Advantage Kansas in Border Cold War


Kansas head coach Bill Self talks about facing Oregon during a press conference on Friday, March 24, 2017 at Sprint Center.

Kansas head coach Bill Self talks about facing Oregon during a press conference on Friday, March 24, 2017 at Sprint Center. by Nick Krug

Somebody must have slipped something into former Missouri chancellor R. Bowen Loftin’s tea for him to be foolish enough to get into a tongue fight with an elite college basketball coach.

Full disclosure: I absolutely love that Loftin picked a fight with Kansas basketball coach Bill Self because the Border Cold War had faded into obscurity and lacked fresh tension. It needed a signature moment to put people on edge and Loftin provided. I just can’t imagine why Loftin thought he could step into the ring with a man who makes such a handsome living because he knows exactly what to say and when to say it.

As do all the top-shelf college basketball coaches, Self knows what to say in a recruit’s living room, flashing just the right amount of Southern charm, mixed with the proper dose of gravity to discuss the athlete’s financial future as an impending NBA star, and a quick wit that leaves them laughing.

He knows just what to say to a new arrival who makes the mistake of shifting into cruise control in an early season practice and it’s quite a different one than the message he delivers in a pregame talk before the team takes the floor for a Final Four game after he leaves his players with no doubt that he doesn’t have a shred of doubt that they will win the game.

Great college basketball coaches are great communicators. They love to get into a war of words because they so seldom do anything but crush their opponents.

Predictably, Self knocked the elbow patches right off Loftin’s tweed jacket and needed only one of his many communication tools to drop him flat on his back in the middle of the ring. All Self needed was humor to score the one-punch knockout.

Loftin blamed Self for not resuming the Kansas-Missouri football games at Arrowhead Stadium. “The problem was a man named Bill Self, who made it very clear this wasn’t going to happen,” Loftin told

Missouri and Texas A&M bolted to the SEC, abaondoing the Big 12, which spelled the end to their big rivalries. The Texas and Texas A&M rivalry also is on hold.

Read for the first time or re-read Loftin’s quote on those rivalries and then I have a question for you: “I think it’s more likely Texas will bend than Kansas as long as Self is involved. He has a big ego.”

When reading that did you also picture Loftin boasting to his friends at the Mensa Club meeting? You know, something along the lines of, “And then I said . . .”

If only Loftin had thought to compare paychecks before taking on the basketball coach of a perennial powerhouse. Loftin made $337,500 as chancellor of Missouri in 2016. Self makes $5 million. He should have taken on someone more on his pay grade, someone like a nuclear physicist or a world leader.

Self stood up, did a couple of quick stretches and scored a one-punch knockout with three quick sentences to the Journal-World's Matt Tait: "Tell the ex-chancellor I coach basketball, not football, and that we would never play a game in Arrowhead or even discuss it. It's too cold. We play our games indoors."

Loftin brought a Bic spitball shooter to a nuclear war and because of his lack of wisdom, the Border Cold War bubbled to the surface.

Thank you, chancellor!


Dale Rogers 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Actually, I thought the knockout punch and perhaps a challenge was when Self followed the above statement with something like "I'd love to meet him someday in Lawrence."

Pius Waldman 11 months, 3 weeks ago

What might be more fun would be to say well we will consider playing then never consider.

Titus Canby 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I totally disagree that the border war between KU and MU needed fresh tension. The border was is over. MU retreated. It's no longer an issue, and the quote from ex-chancellor what's his name should never have seen light of day. He and his former school are irrelevant.

To quote Donald Sutherland from the Dirty Dozen, "never heard of it."

Al Martin 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Exactly. My reaction was, "Who? From where?"

Mike Young 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Maybe if MU would make into the tournament they would get their chance.

Lance Hobson 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Of course we'd still beat them at Arrowhead in the snow. They're terrible.

Bob Bailey 11 months, 3 weeks ago

There are some additional feelings besides basketball! Some who went to Lawrence public schools as a fourth grader still remember that MU was a slave state; Lawrence led the Kansas Free State faction. Look at the name of our second high school.

Indeed one of our coaches was called on to address our teams before an MU game. He didn't pull any punches, letting everyone know being a Free Stater was important in a big way. Was in college with him.

Many of you may not have got the impression it doesn't matter any more, but to us with historical background, it's still damned important.

Kyle Neuer 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Perhaps, on some distant day when mizzou doesn't suck, they'll get invited to play in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Not us, mind you. Maybe WV. Baby steps.

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