Following Big 12 basketball over the past decade is a little like watching James Bond movies (or any episode of Perry Mason, for people over 65). The story has certain twists and turns (Kansas State shocks Kansas, TCU manages to upset somebody), but the ending is the same: Bond kills the villain, Perry Mason wins his case and Kansas wins at least a share of the Big 12.
While this is gratifying for Jayhawk fans, it can become a little monotonous. The players themselves come and go, so it is always great for them, but after 10 years or so, it's like eating the same excellent meal 3,650 days in a row. A little variety would be nice.
Well, this year, a dash of spice has been added to KU's feast. Court storming might be the cherry on top after beating the Jayhawks, but it has left a sour taste in the mouths of KU fans, players and coaches.
Coach Bill Self has always handled court storming episodes in stride (at least in public), but after being slammed into a press table in Manhattan, he says enough is enough. It's bad enough to lose a game, but watching your players pushed and bumped by celebrating fans makes it even worse. But, perhaps there is a silver lining to his purple colored cloud.
Several weeks ago, Self talked about how three seasons of not playing Missouri was "not great." But, thanks to a few hundred celebrating college kids, a huge injection of "bad blood" has been introduced into a one-sided Sunflower Showdown.
For most Kansas fans, playing Kansas State is like wrestling with your brother, while you want to win, it is not life or death. Playing Missouri is just the latest battle of the civil war. In Manhattan, KSU coach Bruce Weber attempted to shield Self from the crowd, but how many of us believe in his heyday, "Stormin' Norman" Stewart would have saved any KU coach? No way. Norm would have laughed.
I hope KU and KSU meet in the upcoming Big 12 tournament. The fans would be at each other's throats, the coaches already don't love each other and KU's players will have revenge on their minds. In other words, it will be just like the Border War.
I have always believed "sports hatred" is a great thing, and for a conference that always crowns the same champion, it can make an otherwise lukewarm race a little hotter.
My dream, is that someone (Iowa State?) storms the court at the Sprint Center during the Big 12 tournament. Perhaps a new bitterly fought rivalry can be born.
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