One of the greatest rivalries in the sport of college basketball has been renewed. We are less than two weeks away from the start of the 2019 season, but Monday night’s announcement has us already counting down to December 12th, 2020.
The Border War is officially back, and I couldn’t be more excited.
Two games in Kansas City, two games in Lawrence, and two games in Columbia. What a fantastic setup. Athletic directors Jeff Long and Jim Sterk deserve a whole lot of credit of bringing this historic rivalry back, and they did it by absolutely nailing this scheduling.
This was a no-brainer move by both sides, and this is a huge win for everyone involved. Josh Matejka even says that this is Cuonzo Martin’s biggest victory yet.
The fans want this (well, most of them anyway), the media wants this, and college basketball wants this.
College basketball needs this. For a sport that doesn’t create the highest interest among the casual fans until the month of March, they desperately need games that fans are dying to see in the early stages of the season to get the attention.
Yeah, I think this one will do.
I mean, these two teams sold out the Sprint Center for a charity exhibition on an NFL Sunday afternoon in 2017. And trust me, that wasn’t an “exhibition”. (editor’s note: as someone in attendance can attest, yeah... there was nothing exhibition about this)
Next season, this rivalry will count again for the first time since the 2012 campaign. It may never get back to that same level that it was back in 2012, but it’s still going to be Missouri and Kansas playing each other, and that’s a glorious thing.
And since Missouri-Kansas is now a non-conference rivalry, it has the potential to challenge Kentucky-Louisville as the best. Since Missouri moved to the SEC, their biggest rival in basketball is Illinois. I love Braggin’ Rights and look forward to that game every season, but just like the Cardinals and Cubs, it’s a friendly rivalry (and there’s nothing wrong with that). Sticking with baseball here, Missouri-Kansas is Red Sox-Yankees and Dodgers-Giants territory.
This is has always been considered a basketball rivalry, and there’s no coincidence that Jeff Long and Jim Sterk put the hardwood as the first priority. They can bring back football if they want to, but I’m sure the majority of people are satisfied if it will only be for basketball.
The return of this rivalry may mean more to Missouri than Kansas, and that’s okay – but both teams have everything to gain by playing each other. There is no downfall for Kansas here by playing this game.
Not only will bragging rights be involved, but both teams are going to have chances to build their resumes by playing a non-conference game in a true road venue and neutral floor – whether that’s competing for a No. 1 seed or just getting into the NCAA Tournament. No matter how each team’s season goes, winning this game will be considered a success. That’s what a rivalry is.
This made too much sense to bring the rivalry back, and it’s been a long seven years without it.
Kansas leads the all-time series 172-96. They are the more superior program and they will probably win the majority of this six-year series.
It doesn’t matter. The Border War is back, and it’s a win for everyone involved. Thank you to Bill Self for finally allowing this to happen, and I truly mean that.
December 12th, 2020 can’t come here soon enough.