LAWRENCE — One of the most storied rivalries in college sports is coming back.
After a near decade-long hiatus, Kansas and Missouri will reignite their rivalry in men’s basketball beginning with a clash on Dec. 12, 2020, at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., the programs announced Monday. The renewed agreement spans six seasons, with the series alternating between Lawrence and Columbia, Mo., from 2021-24 and concluding at Sprint Center in the 2025-26 season.
The Border War rivals haven’t played one another in the regular season in any sport since the 2011-12 school year, the final for Missouri as a member of the Big 12 Conference ahead of the Tigers’ move to the SEC.
“One of the best aspects of college athletics is rivalries, and we are thrilled that our fans and student-athletes will get to experience this Border Showdown rivalry once again,” KU athletic director Jeff Long said in a news release. “We have quietly sought input from fans and supporters on the renewal of this series and we believe the overriding sentiments are that this historic rivalry should resume.
“While this series does not include each of our sports teams competing in the Border Showdown at this stage, we feel this is the first step to expanding it in the future. We are excited for this rivalry to begin anew next year and believe it will be great for all fans of college basketball.”
KU and Missouri have met in various sports in postseason play since the Tigers' departure to the SEC and held a preseason men’s basketball exhibition at Sprint Center in 2017. The charity contest, dubbed "Showdown For Relief," saw the Jayhawks win 93-87 in front of a crowd of 18,951.
“Jeff and I discussed the idea of playing Missouri on many occasions, including speaking with other coaches here at KU, and we all felt the timing is right to renew the rivalry,” said KU coach Bill Self, whose Jayhawks enter the upcoming season as the No. 3-ranked team in the Associated Press poll. “Even though we haven’t played the last few years, I know it was something our players and fans missed, and so did I. The interest generated in the 2017 exhibition game was far greater than I envisioned it would be which made it obvious to me that our fans were eager to see a Border Showdown matchup.
“Having coached a lot of games vs. Missouri in my time here at Kansas, I could not be more excited to start this series up again. This is a great experience for all basketball fans and I look forward to the rivalry being reignited in Kansas City next season, and then bringing it back home to Allen Fieldhouse the following year.”
The men's basketball rivalry dates back to 1907, with KU holding a 174-95 advantage all-time. The Jayhawks won the last regular-season meeting between the two programs, an 87-86 overtime thriller on Feb. 25, 2012, at Allen Fieldhouse.
"The atmosphere at the Showdown for Relief exhibition in 2017 was incredible to be a part of," Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk said. "We're excited to bring that back and officially renew a historic rivalry that people have tremendous passion for. It's a rivalry that college basketball deserves, and we look forward to delivering that tradition to fans across the nation. ...
"Hopefully, this renewal on the hardwood will lead to more opportunities (to play Kansas) down the road in other sports, too. Rivalries make college sports great, and there is no question that when Missouri and Kansas face off in any sport, it's important to a lot of people."