Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 12/23/11
ST. LOUIS While legendary coach Bobby Knight was in St. Louis this week to call the Missouri-Illinois game, he stopped by a Saint Louis University Billikens practice to chat with longtime friend Rick Majerus. But Knight was confused why Missouri and Illinois were playing each other in St. Louis and not playing the Billikens. "They won't play us," Majerus told him. "I said, 'I'd play Illinois also so as long as you are on that, ask them both if they would do it'." While the Billikens were waxing Arkansas State 70-46 at Chaifetz Arena Thursday night, the Tigers and Fighting Illini were playing the annual Busch Braggin' Rights game a few miles down the road at Scottrade Center. But if Majerus and Saint Louis would get their wish, they'd be able to play Missouri in a similar setting. The fifth-year Billikens coach said he's tried to schedule Missouri since the day he arrived on the Saint Louis campus. Just why won't Missouri play the Billikens? "I don't know, you'd have to ask them," Majerus said. "They don't even return my call or letter. If they wrote back and said, 'We're so much better than SLU,' or, 'You guys are too religious,' or we're too cosmopolitan, I could live with all of that. But its like writing to Santa claus." The game understandably wouldn't make a lot of sense for Missouri, at least now. The Tigers are the bigger and more established team from a bigger, power conference. Missouri wouldn't benefit from a win but would stand to lose a lot should they lose. But Majerus, who played smaller state schools Weber State and Utah State while the head coach at Utah, doesn't see it that way. "It would be good for basketball," Majerus said. "It would be the right thing to do. It would be good for them financially. But when you have all that money, you don't have to worry about that. There would be a lot of good things about the game. "What would be negative about it, unless they lost. But you know what, I lost to Weber state and Utah State and obviously we were expected to win but those losses never really hurt me. It was a better test for our players and better for basketball in the state of Utah. Guys want to play these games. It's better for the media. It would be a good thing for everybody." Majerus has proposed a four-game series with games on both campuses and at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis and the Sprint Center in Kansas City. He's attempted to contact new Missouri coach Frank Haith about a possible matchup but said he's had the same luck getting through as in previous years. "I sent him a written correspondence and I left a voice mail and my assistants have talked to their assistants," Majerus said. "I think our AD has talked to somebody too. We said, a four-game series. They are saying they are going to the SEC for money. This series would sell out no matter how bad we were and if they were the greatest team in America. "They could have the greatest juggernaut in the history of college sports, and maybe they are the next Indiana undefeated, but the game would still sell out. You'd have four games as a sellout. And I'm an older guy, so play at my campus last, so who knows if I am even going to be here or not." Saint Louis Athletic Director Chris May confirmed the school's interest in playing Missouri but understood why the Tigers may not be interested in it just yet. "We'd like to play and they know we'd like to play," May said. "At some point I think it will make sense for both of us to play. Right now we're focused on scheduling who we can and keep building our program and they are doing the same and they are doing a good job with it. "We've both communicated that we'd like to play." Attempts to reach Missouri for comment were unsuccessful. In addition to Missouri, Majerus said he's currently trying to schedule games with Florida, Butler, Gonzaga, Illinois and Creighton among others. Majerus also took the time to rip fellow in-state school Missouri State for backing out a scheduling agreement they verbally agreed to last year. "You look at how Missouri State lied to us last year, blatantly," Majerus said. "They shook our hands and told us they were going to play and then didn't. I'll never play them until the day I die as a coach here." Missouri State had agreed to continue a series against Saint Louis but the two sides had not signed the contract. When Missouri State scheduled too many road games and needed to cancel a game, they backed out of the game against Saint Louis and hoped to just push it back until next season. But that apparently won't be happening any time soon. And neither will a matchup against Missouri.
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