Blog Entry

The Last Border War in Lawrence is the best

Posted on: February 25, 2012 10:03 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 11:56 pm

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Thank you John Brown, Bloody Bill Quantrill, Norm Stewart, Phog Allen -- and God.

If Saturday was the last Missouri-Kansas game, then it will be everlasting. YouTube, cell phone and video all will preserve the images. But there will also be memories. Good, old-fashioned remembrances that will be handed down from generation to generation. Synapses that will fire one on death beds one last time for some of the 16,300 who witnessed a classic -- and a shame.

In the 105th year of the rivalry, Missouri and Kansas played with the urgency that this was their last regular-season conference game against each other -- which was fitting. If this is truly it for the Border War, the hoarse, sweat-drenched fanatics who jammed Allen Fieldhouse will go to their graves knowing these teams never played this hard against each other.

Until Saturday.

"It's a shame that it's going to end," Kansas' Bill Self said, "but it’s definitely going to end. Playing them once a year with nothing on the line doesn't carry the same value as playing twice a year with a championship on the line."

That was the central theme Saturday with Missouri leaving for the SEC after this season. No matter what happens, it's just not going to be the same anymore. Post SEC announcement, the Kansas stance has been: "Missouri is the one leaving the conference, why should we do them any favors by playing them in the future?" Missouri's general retort: "Why are you throwing away all this tradition?"

Nothing is scheduled and may not be for a while -- if ever.

So it terms of a walk-off to the rivalry, it was David Freese in Game 6. It was Kanye dropping rhymes, then dropping the mic and walking offstage. It was a kick in the jewels to tradition.

In the 267th meeting between these two eternal rivals, KU-MU played one that could have lasted from here to eternity. In the end, it was elongated by one overtime and won by one point. Kansas, 87-86. 

Missouri could have been a contendah, stealing the last Big 12 title they would ever play for and keeping it forever. Instead, Kansas clinched at least a share of the conference title for the eighth straight year. For the Tigers, SEC-ond place never felt so bad. 

“That was as good as it gets,” Self said. “Plus, recruits were here so I was hamming it up too.”

Self saluted the crowd in is own walk-off [the court]. They did their part raising the decibel level somewhere between 747 takeoff and Who concert. Jayhawkers couldn’t have stood for Missouri winning its final game in Lawrence. One woman sprinted down an aisle in the final seconds with a sign stating: "Missouri Forfeits A Century-Old Tradition. Kansas Wins."

For now. Yes, the series is over but with an asterisk. We should all root for a rubber match in next month's Big 12 tournament. That would probably be in the championship game. Talk about walk offs.

They're both good enough that a fourth meeting in the NCAA tournament is not out of the question.

"I wouldn’t have a problem playing them again," Kansas’ Tyshawn Taylor. "Sign me up."

But the series is definitely over in Lawrence which already begs the question: How long will all this be remembered? Just recall how the rivalry started, amid the bloodshed of the Civil War.

There was a fan dressed up as John Brown, the revolutionary abolitionist. NCAA national championship trophy in one hand, 2008 Orange Bowl trophy in the other. Noted pro-slave terrorist Quantrill and his raiders -- thankfully not portrayed on Saturday -- burned Lawrence to the ground 160 years ago. Of the four persons listed in the lede of this blog -- both real and basketball Border War participants -- only one is still alive.

And good, old Norm, bless is heart, just turned 77.

So roll over Phog Allen, tell Bill Self the news.

It wasn't just the best game of the college basketball season, it was arguably the best of those 105 years. Missouri was up 19 in the second half. The last time Missouri led at Kansas by 19 was the Paleozic Era, or at least 1999. That was the last the Tigers won here.

Kansas made less than half its free throws in the first half which had to delight the Missouri fan at the top of Section 15. Each time a Jayhawk would go to the line he'd scream "S-E-C." Kansas fans were beside themselves. Amid the silence providing their beloved Jayhawks with the needed concentration, they couldn't respond.

It was the perfect strategy until Kansas made everything, scoring 55 in the second half and overtime.

Kansas' Thomas Robinson ran into foul trouble, then played himself back into the national player of the year conversation with 28 points and 12 rebounds. If T-Rob does nothing else the rest of his career, they will commission paintings of his swat of Phil Pressey’s driving layup as time expired in regulation.

The ball landed somewhere east of here in DeSoto, Kan. OK, that was hyperbole. The painting, though, was actually the real deal. There was an artist in a corner of the old gym going Leroy Neiman on a canvas as the game went on.

"Playing Missouri, unfortunately, does mean something," Self admitted. "It means something to me. I was at Illinois and coached against Missouri when I was there. I hated nothing more than losing to Missouri."

That hate may never be felt on the court again. Kansas will continue to be a national power. Missouri basketball will fit nicely into the SEC. But now it’s over, at least in Lawrence. We'll just have to remember Saturday being the best.

"I read an article … it said pretty much how I feel. It's not the same," Self said. "Missouri has got to market their future. We're their past.

"[But] for it to end like this is pretty cool."

Category: NCAAB
Since: Dec 21, 2007
Posted on: February 26, 2012 7:20 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Nov 4, 2007
Posted on: February 26, 2012 7:02 pm

The Last Border War in Lawrence is the best

Great article Dennis. As much as I despise Missouri as a Jayhawk fan I am torn between the Border War not being played again for the forseeable future and saying Antlers you will get your wakeup call with joining the SEC.  Rock Chalk!

Since: Feb 25, 2012
Posted on: February 26, 2012 6:40 pm

The Last Border War in Lawrence is the best

From another paper/reporter ...

But a few seconds later when Mizzou had the ball with a little under 10  seconds to go and 5-foot-10, 175-pound guard Phil Pressey drove to the hoop  trying to win the game at the buzzer, the 6-foot-10, 237-pound Robinson swatted  the shot away with a clean block, but then came crashing down on Pressey's  shoulders and bounced him to the floor after the shot as the buzzer sounded.

No foul was called.

Not cool. Not cool at all.

When someone asked Haith about that play, saying Pressey was "mugged," Haith  just chuckled.

"He got mugged?" his voice raising in mock surprise. "Yeah, there was a lot  of contact.

Read more:

An absolutely stupid way for any team be denied a chance at a title. It was the worst noncall, at the end of a championship game, that literally decided who won or lost, that I have seen. Period.  

Since: Aug 25, 2008
Posted on: February 26, 2012 6:33 pm

The Last Border War in Lawrence is the best

edit - Joe and Doug didn't say disgraceful. (Highly) questionable. MM deemed them disgraceful. Sorry.

Since: Aug 25, 2008
Posted on: February 26, 2012 6:21 pm

The Last Border War in Lawrence is the best

mizzoumark, you've been up all night responding and spewing your bs (bias sh*t). The calls in Columbia according to you "were in fact, correct" and the calls for KU as well as the non-calls for KU yesterday were disgraceful. Leading national columnist and commentator both stated so. And you are actually correct in that regard. They did say that. But national columinist as well as national commentators questioned the "charge" calls against KU in Columbia. Apparently, they were in FACT wrong according to you, but yesterday the same people were in FACT correct. Do yourself a favor. Put down the meth pipe, get some sleep and when you wake up later in the week maybe you'll be more coherent. Bottom line, you lost! Now, that's a FACT!

Since: Nov 29, 2007
Posted on: February 26, 2012 4:47 pm

The Last Border War in Lawrence is the best

While I enjoyed the outcome for a variety of reasons, I'm already tired of all these barking heads calling this the best game ever in the series.  Short memories, these guys have.  Recall that double OT game in Columbia, when Missouri beat KU?  Think it was 1997.  Only regular season game KU lost all year.  That was an amazing game, probably even better than yesterday.

Glad Kansas won, could have gone either way (obviously).  Probably will play again in the Big 12 Tournament.  Not quite over yet, folks!

By the way, wasn't Baylor supposed to win this conference?     

Since: Feb 25, 2012
Posted on: February 26, 2012 3:14 pm

The Last Border War in Lawrence is the best

From one paper ...

Robinson, a player-of-the-year candidate, cleanly blocked the ball but made significant body contact with Pressey.

When a reporter suggested that Pressey was mugged ...

Since: Feb 25, 2012
Posted on: February 26, 2012 3:09 pm

The Last Border War in Lawrence is the best

Perhaps if you idiots had anything more than a two-second attention span, you'd read the string and see my first post, which was highly complimentary of KU. I used to live on the Kansas side when young, and still like them. KU's recent string of recent titles is pretty incredible, but I already said all that earlier, which you somehow ignored. 

But none of your Final Four appearances, national championships or recent league titles have anything to do with what happened at the end of the game yesterday. In addition, there is literally no comparison between what you believe were questionable charging calls in Columbia, which were in fact correct, and Robinson's complete obliteration of Pressey at the end of the game yesterday. 

That noncall decided a league title. Which is why reporters, a national commentator on Sportscenter, and me are criticizing it.     &n

Since: Feb 26, 2012
Posted on: February 26, 2012 12:50 pm

The Last Border War in Lawrence is the best

I didn't see Bill Self say "I wanna see the foul" on either of the phantom fouls that forced Robinson to sit most of the first half, which, by the way, is when Missouri was able to go from a two point lead to twelve points. I don't see Missouri fans recalling the two phantom charge fouls at the end of the game in Columbia, fouls which gave them that game, by the way. And here I thought perhaps Frank Haith had brought a little class to Missouri. Nope. Just more of the same old thing.

I can't imagine why anyone would want to have to put up with such low class antics as the Antlers bring to the table. And the low class hatred of Missouri fans. Missouri might need Kansas but Kansas doesn't need Missouri. Good bye, Mizzery. Don't let the door...

Since: Jan 21, 2010
Posted on: February 26, 2012 12:43 pm

The Last Border War in Lawrence is the best

Your bitching is accomplishing nothing. We earned this title. You are the sorest sore loser I have ever seen on any message board. Go fuck yourself, douchebag.

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