With just three games remaining in the regular season, the Big XII basketball title is still up in the air, setting up a Saturday showdown between two top 5 national teams, No. 4 Kansas and No. 3 Missouri.
This week, the Missouri Tigers (25-3, 12-3) suffered a loss to conference foe, Kansas State, opening the door for the Kansas Jayhawks (22-5, 13-2), who defeated Texas A&M on Wednesday night, to pull one game ahead in the title race and setting up a showdown between the two teams that will likely determine the Big XII regular season champion.
The Kansas-Missouri rivalry, known as the Border War, dates back to 1907. Though Kansas leads the series by an overwhelming 171-95, it was Missouri that struck first this season, defeating the Jayhawks by a score of 74-71 in their first meeting in Columbia on February 4, 2012.
The Jayhawks will have their chance for redemption, however, as the Tigers travel to Phog Allen Fieldhouse this Saturday, and with Missouri bolting to the SEC next season, this will likely be their last visit to the famed arena.
At least for a while.
After the match-up this weekend, Kansas will still have to travel to Stillwater to take on OSU and will host Texas for the final game of the season. Mizzou will host the Iowa State Cyclones and end the regular season with a road trip to Texas Tech, a team that has one conference win on the season.
Though there are games remaining in Big XII conference play, the winner of Saturday’s game will take a front seat in the conference race.
Missouri would love nothing more than to flee from the Big XII with the basketball title in hand, and Kansas would love nothing more than to keep it in the conference.
Saturday’s final Border War is not just about a a conference championship however; this is about bragging rights–not just for now, but what could be for a very, very long time.