The Border War would have been something this year.
No, not football. We’re not missing much in that regard. Missouri is two victories away from playing in the SEC Championship game. And Kansas just snapped a 27-game Big 12 losing streak. That game, depending on your perspective, would have been pretty meh.
No, we’re talking about volleyball. It could have been a classic.
Missouri is 31-0 and ranked No. 4 in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association Poll. Kansas is 21-6 and ranked No. 22, in the midst of back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since the early 1980s.
The RPI projections are even more kind: Missouri, which is 15-0 in the Southeastern Conference, is rated No. 5 in the NCAA’s RPI rankings, while Kansas is No. 11 entering a showdown with Iowa State in Ames on Wednesday night. The Tigers play Friday at home against Mississippi State.
It’s perhaps no surprise that Kansas City, a high school volleyball hotbed, has played a role in both programs’ success.
Missouri senior Lisa Henning, a graduate of Blue Springs, is a two-time All-American who was selected the SEC player of the week on Monday. And Kansas, led by senior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc, has received contributions from two kids from the outskirts of the Kansas City metro area: freshmen middle blocker Taylor Soucie (Osawatomie) and freshman defensive specialist Cassie Wait (Gardner).
Of course, there’s still a possibility that Kansas and Missouri could meet in the NCAA tournament. The Tigers will almost certainly play host to a first- and second-round site, while Kansas may do the same. But if the Jayhawks lose out on the opportunity to host, they could be shipped to the Columbia site. After the NCAA awards host sites to the top 16 seeds, the rest of the field is mapped out geographically, with teams generally going to sites that are within driving distance.
We’re looking ahead a bit. But if you’re keeping track at home, it could be the first meeting between Kansas and Missouri, in any sport, since Mizzou left for the SEC.
Could be pretty good.