Unlikely bar buds: KU, Missouri hoops fans enjoy games side-by-side

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 10:56 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The Kansas Jayhawks and Missouri Tigers kicked off their NCAA tournament runs on Thursday afternoon.

Their games tipped off within 20 minutes of each other, which meant that many Kansas City-area sports bars had to cater to both audiences. KCTV5 caught up with fans at Johnny’s Tavern at Power & Light to see how they handled the situation.

“We said, ‘When is the last time both teams have been playing at the same time at the NCAA tournament? We [have to] get out and watch this,” said KU fan Kent Huiser.

Kansas and Missouri fans sat together, sometimes at the same table, and watched their rival programs hit the hardwood.

“It’s a great atmosphere down here,” said Missouri fan Mike Walls. “You’ve got KU on one TV, Mizzou on another. It’s just an awesome atmosphere, so it’s a blast.”

The owner of Johnny’s Tavern told KCTV5 he loves that Kansas and Missouri played at the same time, but the situation did create some hurdles.

“It’s made it challenging for us, appealing to both fan bases and having to switch the TVs around, the sound, and that kind of stuff,” said Kyle Witherspoon. “But, it’s what we do.”

The fans we talked to said the opposition kept their trash talk to a minimum in a sign of good sportsmanship.

“Honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be,” said one Missouri fan. “I was just focused on my game and they were focused on their game, so it was really cool.”

Kansas and Missouri both won their first-round NCAA tournament games to advance to the Round of 32.