Kansas-Missouri Men's Basketball Border War Returning In '20
The Border War between Kansas and Missouri will "return to the men's basketball schedule" beginning with the '20-21 season, according to Matt Tait of the LAWRENCE JOURNAL-WORLD. KU officials last night announced the "creation of a six-game series" against MU that will begin next season and feature two games at Sprint Center in K.C., two games at Allen Fieldhouse and two games in Columbia. KU coach Bill Self said, "We all felt the timing is right to renew the rivalry. Even though we haven't played the last few years, I know it was something our players and fans missed, and so did I." MU left the Big 12 in '12, and after a five-year break, the Border War returned in October '17, with the two teams "playing an exhibition game against one another at Sprint Center to raise money for hurricane relief." The rivalry between the schools, which was known until '12 as the "longest continuous series west of the Mississippi River in college athletics," dates back to 1907 (LAWRENCE JOURNAL-WORLD, 10/22). In Kansas, Matt Galloway notes both schools have "met in various sports in postseason play" since MU's departure to the SEC (TOPEKA CAPITAL-JOURNAL, 10/21).
EXPANDING TO OTHER SPORTS: While the current agreement is exclusive to men's basketball, KU AD Jeff Long said that this was the "'first step' toward expanding the rivalry across other sports." In Missouri, Reckamp & Lederman in a front-page piece note MU is also "open to the possibility" (Columbia MISSOURIAN, 10/22). MU AD Jim Sterk: "It's a rivalry that college basketball deserves, and we look forward to delivering that tradition to fans across the nation. ... Hopefully, this renewal on the hardwood will lead to more opportunities down the road in other sports, too" (COLUMBIA DAILY TRIBUNE, 10/22).
HISTORY MATTERS: In K.C., Vahe Gregorian writes this rivalry was "always bigger than the institutions themselves or their current caretakers." As much as MU "antagonized KU by leaving and as much as KU wanted to posture that MU thus didn't exist any more, they remained in each other's DNA." The only "real losers" were all of the fans "missing out on something unique that was and should be part of the fabric of this community." It is "not immediately clear what precipitated the resumption of the series." Multiple regime changes "no doubt are part of the thaw," and Self and MU coach Cuonzo Martin have "great respect for each other." Gregorian: "Sheer time surely has helped soothe things, too" (K.C. STAR, 10/22).