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Jayhawks juiced for Border War return

KU to host Mizzou Saturday
Bill Self
Posted at 7:57 PM, Dec 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-09 20:57:19-05

LAWERENCE, Kan. — Kansas Hoops is heading into the weekend with a little extra juice.

The Jayhawks are excited for the return of Border War Basketball for the first time since 2012. The Missouri Tigers will come to Lawrence Saturday to play KU at Allen Fieldhouse.

Senior guard Ochai Agbaji is excited to face Mizzou during the regular season.

"It's a rivalry game, I know there is a lot on the line here. I know they are going to show up and play hard," Agbaji said.

Although the rivalry has been mostly dormant for the past 10 years after Mizzou left for the SEC, head coach Bill Self has an idea on how to get the players excited.

"I don't know that they totally understand, we'll probably show them some videos and stuff like that to get them amped up about things," Self said.

However, some players are all too familiar with the deep-seated contention between these two programs.

"You know Christian Braun, obviously his mother played at Missouri, he's heard the stories all growing up," Self said. "His uncle was a great player at Missouri as well, Mike and his brother went to Missouri, Parker."

But what complicates the situation for junior guard Braun is that he was raised in a house divided.

"They don't really let me stop hearing about it, to be honest," Braun said. "You know my uncle Mike talks about himself all day, so I do hear about it a lot. I've heard about it from both sides. My dad is a big KU fan, always was, and then my mom and everybody else on my mom's side is a Mizzou fan."

Braun is not the only one with Missouri roots. Agbaji, who graduated from high school on the Missouri side of the Kansas City metro, used to cheer for the Black and Gold.

"My first friend when I moved to Kansas City was a Mizzou fan, and I didn't know really anything better, so I sided with, unfortunately, the Mizzou fans for a while until I started getting recruited," Agbaji said.

Now both guards are ready to represent the Jayhawks come Saturday.

"I always tell people I was always on the winning side, so it feels good to be a winner, I'm proud to wear Kansas and I'm gonna be proud to get this win on Saturday," Braun said.