Mizzou basketball leaps into AP Top 25 at No. 20

Missouri's Kobe Brown, center, celebrates a three point basket in front of Kentucky's Chris...
Missouri's Kobe Brown, center, celebrates a three point basket in front of Kentucky's Chris Livingston, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022, in Columbia, Mo.(AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)
Published: Jan. 2, 2023 at 11:43 AM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - After two wins over ranked opponents in the last two weeks, Mizzou basketball has debuted in the AP Top 25 at No. 20 in the latest release of the poll on Monday. Missouri is ranked in the AP Top 25 for the first time since February 22, 2020.

The Tigers are 12-1 in the first season for new head coach Dennis Gates, who came to Columbia from Cleveland State in March to succeed the fired Cuonzo Martin. Under Martin, Missouri made two NCAA Tournament appearances in five seasons but bottomed out last year with a 12-21 record.

Missouri opened the non-conference schedule with a 9-0 record against weaker competition before getting blitzed by rival Kansas, the defending national champions, in Columbia in early December. The Tigers responded with a win over UCF before knocking off then-No. 16 Illinois in the Braggin’ Rights game, 93-71 at Enterprise Center on December 22.

Missouri followed up that strong performance by opening up SEC play with a dominating win over then-No. 19 Kentucky, 89-75 on Wednesday at Mizzou Arena. The win was Mizzou’s 12th of the season, equaling last season’s win total by late December.

The Tigers will get another major opportunity to prove themselves with a trip to Fayetteville to take on No. 13 Arkansas this coming Wednesday night.