With more than 20,000 students, Missouri State has a prominent academic presence but clearly plays second-fiddle to the state's flagship university in Columbia.
School boosters sought a name change for more than 20 years before they were able to persuade state lawmakers to relent in 2005, with the most vocal opposition coming from University of Missouri leaders.
And efforts to convince the Big 12 Conference school to schedule a home-and-home series have gone nowhere, former player and coach Bill Thomas said.
"We would love to be able to play them every year," said Thomas, a member of the school's two NAIA title teams. "Of course, they're not going to play us, and I understand why. They have everything to lose, and nothing to win."
Freshman forward Nathan Scheer, who was named the St. Louis area player of the year as a high school senior, suggested that several years of continued success will make Missouri unable to ignore Missouri State as a potential opponent.
"I hope we would get the chance (to play the Tigers)," he said.
Martin is more content to let his team float under the radar. At least until the third weekend in March.
"We don't have to get caught up in who knows about us, who reads about us," he said. "As long as we're doing the things we need to be successful, that's fine."
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