You know what they say in Lawrence about KU‘s home court advantage in basketball…
So it is that KU basketball’s hometown newspaper, the Lawrence Journal World, scooped the daylights out of the Kansas City Star in getting a reaction from KU basketball coach Bill Self on Missouri’s decision to leave the Big 12 for the SEC.
"KU’s Self not fretting over Missouri’s decision to leave Big 12 for SEC," the headline reads. " ‘Majority of Kansas fans don’t give a flip about playing Missouri,’ " Jayhawk basketball coach states."
Think of it as gorilla journalism – performed late at night Sunday in Lawrence where the Journal World’s Gary Bedore got the better of the Star‘s KU beat writer J. Brady McCollough.
“I think everybody hoped that Missouri would stay, but I don’t know of any Kansas fans that are crying over them leaving,” Self told the Journal-World Sunday night," while McCollough was checking his voicemail.
"Self was asked if the Jayhawks and Tigers would play again in men’s basketball, the Journal World pressed.
“We will play them two more times," Self responded. "We’ve got them home and away this year."
And down the road?
"Like I said before, we have absolutely no obligation whatsoever to play Missouri in basketball. None,” Self said. “If we do so, it will only be done because it’s best for Kansas, not done because anybody else wants us to. We couldn’t care less what Missouri wants. If in fact they want to play us, it will be strictly determined if we want to. It will not be determined by other people, because I’ll be honest, the majority of Kansas fans don’t give a flip about playing Missouri."
There you have it, folks.
Bill Self channeling former KU basketball coach Roy Williams via the "don’t give a flip" quip.
Which is kinda funny, since it’s not like both Self and Williams don’t curse up ablue streak in total public on the basketball court.
So that’s it, Self is sticking to his guns.
Which actually doesn’t amount to much, other than expressing his unhappiness over Mizzou’s exit and pretending he could "give a flip," while plainly leaving open the door that they probably will again play once Self’s jaw clenching subsides.
Now here’s my take…
KU will definitely play Missouri, if not in football, then in basketball. Sooner rather than later, likely.
But two things.
If KU does play MU in football, forget about Arrowhead. From the get go first game a few of years back, when both teams were top ranked, MU had a clear fans-in-the-stands advantage. I covered that game for the Star, and even with the KU alumni advantage here and the close proximity of Lawrence, it was an MU home game all the way.
Not even close.
I shudder to think how lopsided the MU attendance has been at those games in the last couple years.
The rivalry rightfully should be restored to the two school’s campuses for the betterment of both Lawrence and Columbia. And to restore the home field advantage to KU (they need it bad) and let the students back in on the fun.
As for Self’s veiled threats not to play MU in basketball after it leaves the Big 12, remember when Roy said he was a stayin?