LAWRENCE, Kan. – They don’t call it a Border War for nothing.
It’s been 10 basketball seasons since Kansas and Missouri have faced off in a regular season game. When Missouri left the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference, Kansas Coach Bill Self decided the series was over for the foreseeable future.
However, the hiatus ends this weekend. Fans can’t wait for Saturday’s game at Allen Fieldhouse, which will be the 121st meeting between the Tigers and Jayhawks.
Since Monday, KU students have lined up in the arena’s lobby. Roughly 150 students, all of whom already have tickets, pass the time by studying or playing with their devices while holding spots in line. Each student represents a larger group of people.
They’ve all been assigned a number for a spot in Saturday’s student section, as they await a lottery to decide those who’ll watch from the student sections’ front rows. Missing a roll call could force them to move to the rear of the line.
“I want to be as close as possible,” said Drew Keller, a KU student from Topeka. “You feel more part of the game, the closer you are. You feel like you really matter, like you’re bringing energy to the players.”
“We haven’t played each other since 2012. Obviously, I grew up watching MU and KU play each other. It’s definitely going to be a fun time watching that so many years later, and as a student here. It’s going to be fun,” said Lauren Spitalari, a KU student from Lee’s Summit, Missouri.
The lobby is perfectly silent at times, as students study and work on assignments. However, one shouldn’t mistake silence for complacency. Finals week for the fall semester at KU is next week, so students are using downtime as study time, but they’re just as hyped for this game.
“If you’re going to be a Kansas student, you have to like basketball and enjoying the game and being there for the team. Obviously, we’re probably going to win the national title this year, so you’ve got to be there for every game,” said Liam Kenney, a KU student from St. Louis.
They want to see this highly-anticipated game from up close at one of the game’s most hallowed halls. Kansas (7-1) will meet Missouri (5-4) at 2:15 p.m. in Lawrence. The game will be shown on ESPN.