Big XII Border Showdown: Kansas-Missouri Set To Battle for Top Spot

Alexander ReinhardContributor IFebruary 27, 2009

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- A matchup that looked routine for the Jayhawks upon first glimpse at the Big XII schedule has manifested into a Border Showdown unlike any other, with title hopes on the line.

Sunday the 15th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks take on the eighth-ranked Missouri Tigers in Lawrence with both teams surely aware of the implications the game has. The team that can walk away with the win will also walk away with the top spot in the Big XII standings and the tie-breaker over their bitter rival.

Kansas is coming off of a big win in Norman last Monday, where they took down the Oklahoma Sooners 87-78. The victory showed the power the Jayhawks have in their back-court as guards Sherron Collins and Freshman Tyshawn Taylor filled up the box score with 26 points each. 

The Tigers find themselves with their best record in years and within arms reach of their first ever Big XII regular season championship. Even with a win Sunday, Missouri still needs to face third-ranked Oklahoma, possibly with Blake Griffin back from his concussion he incurred against Texas.

High-intensity and physical play will set the tone early in the game between these fierce rivals. It may all come down to who can maintain their presence inside the paint. Each team has depth on their bench and we will see movement as both coaches will hope to avoid foul trouble for their valuable big men. 

The matchup that is the most intriguing will be between center Cole Aldrich and forward DeMarre Carroll. Both are averaging more than 15 points and are consistently active on the defensive end.

Bill Self looks to show his ability to turn around a team that lost all five starters from last season as both he and Missouri coach Mike Anderson battle for not only title hopes, but positioning for the Big XII coach of the year.