Thoughts and opinions on Kansas-Missouri rivalry - KCTV5

Thoughts and opinions on Kansas-Missouri rivalry

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By The Associated Press

The Kansas-Missouri rivalry, which dates to 1907, is ending. As the Tigers prepare to leave the Big 12 for the SEC next season, the two top five teams will meet for the final time in the regular season on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan. Naturally, the game has generated strong opinions on both sides of the state line:

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"This is like a guy divorcing you and then saying, `Oh, say, can we still date?' I don't think so. ... Missouri is the one that started this thing, and now they're kind of going, `Oh, well, come on, can't we play?"' -- Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback on the Jayhawks' refusal to continue playing Missouri out of conference.

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"It's just a wonderful rivalry. Passionate. More passionate than you can imagine because it goes back past football and basketball. It goes back to the border wars and Quantrill's raiders coming in and burning down Lawrence. It's not just somebody shot a jump shot and somebody blocked it." -- North Carolina coach Roy Williams, who spent 15 seasons coaching Kansas.

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"Did I put a special meaning on it? Sure. They were always the best in the conference, it seemed, and if you could beat them, you figured you could beat everybody." -- Former Missouri coach Norm Stewart, who also played for the Tigers in the 1950s.

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"There have been many talks of the Civil War and what happened and the whole free state/not-free state. It's a very ugly thing. It's a part of history, though. That's what makes the rivalry so strong of -- I couldn't say hatred, because it's not hatred -- it's just very hostile toward each other." -- Oklahoma City Thunder forward Cole Aldrich, who played from Kansas from 2007-10.

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"It's a time of a lot of change in college sports, and it's one of the casualties of it, I think, is a rivalry like this that looks like it's not going to happen for a while. For all of the fans and players who play in it, it's going to be really sad, because it's been the biggest game of the year for a long time." -- Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nick Collison, who helped Kansas reach consecutive Final Fours.

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"As a player, you knew it was important, because classmates and teachers and professors kind of reminded you that week was Kansas week, versus I might not have a professor say a word about any game all year. I think those are the things you miss." -- Former Missouri star Jon Sundvold, now a television analyst.

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"To me, those were the funnest games. Kansas-Missouri, there's no bigger rivalry. There's just so much history." -- Atlanta Hawks guard and former Kansas star Kirk Hinrich.

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"It's one of the biggest rivalries in NCAA basketball and it's going to be sad not to have that rivalry going back and forth. ... It's going to be weird. When I was at KU, we always looked forward to that game." -- Miami Heat guard Mario Chalmers.

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"I love playing Missouri. I loved playing them when I was at Illinois. I've loved playing them here. But that's not anything I'm going to lay around, sit around, think about, `Oh, I wish.' I don't think that strongly about it." -- Kansas coach Bill Self.

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"We know it's going to be loud. We know we're not going to be able to hear anything. We're going to have to be focused and stuff like that, because we already know what to expect, we know what we've got to do, we just have to go over there and do it." -- Missouri forward Steve Moore.

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"We understand how much it means to (fans), but we would be doing ourselves a disservice if we got such a level of arousal by that. The game is played between those lines. Not one person in those stands on Saturday will have an outcome on that game." -- Missouri guard Kim English.

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"We have to enjoy this atmosphere because, why wouldn't you? It's a rivalry. It's Kansas-Missouri. It's Allen Fieldhouse. It's one of the games you come to Kansas for." -- Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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