rose from lesser basketball programs and have quickly turned their respective big-time schools into teams widely respected among their peers.

Recent scheduling, this year especially, makes the Missouri series appetizing. Lute Olson was the king of putting together daunting schedules for his teams, and after his departure the Wildcats might have suffered had that trend continued.

Miller has been cautious with his scheduling thus far, choosing to face well-coached mid-major schools as opponents rather than throw his guys into the fire against the North Carolinas, Michigan States and Syracuses.

Now, the program has stabilized and the recruiting has wound back up. Finally, Miller can begin challenging his teams with more elite opposition.

As we've seen early on, the lack of competition could come back to bite Arizona this year. Such is why the Wildcats' game this Saturday against a No. 6 Florida Gators team is so important -- it's Arizona's only shot at building up the resume before they very likely head into a Pac-12 that has yet to prove it's strength as a whole.

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