For Pete's Sake

A Border War game in NCAA Tournament? ESPN projection sets the stage

Kansas’ Udoke Azubuike tried to block this by Mizzou’s Blake Harris during the second half of the Showdown for Relief exhibition game at the Sprint Center.
Kansas’ Udoke Azubuike tried to block this by Mizzou’s Blake Harris during the second half of the Showdown for Relief exhibition game at the Sprint Center. rsugg@kcstar.com

What if that Missouri-Kansas exhibition men’s basketball game at the Sprint Center in October was merely a preview for a much bigger contest?

The latest forecast from Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology at ESPN.com has both teams making the NCAA Tournament and a potential meeting in the Round of 32.

KU is currently projected to be a No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region that would face Radford in Wichita. With a victory, the Jayhawks would then take on the winner of a game between No. 7 Miami and No. 10 Mizzou, per Lundardi’s projection.

Would this be the first time that KU and Mizzou fans actually rooted for their rival because it would set up a Border War game in the NCAA Tournament?

OK, maybe that’s a stretch.

The Star’s Blair Kerkhoff noted that KU and Mizzou have only played each other in four cities: Columbia, Lawrence, Kansas City and Dallas.

Wichita would be the fifth city if this projection came true.

But, wait, there’s more.

Lundardi’s projection has Wichita State as a No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region and would play a Sweet 16 game in Omaha (they wouldn’t play opening-round games at Wichita). The Shockers thumped KU in the 2015 NCAA Tournament and that game was played in, you guessed it, Omaha.

Yeah, it’s early and a lot can happen between now and March, but it’s fun to dream of this happening.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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