“We’ve got eight of those things now,” KU senior guard Tyshawn Taylor said of Big 12 championship trophies. The 2011-12 hardware will be delivered by the league office to KU at a later date per Self’s wishes.
Self clinched at least a share of a Big 12 crown Saturday against Missouri. That's eight straight.
How many conference championships has Mike Krzyzewski won during that span? Two.
Tom Izzo? Two.
Jim Calhoun? Two.
Billy Donovan? Two.
Rick Pitino? Two.
Jim Boeheim? One.
Only Roy Williams — five championships in the ACC — is within shouting distance of Self since 2005. You have to go back to John Wooden (1967-75) to find a streak of eight straight in a major conference.
Just think, Bill Self could've been at Nebraska. OK, not quite.
But Bill Byrne did pursue Self in 2000 after firing Danny Nee. Instead, Self left Tulsa for Illinois. In 12 seasons since (three at Illinois, nine at Kansas), Self has never finished worse than second in his conference. His worst league record in that span is 11-5.
…Most of college basketball's best-known coaches are within shouting distance of retirement. Boeheim, Calhoun, Krzyzewski, Williams, they're all over 60. Pitino and Izzo are close.
Self is 49. He owns 10 regular-season championships in the Big Ten and Big 12. How long until he's recognized as the best in the business?
March looms large. Self wears scars of NCAA tournaments past. But there is a good omen on the horizon.
Kansas is expected to begin NCAA tournament play March 16 and 18. In Omaha.
In 2008, Self began his only Final Four run here. Sixteen days after he left Omaha, Kansas cut down the nets in San Antonio.
Omaha World Herald
KU AD: Kansas grabs a share of eighth straight conference crown
CBS ULIVE Free Video:
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KU AD: Postgame stats, quotes, notes, recap, photos
Big comeback against the bitter rival ends with the home team winning, and we all know what happens next. The students make like water breaking through a dam and stream onto the court, forming a sea of flailing bodies.
Not here. On game day, those who pay to walk through the door for a two-hours-and-change show don’t make it about themselves in Allen Fieldhouse, not when the athletes are under the same roof. They know the stage belongs to the players and don’t believe in desecrating it with the footsteps of mere mortals, even when the show happens to have been greater than any they had ever witnessed, replete with a plot twist as improbable as it was delightful.
The patrons left the building Saturday sweating and smiling, shaking their heads over an affirmative response to a pair of questions they no doubt couldn’t stop asking themselves:
1. Did I really just witness my Kansas basketball team recover from a 19-point, second-half deficit to defeat the nation’s third-ranked team with Missouri on its chest in what could be the final time the rivals meet in a long, long time?
2. Did the coach who has on his roster a band of basketball players who lead more with emotion than intellect, so often don’t take great care of the basketball, shoot well only in streaks, are cursed with a penchant for spacing out, really just clinch a tie for his eighth consecutive Big 12 title? Even with an eight-man rotation that has two former walk-ons and a mid-major transfer still trying to find his way, and, oh, by the way, just one returning starter from a team that lost two lottery picks and a pair of starting perimeter players?
How and how?
The answers to both questions can be traced to the same qualities. The team that defeated Missouri, 87-86 in overtime, is packed with bold players who believe in their ability to win every battle. And they believe their general, coach Bill Self, will prepare them better than the other team’s general. What the players might lack in style, they more than compensate for with a loud competitive streak. Competing is what they do best.
LJW Keegan: Border Warriors prove mettle
The game went into overtime. Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor pulled Kansas ahead. Missouri’s Marcus Denmon made huge shots that were like noise-canceling headphones to Allen Fieldhouse. Tyshawn Taylor made two free throws with 8 seconds left. Missouri couldn’t get off a shot before the buzzer. Anyway, that’s how the ending seemed. Nobody heard the buzzer because Allen Fieldhouse exploded into a million tiny pieces.
Only in the exhale did realization hit: The best rivalry in college basketball is over. The best. Oh sure, people will talk about how Missouri and Kansas could play each other in the Big 12 tournament … so what? Maybe, at times, the slot machines will spin 7s and Missouri and Kansas will play each other in the NCAA Tournament — that will be nice. And yes, maybe someday Missouri and Kansas will work out some arrangement to play each other once a year in some nonconference carnival. But that won’t be the same.
Missouri and Kansas have played blood basketball for more than 100 years. That’s over now.
But, wow, what a way for it to end.
…The first Missouri-Kansas basketball game I ever wrote about for The Kansas City Star happened 15 years ago in Columbia. I won’t lie: I was pretty arrogant about college basketball then. I had lived in North Carolina when Dean Smith reigned in Chapel Hill, when Jim Valvano raged on the sidelines for N.C. State, when Mike Krzyzewski was young and Duke was ascending. I felt pretty sure that was real college basketball and the rest of the country played a perfectly fine but inferior brand.
Here it is, all these years later, and I’ve been to North Carolina-Duke, I was courtside for Kentucky-Louisville, I’ve watched basketball in Pauley Pavilion and the Palestra and Assembly Hall, and was surrounded by orange in Stillwater and Syracuse. Those places are great. But I have never seen a college basketball game quite like that first Missouri-Kansas game. Until Saturday.
…It was simply a different kind of basketball than I had seen in North Carolina or Kentucky or Indiana or anywhere else. I know that everybody believes their personal rivalry is fiercer and tougher and more intense than any other. But when I saw Kansas play Missouri that day in 1997, I was convinced. This was the best college basketball rivalry going.
…“Missouri was playing with house money,” Self said. Kansas players, meanwhile, seemed to be playing with houses on their backs. The Jayhawks missed eight of 15 free throws, had as many turnovers as assists and trailed by 12. This should not take away just how well Missouri was playing, though. Those three guards — Denmon, Pressey and Michael Dixon — were pretty much unstoppable, and Ricardo Ratliffe dominated inside. That seems like a team that can beat anyone in March. When the second half began, Missouri kept dominating, and Missouri led by 19.
Kansas’ comeback moved in slow motion. There really wasn’t any one play that turned things around. Kansas just started chipping away a bit. Elijah Johnson made a couple of three-pointers. Conner Teahan made a couple of three-pointers. And with about 10 minutes left — with Missouri still up 11 — everyone in Allen Fieldhouse all at once seemed to realize that Kansas still had a chance to win this game. And that’s when the noise turned up. I’ve seen probably 75 or 100 games in Allen Fieldhouse over the years. Those last 15 minutes, well, I never heard it that loud.
(Interlude: I just got an email from the magnificent baseball writer Bill James. “It said this: (1) That was possibly the greatest live sporting event I’ve ever seen. (2) A phrase for your article: Hugging strangers. By the end of the game we were hugging strangers.”)
…You can’t stop progress or time. What is that line from the play “Inherit the Wind” about airplanes? “Mister you can conquer the air, but the birds will lose their wonder and the clouds will smell of gasoline.”
Mister, you can make college sports bigger and bigger, make more and more money, reach larger and larger audiences … but the conferences will look like gibberish and Kansas won’t play basketball against Missouri anymore.
When it ended, sure, there was some emptiness. Which takes us back to that kid holding the sign. He was across the court, so it was difficult for me to see him, but from what I can tell he looked to be maybe 18 or 19, and he was decked out in Kansas colors. His sign said: “KU Won’t MIZZ-you.”
And you know, it was relatively clever, as far as signs go. But something about it bothered me. I did want to walk over to him and whisper in his ear: “Yeah, you will, kid. You will miss Missouri. You will miss all this more than you can ever know.”
KC Star Joe Posnanski (I miss you Joe!)
“We probably should have won the game,” Missouri coach Frank Haith said. “Just (like) Kansas probably felt they should have won the game at our place.”
Oh yes, about that 74-71 Missouri win on Feb. 4 in Columbia. The Tigers showed a lot of resolve in that game, mounting an 11-0 run that erased an eight-point deficit with 3 minutes to play.
…“We had the game in our hands,” Missouri senior guard Kim English said. “We gave them a gift.”
…“They shot 33 free throws, a lot of those came in the second half,” Denmon said. “When you’re living at the free-throw line and scoring while the clock is stopped, it’s easy to chip a lead away.”
Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self had a heart-to-heart talk with junior forward Thomas Robinson on Thursday — a day after Robinson was whistled for a technical foul in the final minute of a 66-58 victory at Texas A&M.
“I was really disappointed in him Wednesday. I think he was feeling pressure. Today he didn’t (feel pressure). He played to win. In no way did he think about anything but winning the game,” Self after watching Robinson score 28 points and grab 12 rebounds in KU’s 87-86 overtime victory over Missouri.
“He was great today. That’s what the best players do. They make plays with the game on the line,” Self added of Robinson, whose basket and foul shot tied MU at 75 with 16.1 seconds left.
His block of Phil Pressey’s driving layup with two ticks left assured overtime.
“Without being too critical, he was the polar opposite today than he was in College Station. That wasn’t him in College Station. Here’s a guy who didn’t play last year or as a freshman, wasn’t a McDonald’s guy (out of high school), not a highly recruited kid by highly recruited standards. He’s now one of two for national player of the year and has his family counting on him to do things and has everybody in his ear, doesn’t have people in his family necessarily tell him, ‘I’m proud of you regardless of what happens,’” Self added.
Robinson was beaming after the victory.
“It was big. Revenge, payback … it definitely feels good,” he said. “It felt like someone just jumped us (in building 19-point lead) and ran away, and finally we caught up with them. I can’t even put this into words. I don’t think I’m ever going to be part of something as big as this game was tonight. Just when I thought we couldn’t get to another level, we stuck together and got better tonight.
“I don’t think you can put a team in a tougher situation at home,” added Robinson, who hit 10 of 21 shots and eight of nine free throws. “We were down 19 against a Top Five team and we stuck to it and got through it.”
…Former KU coach Larry Brown, as well as former KU assistant coach Lafayette Norwood, plus ex-Jayhawk players Eric Chenowith, Nick Collison, Xavier Henry, Matt Kleinmann, Raef LaFrentz, Christian Moody, Brady Morningstar, Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris, Kevin Pritchard and Wayne Simien attended. Also in attendance: actor Rob Riggle.
They saved the best for last.
In their final regular-season meeting as conference opponents, Kansas and Missouri staged a game for the ages with the Jayhawks somehow prevailing 87-86 in overtime on Saturday.
...Amid deafening Allen Fieldhouse joy, Travis Releford pulled off his jersey and ran around the floor. KU coach Bill Self raised his arms in triumph.
And a crushed Michael Dixon had to be helped up off the floor.
Fourth-ranked Kansas, 24-5 overall and 14-2 in the Big 12, had just clinched no worse than a share of its eighth straight Big 12 regular-season championship. A win in either of its final two games, or a Tigers loss, gives KU the title outright.
…In the end, Kansas senior guard Tyshawn Taylor took a bow. His two free throws proved to be the game winner and the moment couldn’t have been sweeter.
Earlier in the month, Taylor missed two free throws late in the Jayhawks’ three-point loss at Columbia and he hadn’t been reliable from the line in late-game situations.
But with 8.3 seconds remaining, the first one slid through, tying the score. The second swished.
“I’m glad I got to shoot them,” Taylor said.
…The comeback started when Johnson made a couple of three-pointers during Mizzou’s flurry to open the second half. If those bounce away, who knows what happens.
“He made the huge threes when we stunk,” Self said. “Those kind of go unnoticed but they were huge plays.”
…“We could have won by 20,” Self said. “And it wouldn’t have been as sweet as the way we won it today.”
All day Saturday, the tension cascaded throughout Lawrence. Students had camped out for days. The sidewalks outside Allen Fieldhouse were lined by 1 p.m.
And 90 minutes before tipoff, a man named Patrick Walker stood on the sidewalk on Naismith Drive, just across the street from the fieldhouse. Walker, a 1987 Kansas graduate from Chicago, had arrived in town with his father Bob, a 1952 graduate, and his 12-year-old son Bo.
“How much?” Walker asked a ticket scalper.
“Six,” the scalper said.
And seconds later, Walker was reaching into his wallet and handing over $1,200 in cash for two precious tickets.
“I actually already paid $650 each for two others,” he said. “I literally didn’t care. I was going to this game. I didn’t care how much it cost. If I got a couple extra grand in the bank when I’m 80, or I went to the last KU-Missouri game at Allen? Who cares?”
…After the game, Kansas coach Bill Self would be asked what he was feeling in those moments when it looked as if the Jayhawks were done.
“This would have been a sad ending for a lot of people,” Self answered.
The Jayhawks, of course, were not done. And the final minutes of regulation and overtime unfolded like so many other furious Kansas runs inside Allen Fieldhouse.
,,,Yes, Kansas and Missouri may play one final time at Sprint Center in the Big 12 tournament. Self would welcome it. But after Saturday, there will be no more afternoons in Allen Fieldhouse like this one.
“It’s a shame that it’s gonna end,” Self would say. “But it’s definitely gonna end.”
The first time Kansas ran the play, Thomas Robinson scored, got fouled and hit a free throw that tied the game in the final seconds.
The second time Kansas ran the play, Tyshawn Taylor dunked after making a backdoor cut, giving KU a one-point lead in the final seconds of overtime. It’s a play the Jayhawks run late in games, a play they’ve used in big moments before.
“It’s the same exact play that won us a national championship,” Taylor said.
To describe exactly what goes on during “the play” is a bit complicated, because it has so many variations and options. But the Jayhawks turn to it late in games, allowing them to use their guards and big men together with screens, pick-and-rolls and cuts.
“Out of that play,” Taylor said, “we just have a lot of different options.”
Kansas coach Bill Self turned to the play twice out of timeouts when his team really needed a basket. And both times the Jayhawks ran it flawlessly, getting easy buckets both times.
…“That’s a play that we have designed specifically for late games,” KU guard Conner Teahan said. “But coach Self, I’ll tell you, he’s a mastermind when it comes to those plays.”
What this means for Kansas: KU has accomplished one of the most underrated feats in college sports by winning an eighth consecutive Big 12 title -- especially considering this was supposed to be Self's worst Kansas team. The Jayhawks lost four starters from last year's Elite Eight squad. In the waning minutes Saturday, the Jayhawks had a walk-on (Conner Teahan) on the court, along with a Loyola Marymount transfer (Kevin Young) who averaged about 8 points a game at his previous school. Kansas also won without much of a contribution from center Jeff Withey, who turned his ankle in the opening half and hardly played after intermission. More important to Kansas fans is that the Jayhawks will have bragging rights again -- and perhaps forever -- on their most hated rival. Kansas leads the all-time series 172-95.
ESPN Rapid Reaction
ESPN Video: Tyshawn Taylor interview by Jason King
Outside Allen Fieldhouse, nearly an hour after the most memorable game in the venue's storied history, a black chartered bus with gold stripes and a Show-Me-State license plate idled in the parking lot.
One by one, each member of the Missouri Tigers basketball team walked past armed security guards and made his way toward the door. Matt Pressey stopped and signed items for autograph seekers, Michael Dixon hid his face beneath a gray hoodie and Marcus Denmon slouched in his seat as he peered through a tinted window.
…At 6:27 p.m. CT, the Border War was over.
The driver's foot pressed a pedal and the Missouri Tigers were whisked away from Allen Fieldhouse and Lawrence.
…At least the final regular-season contest between Kansas and Missouri was the most thrilling one -- a 2-hour-and-24-minute spine-tingler that ended with KU coach Bill Self pumping his fists at midcourt like a boxer in the center of a ring after a title fight.
Sweat beads dotted Self's forehead. His face was red with exuberance.
"This was as exciting of a game as I've ever been a part of," said Self, who has indicated he has no interest in continuing a series with the Tigers when they move to the SEC. "It wouldn't have been a disgrace to lose to a good team, but it's Missouri. You've got to win."
…The hype leading up to the final edition of the Border War was as intense as it's ever been. All week long, fans of both teams bickered back and forth on message boards and radio call-in shows. Former players from both schools talked trash on Twitter. Forty-eight hours before tipoff, Self told reporters he expected the game-day crowd to be as emotional and intense as Allen Fieldhouse has ever seen.
The atmosphere didn't disappoint.
Ushers and elderly fans wore neon ear plugs, as the noise level reportedly rose to 120 decibels, which is comparable to the sound of a jet taking off less than 100 yards away. Videos poking fun at the Tigers played before the game and during timeouts. In the stands, former KU greats such as Raef LaFrentz, Nick Collison and Marcus and Markieff Morris watched as Kansas attempted to claim its eighth straight Big 12 title -- while also avenging a 74-71 loss to Missouri earlier this season.
"It's so loud," said Dixon, who scored 17 points for Missouri. "When they scored a basket, it felt like they scored 10 baskets."
…Watching from the stands, Taylor's mother, Jeanell, covered her eyes and then peeked through her fingers as her son stepped to the line. She breathed a sigh of relief after Taylor swished his first foul shot. And after he made the second one?
"I broke down and cried," Jeanell said. "That's my baby."
Taylor chuckled as Jeanell told the story.
"Can you believe her?" he said. "Drama queen."
Deep down, though, Taylor understood his mom's emotion and the magnitude of the moment. The New Jersey native arrived in Kansas in the summer of 2008 knowing nothing about the Kansas-Mizzou rivalry.
But four years later, there he stood Saturday, one of the heroes of the most riveting Border War game ever.
And probably the last one, too.
"The games may be over," Taylor said. "But the rivalry isn't. It will always exist."
ESPN Jason King
ESPN Video: Katz and Gottlieb recap Saturday
Judging by my Twitter feed -- which may or may not be a representative sample of all of America (OK, it isn't) -- you were probably watching this game, so there's little need to recap it minute by minute. (Plus, our own Jason King has you covered, and he'll have more from Allen Fieldhouse to come.) Instead, let's take a moment to review the state of the national player of the year race, in which Thomas Robinson remains very much a factor. Anthony Davis (as you'll see just below) has crept closer and closer to Robinson in recent weeks, and rightfully so: Davis' game-changing talents are the main reason Kentucky is so difficult to beat. But Robinson isn't ceding to the freshman without a fight. His performance today -- Robinson posted 28 points and 12 rebounds -- was a dose of mastery at the season's most important time. Even within the game, Robinson was the hero: His game-tying three-point play gave Kansas the tie in regulation, and his subsequent block of a streaking Flip Pressey with just four seconds remaining pushed the game to overtime. Whenever Kansas needed a big play, Robinson gave it to them.
Let the player of the year arguments rage on. If you can pick one player over the other, more power to you. Because I certainly can't.
In any case, I'm going to go watch the replay of this game. More than once, probably. When the college hoops gods serve up something this good, you can't discard it after one use. Whatever happens to the Kansas-Mizzou rivalry now, regardless of the Big 12 tournament, we'll always have this. Thank you, hoops gods. We love you, too.
ESPN What we learned from Saturday
So, college basketball's regular season doesn't matter? Ask Missouri's Michael Dixon, who collapsed to his knees and then his back when the Tigers failed to launch a shot on their final possession. Ask Kansas' Thomas Robinson, who made the defensive play of the game and nearly ripped apart his jersey when the final buzzer sounded.
"We're never going to be part of something as big as this game was tonight," said Robinson, who finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds.
Ask the 16,300 who turned Allen Fieldhouse into a sound cauldron that left ears ringing. A jetliner at takeoff registers 120 decibels. As the second half started, the scoreboard showed a decibel reading of 118. It was louder as the Jayhawks clawed back from a 19-point second-half deficit. When Robinson's blocked shot sent the game to OT, the decibels reached 128; 130 is considered the threshhold for possible hearing loss.
…"Words can't even describe it, for real," said KU senior Tyshawn Taylor whose free throw with 8 seconds remaining provided the winning points. "This game mattered to us. They beat us last time. And it was for the Big 12 championship. That's what we play our season for. After every huddle, every game and every practice, we yell, 'Big 12 champions.'"
CBS analyst Clark Kellogg shook his head and kept repeating "unbelievable" in the moments after the game as the KU fans continued to rock their chalk.
…Kansas needed all of its Phoggy magic to beat a Missouri team that lost consecutive games for the first time this season. Former Jayhawk Scott Pollard used a wireless microphone to whip up the students after they entered the building. A student dressed as John Brown – a central figure in the real Border War that helped start this two-state rivalry – re-imagined a famous painting, holding a replica 2008 Orange Bowl trophy instead of a bible and a replica NCAA championship trophy instead of a musket.
Former Jayhawks Raef Lafrentz, Nick Collison, Kevin Pritchard and members of last year's team were introduced during media timeouts. At halftime, new KU football coach Charlie Weis introduced his coaching staff. He wrapped up with "Let's get it going in the second half and get a rally started."
Robinson's 3-point play with 16 seconds remaining in regulation tied the game at 75. Phil Pressey used a screen at the top of the circle to drive for a left-handed layup. Robinson swatted it. "Honestly, I think my eyes were closed," he said.
Actually, he had been guarding English in the left corner but appeared at the rim to block the shot and send the game into OT.
…English, Haith, Denmon and Ricardo Ratliffe sat at a table in the interview room facing two dozen mini-cams and about 100 journalists. If that didn't make the postgame tough enough, outside the doorway, across the hall from the Kansas locker room, they could hear KU fans rhythmically chanting "Let's go ... Jayhawks."
Big 12 Sports
Tyshawn Taylor simply smiled, shook his head in disbelief, and tried to describe his emotions.
"I'm so proud of my teammates," he said finally. "They stuck it out, man."
In the final scheduled game between Kansas and Missouri, it was only fitting the two bitter adversaries would need five extra minutes to decide it.
Robinson's three-point play in the waning moments of regulation kept their 105-year-old rivalry alive, and Taylor's foul shots with 8.3 seconds remaining gave the fourth-ranked Jayhawks a dramatic 87-86 victory over the No. 3 Tigers on Saturday.
“To me, it’s about this team winning its eighth straight championship,” Self said. “For this team to come as far as it has, winning its eighth straight – I’m not the most emotional guy, but that was as good as it gets.
“Plus, there were recruits in, so I was kind of hamming it up, too.”
…“The one thing about our players: Just because the roster changes, the expectations don’t,” Self said, “They committed to it, and they’ve amazed me, to be honest.”
…That neither Kansas nor Missouri was able to win the game it dominated suggest it might be worthwhile to try this again in a couple of weeks in the championship of the Big 12 Tournament, see if maybe they can play an ordinary basket-for-basket classic instead of one of these dramatic comeback deals.
…“The conference tournaments are important, but they’re for seeding,” Self said. “It doesn’t determine your conference champion.”
That ended Saturday in the Big 12, in the same way as it does pretty much every year.
"This loss doesn't define our season," English said, adding, "This isn't football. We're not out of the national championship running with a regular-season loss."
But that wasn't much consolation in the moment as the Tigers dropped their 13th in a row in Lawrence, dating to MU coach Norm Stewart's last season.
The teams could see each other again in the Big 12 tournament finale.
But KU will always have this one, the exclamation point on a series it now leads 172-95.
"That's an 'I was there' game," said KU director of basketball operations Barry Hinson .
…KU finally tied it 75-75 with 16.1 seconds left on a three-point play by Robinson after a foul on Dixon, a play Haith said he'd like another look at.
As Dixon put it, "My hand was on top of the ball, and he caught it and it went through my hand. And I got the foul."
Seconds later, Robinson emphatically blocked Pressey's move to the hoop at the buzzer to send it to overtime — despite emphatically hitting Pressey, too.
"He was mugged?" Haith echoed a questioner, smiling and adding, "Hey, some of the bounces don't go your way."
Taylor hit a 3 to open OT and give Kansas its first lead since the first half, but MU went back ahead, 84-83, on a Denmon 3. And the Tigers led 86-85 on his basket before Taylor's two free throws with 8.3 seconds left.
MU had one last chance, but Dixon got tangled up with the ball and couldn't get a look or get it away to Denmon in time for a shot.
"I drove and Thomas Robinson kind of bumped me a little bit, and I dribbled the ball off of my body," Dixon said, adding that he got turned and was momentarily "kind of disoriented."
ST Louis PD
The atmosphere Saturday was impossible to describe with words. Words do not adequately replicate the experience of absorbing the noise that topped 120 decibels at five or six points in this thrilling contest. This is like having your nose pressed against the hull of a 757 aircraft with the jet engines going full-bore for two hours. My ears still are ringing, and I want more. I want a lot more. I want this rivalry to keep going like a Groundhog Day dream, because this installment of the Border War might have been the finest of them all.
This is one of those games that disproves the silly theories from some folks that the college basketball regular season is meaningless. Tell that to the fans from both sides who turned Mizzou Arena and Allen Fieldhouse into the loudest places on earth.
Maybe that's why the Tigers and Jayhawks went into overtime to settle this last scheduled game between the foes, why the what-might-have-been-the-end of the rivalry ended with the drama of a scramble as the last precious seconds squeezed off in a building that was so loud and rowdy that no one was sure the game was over until you got sight of the referees waving their hands wildly in the air. You couldn't hear the final buzzer.
This game had everything you could have wanted. National TV. Ultimate drama. High stakes. Overtime. Controversy. It had star players trading big baskets. It had smart coaches matching one good strategy against another.
It had so many lead changes (19), ties (12) and mood swings that when it was over, there were exhausted Kansas and Missouri fans everywhere who were able to exhale for the first time in nearly 2 1/2 hours. It had everything you could have expected or wanted from what might be the final MU-KU battle, everything that is but a happy ending for the Tigers.
…"Arrrrrrrggggh," Sunvold groaned. "I know it was a great game, but ohhhh man, I really do hate those bleeepin' Jayhawks." And that, folks, was the Mizzou in Sundvold talking, an eloquently coarse lament that may have echoed the exact sentiments of an entire heart-broken state.
St Louis PD
If a rivalry that was first soaked in bloodshed must indeed end, the spirited showdown waged on a basketball court named after the game’s inventor was a pretty good way to settle this whole feud over SECession.
After losing a game they shouldn’t have lost earlier in Columbia, the Jayhawks won a game they shouldn’t have won.
…And never have so many stayed quite so long to take in what they just saw. They roared again as KU coach Bill Self left his postgame TV interview waving his index finger after the Jayhawks secured at least a share of an eighth straight conference title.
Every student who could give up 10 packets of Ramen noodles for one Sharpie brought a sign.
One guy came dressed as John Brown and posed for pictures while assuming the famous mural pose, holding out makeshift NCAA Tournament and Orange Bowl trophies.
Why, a centennial mascot was even introduced, designed to resemble the 1912 Jayhawk, though it really proved that dead birds are usually better left untouched.
All the fun that English referenced was still going on right outside the interview room as the Tigers dejectedly answered questions. A group chanted, “Let’s Go Jayhawks.’’
Fortunately, the joy they expressed was civil. For the most part, the whole afternoon was, from the time the Missouri staff and players sauntered into the building around 1:50 p.m., until their bus took off around 6:30.
Virtually everyone offered some kind of personal goodbyes, though a few Mizzou fans turned out too, including some who came dressed in gold shirts emblazoned with the SEC logo.
The end is now official in terms of scheduled basketball games. The whole business about conference realignment was never about basketball anyway. If it was, Mizzou wouldn’t be leaving.
Michael drove down from Omaha, Neb., just to see the game, a 19-point comeback thriller that Kansas won 87-86 in overtime. Jon flew in from Colorado with the dual purpose of seeing the game while also seeing his younger brother.
Before arriving in Lawrence, Jon looked for tickets on Craigslist. He found a couple of people willing to sell tickets for $300 each. He sent emails but never heard back.
He showed up to Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday willing to spend that much. Instead, he encountered a ticket famine.
“I’ve never been to an event where there have never been tickets for sale,” Jon said. “Somebody is going to pay something for them. I’ve seen so few. Well, nobody really.”
The brothers said they saw only one ticket being sold. It went for $400.
Two factors played into the rarity of tickets. First, Kansas and Missouri are top-five teams battling for the Big 12 Conference title and a possible No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. That in itself creates demand. But this game also marked the last time Missouri will visit Allen Fieldhouse for some time — at least as long as coach Bill Self and athletic director Sheahon Zenger are still at KU.
“You’d think this was something more,” Jon said. “It’s still a college basketball game. Let’s call a spade a spade. Then again, this is one that most people care more about. This one goes beyond a basketball game for a lot of people.”
As Jon and Michael kept checking their phones for the time they would call the search off, Jon looked down the road at another man on the prowl for tickets.
“That guy over there dropped from four to two,” Jon said, “which means that either two members of the family gave up hope or they actually got tickets.”
Standing a short walk away from the Lynch brothers, Rob Brandner also held up two fingers along Naismith Drive. Brander drove from his home in Sioux Falls, S.D., early Saturday with his fiancé and two daughters looking for tickets.
About 40 minutes before tipoff, though, Brandner’s ticket demand decreased from four to two.
“We’re down to two realizing that four is impossible at this point,” Brandner said.
Brandner said he was willing to pay $200 per ticket, but he hadn’t even seen a ticket for sale in nearly two hours of looking.
“I’ve never seen an event where there were so few tickets for sale on the street even if they were selling them for a high price,” he said. “There just aren’t any tickets.”
UDK: 'Ridiculous' comeback
As fans gathered to watch the final installment of the Border Showdown Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse, there was another battle brewing between the University’s men’s basketball fans.
Since the beginning of the season, a fight to take the “whoo” out of the Rock Chalk Chant and stop fans from yelling “home of the Chiefs” at the end of the National Anthem has erupted.
When campers gathered last Saturday for the lottery at Allen Fieldhouse, organizers asked those in attendance not to “whoo,” yell “home of the Chiefs” or wear anything but blue. They said that Bill Self didn’t approve of the chants and asked campers to follow tradition.
Significantly less people sang “home of the Chiefs” during the game, and the words “home of the brave!” appeared on the Jumbotron with the image of the American flag waving in the background.
The “whoo” was less audible than it has previously been, but was still present in the crowd even though a Kansan poll showed 85 percent of voters wanted to remove the "whoo."
The Kansas-Missouri basketball rivalry peaked Saturday. It had to. I watched the game from my living room and was totally wrung out. They say it was never louder in Allen Fieldhouse. I both believe that and am amazed by that.
I was in the fieldhouse the 1990 night that No. 1 KU played No. 2 Mizzou. Never experienced noise like that in my life, and never will again I'm quite certain. I was a KU senior then, and I remember going home to my apartment late that night, walking into a dark bedroom, collapsing onto a bed, closing my eyes and trying to just settle down. I fell asleep to the ring in my ears, and swear I woke up to it the next morning.
By all accounts, it was more intense Saturday than it was that night 20 years ago. Or any other night in KU basketball history. Only the last (for now) game against Missouri could provoke that kind of insanity. That's what it looked and sounded like to me, anyway, watching from my living room. Sheer insanity.
For the sake of this blog, then, I thought it worth asking: As of today, what's the fiercer rivalry?
Or OU-Texas football?
Has to be OU-Texas. Right? I mean, it's a football rivalry, and football is why we're all here. It's why decisions are made. How money is made. It's the reason that KU-Mizzou is going away, Mizzou passing itself off as a football school and joining the richest, baddest football conference in America.
Has to be OU-Texas, never mind money and TV and realignment. Every year, that game has a direct impact on the two teams' championship dreams. You can't say that about KU-Mizzou. You can't say that about any basketball rivalry, since everything's basically for pride until March.
Think of all those stakes across all those years of football for both OU and Texas. All of those one-shot deals for all of those players. They get two cracks at each other every year when it comes to KU-Mizzou basketball. A third, occasionally, at the conference tournament.
Think of all those times OU and Texas have used their get-together as a springboard to national glory. How many times has that come to pass for Missouri, still running low on conference championships and completely void of a single Final Four appearance?
…But you know something… The level KU-Mizzou reached this basketball season, the level it reached Saturday in Lawrence… Man…
Generations of hatred boiled over is all.
See, this is what folks around here don't quite understand; I had no idea, until I went to college at Kansas. Oklahoma and Texas are neighbors, but nobody from Texas ever crossed the Red River and burned Norman to the ground. No Okie abolitionist ever waged a holy war on the proslavery Lone Star State.
NPR: Money ends college sport's oldest rivalries
"The next coach may play [Missouri]," Self said. "The next president, the next A.D. may force me to play."
But for now, it's history.
"For people to end it over a dollar sign makes no sense," Robinson said. "Tradition and rivalries are priceless."
But this one had its price.
It's called conference realignment.
An open letter to Kansas: Don't let it end
Dear Kansas people who get paid big bucks to make smart decisions,
Pardon my passion, but I just finished watching a basketball game that defined instant classic.
One overtime wasn’t enough. I wanted 12. This was the cliché game, the one no one wanted to end.
…Eh. Missouri fans might learn to hate, say, Kentucky. But trust me, Kentucky fans won’t deign to hate you back.
So Kansas, I urge you to bury your anger and do the right thing. Play one game a year in Kansas City. Play it on campuses. Play it wherever.
There’s not a lot out there these days to convince people that college athletics is little more than the back-stabbing antithesis of collegiality. You can change that. You can be the bigger university.
Think about that.
You can be the bigger university.
Wouldn’t that be a helluva thing to laud over your most hated rival?
ESPN (Where are the articles begging Texas to keep playing A&M? I'm amused by all this feigned angst from ESPN. Most "Rivalry Weeks" revolve around their beloved Duke/UNC games. They hardly gave KU/MU a second thought.)
Final BORDER WAR in Lawrence. The Images Edition.
Final BORDER WAR in Lawrence. The Tweets Timeline Edition.
Final BORDER WAR in Lawrence. The Videos.
Final BORDER WAR in Lawrence. What I saw.
KU AD: OSU pregame notes
With the deafening din of Allen Fieldhouse ringing in their ears after Saturday’s breathless overtime triumph against Missouri, the fourth-ranked Jayhawks get their first crack at owning the Big 12 championship outright against Oklahoma State at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Tip off is around 8 p.m.
“It will be a gut check as much as any we’ve played,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “If we could pick a game not to play on Big Monday, it would be this game.”
But play they must, against a Cowboys team that’s coming off an 18-point home victory over Texas A&M, and one that’s defeated Missouri, Iowa State and Texas on its home floor.
The source of the Jayhawks’ potential energy drain isn’t hangover from celebrating at least a share of its eighth straight Big 12 championship, but exhaustion.
Trailing by 19 points three minutes into the second half, Kansas battled to post the greatest comeback victory by the home team in the building’s 58-year history.
It took player-of-the-year type moments from Thomas Robinson — a three-point play with 16 seconds remaining to tie the game at one end, a block of Phil Pressey’s left-handed drive on the other — to ensure overtime.
…The news on the injury front also is good. Self said Sunday that center Jeff Withey, who sprained an ankle early against Mizzou and played only nine minutes, is probable for tonight.
In the Jayhawks’ 81-66 home victory over Oklahoma State on Feb. 11, Withey had 18 points and a career-best 20 rebounds.
…Oklahoma State could be shorthanded. Freshman standout Le’Bryan Nash missed Saturday’s game against the Aggies after suffering a fracture in his left hand in the previous game to Oklahoma. Cowboys coach Travis Ford said availability will be a game-time decision — Ford’s.
“He says he wants to play,” Ford said after the A&M game. “They basically left it up to me. He really wants to play.”
A Kansas victory — or a Missouri loss in either of the final two games — means the Jayhawks will have the conference championship for themselves for the fifth time in the eight-year run. In 2005, 2006 and 2008, KU shared the crown.
“We want to own it outright,” Self said. “Why share it when you can have it to yourself?”
“That was the craziest game I’ve been a part of. For a game I played in, it was the most awesome experience of my life,” added Teahan, a fifth-year senior out of Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst High.
In the wake of all that unbridled emotion comes the stark realization that today — just two days after the taming of the Tigers — the Jayhawks (24-5 overall, 14-2 Big 12) again must take the court in an 8 p.m. ESPN Big Monday contest against Oklahoma State (14-15, 7-9) in Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“I will do what I need to do to get back to where I need to be Monday,” said Teahan, who played a career-high 37 minutes versus Mizzou. “I’ve never seen a win in Stillwater. Nobody else on our team has seen a win there. That’s motivation in itself.”
…Self said Sunday that junior center Jeff Withey is “probable” for tonight’s game. Withey twisted his left ankle in Saturday’s game. ... The Jayhawks drove a charter bus to OSU late Sunday afternoon after a short 15-minute practice.
Self won’t be surprised if the Jayhawks are a step slower than normal.
“They’re not going to go to bed Saturday night, not because they’re going to be out doing anything wrong,” Self said. “They’re going to be geeked up.”
This isn’t the ideal state for a trip to Stillwater, where Self is 1-5 as a head coach. The Jayhawks lost there two years ago when they were ranked No. 1, and KU’s national title season in 2008 included a loss at Oklahoma State, too.
This OSU team isn’t great, but the Cowboys figure to be at their best for Keiton Page’s final home game.
“Oklahoma State is like a whole different team when they’re playing at home,” Taylor said. “The last time I played there, we lost, and we were the No.1 team in the country.
“It’s going to be tough, man, but we understand how important this is to us and everybody that supports us.”
Dear Oklahoma State fan,
On this day, I want to make sure you know one thing—It's Monday.
If you're anything like me, you've sleep walked through the day with an energy drink permanently affixed to your hand and dark bags hanging like dead weight under your eyes.
That's a usual Monday for just about every person these days, especially your typical college student.
But this Monday is different.
On this day, February 27, 2012, there is a different feel.
Today just so happens to be the two-year anniversary of the 2010 Oklahoma State upset over the top-ranked Kansas Jayhawks.
…"GIA isn't what it used to be. This place was deafening. A madhouse. It used to be an advantage."
I may have heard it more than anyone, as my Twitter wars (@brendon_wm) that have erupted from me simply saying, "It's loud in GIA" have been well documented.
Now, it has turned into an empty arena, where students start the timeless "Orange Power" chant as alumni sit and stare at them as if they're speaking some form of Turkish.
…This is where you come in.
We took a trip up to Lawrence to watch the Cowboys play the Jayhawks on February 11th.
Allen Fieldhouse had a complete sellout to watch their top 5 team play a mediocre team with a 12-12 record. It was incredible.
Tonight is senior night, and Keiton Page is two three pointers away from holding the school record.
Today is the two-year anniversary of the 2010 upset of top-ranked Kansas.
The three paragraphs above should be enough for you. What will it take to restore fame to "The Rowdiest Arena in America"?
It all falls on you.
Student, alumni or fan, come to Gallagher-Iba to pay your respects to Keiton Page and the storied history of the basketball program and see what happens.
It probably won't be enough. Kansas is as good as ever, coming off of a huge overtime win over their hated rival, Missouri.
But it shouldn't matter. If you don't want to come for present Cowboys like Keiton Page, Le'Bryan Nash, Markel Brown or Travis Ford, and you don't want to come for the past legends of Eddie Sutton, Byron Eaton, James Anderson and Desmond Mason, then at least come for one reason.
Come because basketball is the cement serving as the foundation that this school is built on.
Come because you're an Oklahoma State Cowboy.
VOTE for TROB for NPOY (Scroll down, poll on bottom left)
VOTE for TROB for Cap One Impact Performance
VOTE for the Kansas Jayhawks student section (Voting ends the 28th. How is Purdue ahead of us? I think those engineer students have rigged a voting machine.)
VOTE for Coach Self's Assists Foundation (Our showing is pathetic for Coach Self)
Coaches vs Cancer: Help Coach Self raise $ for ACA with his 3-point Attack
Big 12/College News
Big 12 Schedule & Results
One of Missouri coach Frank Haith’s former players at Miami has been declared ineligible by the NCAA for receiving improper benefits.
The University of Miami issued a statement Sunday that said junior center Reggie Johnson, a player Haith recruited and coached before he left for Missouri last year, took the benefits from an unnamed member of the former staff. The Hurricanes have asked the NCAA for a speedy decision on whether Johnson can be reinstated.
“In the process of the ongoing joint NCAA-UM inquiry, it was discovered that members of Johnson’s family received impermissible travel benefits from a member of the former basketball coaching staff,” the statement said. “Johnson was unaware of the benefits and his family was told they were permissible by that member of the former basketball coaching staff.”
The inquiry came to light last fall, when Yahoo! reported that a member of Haith’s staff, with the cooperation of jailed booster Nevin Shapiro, paid guard DeQuan Jones $10,000 to attend the school.
Haith denied that allegation, and Jones was later reinstated.
Missouri spokesman Chad Moller said the new allegation is part of the ongoing investigation that the school still cannot comment on.
How life has changed. In a city scarred by the deadly 1993 confrontation between federal agents and the Branch Davidian group, at a university marred by decades of athletic ineptitude, where a former basketball player killed his former teammate in 2003, it can now be suggested that Baylor sports fans are spoiled by success.
To wit: Baylor has Griner, the Heisman Trophy winner (Robert Griffin III) and a potential N.B.A. lottery pick (Perry Jones III). Collectively, they went 40-0 from early November to mid-January, when at least 10 Baylor sports teams were nationally ranked.
The old-timers see this not as a renaissance, but an awakening. One regent, the prominent lobbyist Buddy Jones, said: “We like to use biblical analogies, and this is a year of biblical proportions. As we would say in Christendom, it’s like an early rapture. We spent 40 years wandering the wilderness. I hope this is our exit.”
Ian McCaw, athletic director: “Someone tapped me on the shoulder at a national meeting and said, You have the No. 1 athletic department in the country right now.”
New York Times: Baylor's Athletic Program hits the big time
Assembling the men's basketball NCAA Tournament bracket is like officiating. No matter the end result, criticism is guaranteed.
Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione will experience the scrutiny first hand.
One of 10 members on the NCAA Tournament Selection committee, Castiglione will help determine the 68-team bracket that will be revealed in 13 days.
“It's really exciting,” Castiglione said. “Certainly, it's one of the greatest sporting events in the world. They call it an event. It's many, many games but together it's called March Madness.”
Castiglione replaced former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe on the selection committee. Beebe served the past two seasons. Castiglione will be on the committee this year and 2013.
shabazz muhammad @phenom15balla
Had a lot of fun in Lawrence this weekend great visit #rockchalk!!!!!
JaKarr Sampson was in the house at Allen Fieldhouse Saturday when Kansas beat Missouri, 87-86 in OT, in the latest, and perhaps, last edition of the Border War.
The 6-foot-8 Sampson visited Kansas along with 2012 late-signing studs Shabazz Muhammad and Tony Parker.
“It was a real good visit,” Don Anderson, Sampson’s AAU coach, told SNY.tv Sunday by phone. “They showed us the facilities and talked to JaKarr and told him what they wanted to do with him as far as him being a player. You know, doing it the Kansas Way.”
Sampson previously visited Baylor and is next eyeing trips to Providence and Florida.
“Providence and Florida are trying to get him to come,” Anderson said. “I don’t know when that’s going to take place. He said he wants to take a look at Florida and Providence.”
Anderson said Sampson was instead focused on playing with his unbeaten Brewster (N.H.) Academy team (29-0) — No. 1 in the Five Star Power Rankings — at the upcoming New England Prep School AAA Basketball Tournament on Feb. 29 at Endicott College in Beverly, Mass.
After that comes the National Prep Championship March 6-7 at Albertus Magnus College.
St. John’s remains in the hunt for Sampson, who decommitted in the fall.
“St. John’s, he’s still looking at,” Anderson said. “He visited them. He wants to take a look at these other schools.”
The big story of the day was the huge guest list for Kansas’s Border War against Missouri. The game, an instant classic won by the Jayhawks, 87-86 in overtime. had 2012 and 2013 Kansas commits Brannen Greene, Perry Ellis, Conner Frankamp and Landen Lucas in attendance.
On top of that, Bill Self and staff hosted three of the top unsigned seniors in the nation
– JaKarr Sampson, Shabazz Muhammad and Tony Parker – for official visits. Sampson, a former St. John’s commit from Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, is being recruited the hardest by Providence, but is also looking at Baylor, Florida, St. John’s, Texas and others. Muhammad, the top wing prospect in America, will head to Duke next weekend for an official visit. As first reported by SNY.tv, he will be joined by senior forward Amile Jefferson of Philly Friends Central on the trip to Cameron Indoor. Parker, another unsigned senior from Miller Grove in Georgia, is also looking at Ohio State, UConn, Duke, UCLA, Memphis and Kentucky. Parker, Muhammad and Sampson will all decide in the spring.
No. 33-ranked Tony Parker, a 6-9 senior center from Miller Grove High in Lithonia, Ga., who attended Saturday’s game, will choose between KU, Duke, Ohio State, Memphis and UCLA. “It was a great game and it was a great atmosphere,” Tony’s dad, Virgil, told Rivals.com. Tony wrote on Twitter: “I sat next to Larry Brown today at the game. (It was) the best atmosphere in my life.” ... No. 1-rated Shabazz Muhammad, 6-6 from Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas, wrote on Twitter: “Had a lot of fun in Lawrence this weekend; great visit. #rockchalk!!!!” He’s considering KU, Kentucky, Duke, UCLA, UNLV and others. ... JaKarr Sampson, 6-8 senior forward from Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, told Rivals.com, “It was fun and it was crazy. I’ve never been to a place like that and I’ve never seen an atmosphere like that before. I got goose bumps on my back. It was just a fun game.”
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My 2011-12 Border War, Legends of the Phog, KC Prep Invitational, KU Alumni games, & Jayhawk Invitational Videos now on Youtube