As of earlier this week, Brady Morningstar hadn’t been bothered by Missouri’s infamous student cheering section, “The Antlers.”
“It’s kind of surprising because they phoned me all last year,” Morningstar, Kansas University’s senior guard from Lawrence, said.
“Both of ’em, Missouri and K-State, called me (last year),” he added. “I never answer (their) calls. I never talk to them on the phone. That’d waste my (cell) minutes. I need minutes,” he added, laughing.
Counting his red-shirt season, Morningstar has an 8-1 record against rival Mizzou — 3-1 in Columbia, site of today’s 11 a.m. Border War battle.
“The fans are fun at K-State and Missouri, but different,” Morningstar said. “K-State … they are at halfcourt and Missouri behind the basket. They say some mean things. The meanest thing? It probably wouldn’t be appropriate to put on camera or radio. It’s all fun and games. To me the more stuff they say ... the more fun it is.”
Like Morningstar, senior Tyrel Reed is looking forward to his final trip to Mizzou Arena.
“It’s a game everyone circles on their schedule every year,” Reed said. “The rivalry goes back hundreds of years. It’s big. It’s who people hate around here. I’ve grown up my whole life not liking Missouri.
“Even though I went on a visit there (as senior recruit at Burlington High), I knew in my heart I wanted to be a Jayhawk. We have to go take care of business. We know they have a good program. They really do. It’s going to be a tough one.”
The Jayhawks, who have clinched at least a share of their seventh straight Big 12 title, can wrap up an undisputed conference crown today. A loss, coupled with a Texas victory over Baylor, would make KU and UT co-champs.
“I think it’s Missouri, the rivalry more than anything else,” KU coach Bill Self said of motivation for today’s game. “If you play shirts and skins with nobody in the stands, I think our guys would be excited to play. I’m sure theirs would, too. That (rivalry) is primary. Actually, a chance to win the league outright is also a big factor.”
Self has a 16-3 career record versus Missouri — 13-3 in eight years at KU.
“I don’t know if it’s anything other than history,” Self said of the sometimes-bitter rivalry. “I’ve only been a part of it going on eight years, and I was part of a great Missouri rivalry when I was at Illinois also. This one is more intense, and there is more hatred. I think this stems back from ... I don’t think it’s the players or coaches or anything as much as it is how people have been raised — the area of the country where they have been raised. It comes back to statehood, both places. There is certainly a lot of pride that exists in both states, and this is the game that many people circle that are fans of each respective school.”
Early start: The Border War has an early-bird start time of 11 a.m. today.
“It’s as good as it gets,” Morningstar said. “It’s what you want to have, going on the road. At Missouri, go get a win, early-morning game, have a good bus ride home, but you’ve got to get your work done there first.
“Come (today), we’ve got to be ready because they’ll be ready. I know that.”
Marcus Morris on the matchup: “It’s definitely going to be a challenge. Going to Missouri is like going to ... I’m not gonna say, but it’s tough. It’s going to a place where everybody hates you. It’s something we don’t even know why. It’s definitely going to be tough. Hopefully we can be their first home loss because we don’t like sharing. If we could win it outright, it would be a good way for our seniors to go out.”
Anderson hopes to retire at MU: MU coach Mike Anderson told the Columbia Tribune he’s not interested in a possible head-coaching vacancy at Arkansas.
“I plan on being at Missouri for a long time, retire here,” he told the Tribune. “I’m happy. I think that’s the most important thing. It’s always about being happy.
“I’m here,” he said. “We’re talking about Kansas. We’re getting ready for Kansas. That’s what we’re getting ready for. That’s what I want to talk about. We’ve got a big game coming up. My point to you is that, No. 1, I’m a Missouri Tiger. We love it here. I said we’re going to win a national championship. We’re going to do it here. I plan on being at Missouri a long time. That’s where I’m coming from.”