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: Feb 25, 2012
Posted on: February 26, 2012 1:52 am

The Last Border War in Lawrence is the best

No, I'm objecting to 1) the refs and 2) a bunch of KU fans crowing about a bogus "win" that any reasonably objective person, if they see the replay in question, would have to say was completely undeserved.

Since: Apr 10, 2009
Posted on: February 26, 2012 1:47 am

The Last Border War in Lawrence is the best

You're not getting this. We don't have to be objective. We're passionate fans that root for a specific team. I have grumbled about games where we don't get (what we believed to be and replays would confirm) the call. It happens, its part of the game. If you want to be completely objective, you would say the Jayhawks should have won the game in Columbia and the Tigers should have won the game in Lawrence. But, that's not what happened. And, as much as I will go to the grave saying Mizzou flopped on TRob and changed the entire complexion of the game, it will not matter. Missouri won. It was still an exciting and fantastic game. Its no different with this one. So just, stop. Its over. There was no foul called, therefore there was no foul. Sucks for Mizzou, but that's the way it goes.

I mean, what are you expecting here? A large contingent of KU fans to petition the NCAA to change the call and bring the teams back together to play out your fantasy? Questionable calls happen, its part of the game. Sack up, and deal with it for crying out loud. This is starting to get emarrassing for you. 

Since: Feb 25, 2012
Posted on: February 26, 2012 1:30 am

The Last Border War in Lawrence is the best

I agree. Seven titles in a row is an unbelievable accomplishment. Actually, I will give you the 8th, because even if the refs don't screw up the Robinson/Pressey call, Mizzou only ties for the title.

But the refs did totally screw up that call.  

Since: Feb 25, 2012
Posted on: February 26, 2012 1:25 am

The Last Border War in Lawrence is the best

Sorry guys, if you read the strings below, you'll see that I actually liked KU growing up.

You obviously haven't seen the correct replay. Again, if you are even remotely objective, look for the replay behind the basket, ground level. Robinson completely screwed up: He leveled a guy taking a very difficult shot. He was so amped up that he stupidly obliterated the guy, jumping into Pressey, sending him to the floor, and then blocking the shot. He didn't go straight up to block the shot, he went "through" Pressey to block it. It was a terribly stupid play by a guy who was too psyched up. If the refs hadn't completely blown the obvious call, Pressey goes to the line, wins the game, and all the announcers criticize Robinson for a dumb play. Instead, the refs screwed up, and KU later wins the game on the stupid call late in OT. 

Since: Mar 4, 2008
Posted on: February 26, 2012 1:11 am

The Last Border War in Lawrence is the best

Really the calls in Columbia where fair???? Unbelievable, why not have enough class to admit when you are beat, just as KU was beat at Mizzou.that was an instant classic, have fun getting butt rapped in the sec, douchebag

Since: Mar 19, 2011
Posted on: February 26, 2012 1:11 am

The Last Border War in Lawrence is the best

Block was before the body, Mark. T-rob straight up, as well. Deal with it. The call on Tyshawn was more legit than many other calls in the game. 8 titles in a row is quite the accomplishment. Bad week for MU...... KSU, then KU.....good thing Wichita St isn't on the schedule next!!!

Since: Apr 10, 2009
Posted on: February 26, 2012 1:10 am

The Last Border War in Lawrence is the best

Well, I'm not obsessing over it like you and trying to rewatch the play from every angle. I already know what the outcome was: a clean block. Go look on the stat sheet, its there. And, I like how you automatically give Pressey the freethrows in a pressure situation. I also like how you completely dicount the possibility that even if he had made them, KU might have made a last winning heave. You see how pointless your hypothetical world becomes? You lost. You're upset that you loss. You have to rationalize the loss as the work of incompetent officiating, which happens at every game, and I know for a fact, that in at least one, often benefited Missouri.

So stop your whining. You lost. It was a great game, an instant classic. And officially: a clean block. I don't care how many times you pour over it like the JFK assassination trying to find the conspiracy. You lost, get over it. 

Since: Feb 25, 2012
Posted on: February 26, 2012 12:59 am

The Last Border War in Lawrence is the best

Read my string further below.

This isn't about calls "evening out." It's about an officiating crew totally screwing up at the end. If you pay attention to replays on Sportscenter, especially one that shows the view from behind the basket at ground level, you will completely understand, if you are even remotely objective and have a sense of fair play, why the complaints are arising.

It's very simple: If the ref makes the right call, which was completely obvious, Pressey goes to the line and wins the game.

No other call in this game, or in the one in Columbia, was even remotely as aggregious as this noncall. The only call nearly as bad was the stupid call against Mizzou on the drive at the end of OT.


Since: Feb 23, 2010
Posted on: February 26, 2012 12:52 am

The Last Border War in Lawrence is the best

Wow MU fans. Cry more. You blame the refs that you lost when you had a 19 point lead? No excuse for missing so many shots. What about the BS calls the 1st half that put T-Rob on the bench? What about the BS calls in Columbia? Missouri must be running low on tissues today...

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: February 26, 2012 12:52 am

The Last Border War in Lawrence is the best

In basketball the more aggressive team usually gets the greater foul calls. That trend continued Saturday in Lawrence when Missouri stopped being aggressive and Kansas picked up their aggressiveness. The Tigers were shooting perimeter shots. The Jayhawks were shooting in the paint. Listen to Clark Kellogg lavish praise on Missouri in the first half and then have to swallow his words in the second half. Look at the fear in their eyes as a 19 point lead evaporated at the end. Sure there are debates about calls. There were in the first KU-MU game this year as well. But the zebras did not blow a 19 point lead. They generally made good calls (when did you ever see a game when they were all made right?)

I get that Missouri wants to continue to play Kansas. They have only won 95 out of 267 and Kansas is a national basketball power every year. Sure they want to play. What is in it for Kansas? Not much. Kansas does not play Nebraska or Colorado any more either. The Big XII has been a hot bed of college basketball. This year Kansas wins an unprecedented eight staight conference titles. Perhaps that is why Missouri wanted out of the conference. It is not theirs to win. For those who saw this game it was all anyone could want it to be - except for Missouri.

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