I realize that there’s a fairly important football game this weekend. You may have heard about it since it’s all that ESPN has talked about for about 2 weeks now. I get it, it’s the big game. I would mention the name of the game, but I don’t have the express written consent of the National Football League, and I don’t feel like getting arrested. Don’t get me wrong. I love football. I’ve lived and breathed it since I was about 5 years old. Unfortunately, I would rather run full speed into a sliding glass door than watch the cities of Boston and New York battle for another trophy.
The real game this weekend is actually on Saturday and happens about 350 miles west of Indianapolis. It’s the next iteration of the Border War. For a detailed description of this rivalry and a video of how deep the hatred goes, please read this post. For the purpose of this article, let’s just say that it’s a basketball game between the University of Kansas and the University of Missouri.
Since I went to KU and my wife went to Mizzou, this becomes a pretty heated day in our house. For example, in 2007, the Jayhawks had a terrific football season and ended up beating Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl in our only BCS game appearance. Our only loss that year was to Missouri. On the other hand, they lost 2 games, both to Oklahoma. Since they had 2 losses, they got to play in the non-BCS Cotton Bowl where they destroyed Arkansas. Five years later, my wife still hasn’t forgiven me for the fact that we got to play in a BCS game and her team didn’t. Did I mention that it’s been 5 years?
This basketball game looks like it could be even more heated. Currently, KU is the #8 team in the country and Missouri is #4. It’s not very often that we run into each other when we’re ranked this high. The teams have very different styles. Kansas has a 6’10" beast at power forward named Thomas Robinson that allows us to dominate when we throw the ball inside. Missouri normally runs an offense that features 4 guards, so they like to run and play on the perimeter.
As a Jayhawk, I look at this game and get a little scared. While Robinson should be able to give us a huge advantage on the offensive side of the court, he’s probably going to guard a much smaller and faster player on the defensive end. Kansas doesn’t have a huge bench this season, and Mizzou loves to run the ball. It’s very possible that we could get tired towards the end of the game. Plus, the game is being played in Columbus, MO, so they’ll have the home court advantage. When I consider all of these things, what is my prediction? Jayhawks win by 25. Football may dominate this weekend, but Kansas dominates Big 12 basketball. It’s going to take more than a bunch of little guys and friendly rims to dethrone them.
So, if you need a primer to get you pumped for the big game on Sunday, turn to ESPN at 9:00 Eastern Saturday night. I can’t guarantee you a close game, but it will definitely be passionate. As an added bonus, when you look into the stands, you’ll actually see people cheering for the game. On Sunday, all you’ll see is a bunch of people that could actually afford a ridiculous sum of money to watch Madonna sing for 8 minutes. Maybe the Giants and Patriots will have a game for the ages, but my money is on the Kansas/Missouri tilt being more enjoyable.