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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Passage of time the biggest reason KU is set to renew its rivalry with Missouri on Saturday

Kansas head coach Bill Self gets at his players during the second half of the Showdown for Relief exhibition, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas head coach Bill Self gets at his players during the second half of the Showdown for Relief exhibition, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

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With the first official basketball game against Missouri in more than 3,500 days now just hours away, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self was asked on Thursday why the game is finally being played again.

His answer was short and sweet.

“Time’s passed," he said.

By now, Missouri’s well-known exit from the Big 12 Conference to the SEC and the impact it had on one of the best rivalries in all of college athletics has been well documented. And Self on Thursday summed it up simply as Missouri doing what it felt was best, that not sitting well with the KU crowd and a void in the rivalry being the result.

But with their first meeting since February of 2012 on the slate for 2:15 p.m. Saturday in the same building that it temporarily ended, Self acknowledged that a lot of the hurt and emotion associated with the break up had gone the way of water under the bridge.

“That’s a long time ago,” he said. “Maybe the biggest reason (we’re playing again) is because (MU coach) Cuonzo (Martin) and I wanted to play the game.”

Regardless of the reasons, Self said the return has brought back a flood of memories in recent weeks. From big games and moments to memorable players — on both sides — Self has said in various settings throughout the week that the history of the rivalry has as much to it as any he has experienced.

But beyond any of the specifics, one general vibe about the KU-MU rivalry seemed to stand out to Self above all others.

“Regardless of how the seasons are going, regardless of how stale we are, how stale they may be at that particular juncture of the season, it just seems to all go away on that one day,” he said. “That doesn’t guarantee you playing well, but it guarantees the energy level being so high to give you the best chance.”

The Jayhawks will be a heavy favorite in Saturday’s matchup, but Self and his players know they have to be at their best and be prepared to take the Tigers’ best shot in order to come out on the right end of the outcome.

KU guard Ochai Agbaji, who went to high school in Kansas City, Mo., and has friends on both sides of the rivalry, said Self had been “amped” throughout the week.

Self laughed at that notion.

“I haven’t seen Ochai since we played UTEP (on Tuesday),” he said. “Because (Wednesday) was our off day. But good for Och saying that. I guess I was amped Tuesday. I have said all along that Tuesday’s game set up a terrific setting and atmosphere for Saturday’s game.”

McCormack OK

After injuring his ankle in Tuesday’s victory over UTEP in Kansas City, Mo., Kansas forward David McCormack is on track to play against Missouri on Saturday.

Self said Thursday that team doctors told him that the swelling in McCormack’s injured ankle had gone down and that he was feeling good and ready to practice on Thursday.

“That’s good news,” Self said.

Reunion time

Although nothing official has been established, Self said he expected 20 or more former players to be in the building for Saturday’s clash with Missouri.

One of the biggest reasons that is possible is because all of the KU players who have experience in this rivalry are no longer playing in the NBA.

Sherron Collins and Jamari Traylor briefly spoke to the current Jayhawks about the significance of the rivalry following Tuesday’s victory over UTEP. But Self said he did not have anything else planned in the way of speeches from past players.

“If they come to practice or whatever I’ll let them say something,” he said. “I think we’ve got quite a few (ex-players) coming this weekend and they’ll want to be a part of it.”

Comments

Tony Bandle 8 months ago

Random Thoughts:

1] Kicking their ass this year won't be quite as exciting because they suck.......who am I kidding!!! It will be wonderful for us to kick their asses under any circumstances!!!!

2] I am afraid, however, that they'll get their revenge on the football field.

3] Being a Missouri Jayhawk has had its challenges recently so this game should be a great equalizer.

4] THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO WAY WE LOSE!! WE MUST WIN.......BIG!!!

5] How old is Norm Stewart now, about 110 ???

6] We need a third player beside Ochai and Braun to excel every game to be dominate.......David, are you listening???

Robert Brock 8 months ago

Stop scheduling Missouri. We don’t need to help them with their recruiting.

Dale Stringer 8 months ago

How does making them look bad help their recruiting?

I am perfectly fine with renewing the rivalry since every one of their leaders that took them away were either fired or forced to resign.

Bryce Landon 8 months ago

Doesn't it also have something to do with the fact that the people running UM-Columbia at the time are no longer in power there?

Jim Dickerson 8 months ago

Tony---

RE#5....I was at KU when Norm was a player so that would put him at 85+/-. Mentally he was 110 30 years ago.

Dirk Medema 8 months ago

Tony - It sounds like you might live in misery, but there are only Kansas Jayhawks. A person’s location is incidental to their identity.

Has mizzoo been relevant in anything since they left? Have any of the uni’s? NU has a couple womens programs; vball is a top seed.

At the end of the day though, we’ll need to play well because upsets happen. #1 Purdue just lost to a mediocre Rutgers team and we’ve already lost once to a mediocre team.

David is starting to come around, now we need JWil and Remy to get complete games going. JCL and Joe too.

Robert Brock 8 months ago

KU will not make Missouri look bad. They ARE bad. They are also ugly…REAL ugly. It’s because they are naturally ugly being Missourians.

Eliott Reeder 8 months ago

HEY NOW! My wife's from Mizzurah! LOL.

Bryce Landon 8 months ago

A woman once came into Kansas As ugly and mean as a bear. Her chin was so furry, They sent her to Missouri. She won a beauty contest there!

~Don Mueller, "The Ballad Of Black Jack"

Rodney Crain 8 months ago

I would disagree with you Robert, but I can't. lol

Andy Godwin 8 months ago

KU continues to under achieve, not necessary in wins and losses but in consistency. They have not played a complete game for quite some time. It is likely the result of playing so many different combinations of players, something that Self has not done in the past. When the Big 12 starts he tends to go with 6, 7, maybe 8 players depending on foul trouble. The depth is great, but only when they are playing well together. KU is developing a bad habit of playing poorly once they establish a substantial lead. They are not putting teams away after coming out of the locker room for the second half, i.e., Dayton (lead by 10 in first half and lost), Iona (won but lead by 15 at half and got outscored 52 to 50 in the second half), St Johns (won but lead by 13 at half and St Johns pulled within 3 in second half, before KU righted the ship), UTEP (won, but played an inferior team even in the second half - 31 to 36 including 6 late points by KU walk-ons). Yes, Missouri is on paper inferior, but KU has not shown to be an elite team that plays well from the tip to the final whistle. May a good game to play well for an entire game and send the tigers home with their tails between their legs. Rock Chalk.

Rodney Crain 8 months ago

I hope Missouri wins. They Won't but if they could it would silence all the rivalry noise.

This game is beneath us.

Kit Duncan 8 months ago

Respectfully Rodney, speak for yourself! A true fan NEVER, EVER wishes for his/her team to lose. EVER!!! RCJH

Rodney Crain 8 months ago

Kit Kit Kit, This game is nothing but a pr grab. It would only serve us right for KU to lose. It looks by every reason we will win, but it is beneath us to play MU. They are terrible. They offer nothing to us. Who cares if we beat them by 30/40 100 points? It just does not matter.

I am not wishing for them to lose, I would love it for us to lose to spite the fools that keep drumming up how much we hate MU.

You can not live in the past, you cannot change it and you cannot leave a conference and all the traditions you are invested in for Money. Still expecting to get your money and keep all the things you want to take with you when you leave. It makes us look like we are helping MU out, while taking a PIE in the face and saying please can I have another.

Len Shaffer 8 months ago

It will never be remotely close to the rivalry it was unless they're in the same conference as us again ...

John Smith 8 months ago

I am not sure I believe Bill Self when he says he’s looking forward to playing this game. I think was more Jeff Long’s idea and Self went along with it and is now stuck with the deal.

Bryce Landon 8 months ago

Bill Self may be many things, but he's not dishonest.

Rodney Crain 8 months ago

Self said as much John when MU left. He saw no reason to play them.

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