COLUMBIA, Mo. — The renewal of the Missouri-Kansas rivalry on the hardwood will have to wait another year.
The Tigers and Jayhawks signed a six-year agreement a year ago that had the two teams playing in a game for the first time since 2012, Missouri's last season in the Big 12.
The first game was supposed to be Saturday, Dec. 12, at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, with the two teams trading home games before the series finale back at the T-Mobile Center in 2026. Coronavirus restrictions, particularly on crowd size but also because of the delayed start to the season, are to blame.
The Kansas City Star first reported the news Tuesday, and it was confirmed later in the day by Kansas' men's basketball program.
"When the NCAA moved the start of the basketball season from Nov. 10 to Nov. 25, like everyone else, we went to work on creating a new schedule," Kansas athletic director Jeff Long said in a statement. "With the Big 12 conference games also being adjusted, and the likelihood of only 10-20 percent of fans permitted to attend the game due to the pandemic, it became clear that we should delay the series. We appreciate Missouri agreeing to the delay and we look forward to renewing the Border Showdown at Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 11, 2021, with a sellout crowd."
The Tigers will host games in 2022 and '24 and Kansas will host at the Phog in 2021 and '23. Instead of book-ending the series, the two neutral-site games will be played back-to-back to close out the series, which will now be in the 2025-26 and 2026-27 seasons.
Long and Missouri AD Jim Sterk have been instrumental in easing the tensions between the two programs since Missouri left for greener pastures in the Southeastern Conference while leaving behind a storied history as a founding member of the Big 8.
Under Long and Sterk, the two schools agreed to renew the rivalry in football as well, beginning in 2025 in Columbia, with another home game in 2031 and Kansas home games in 2026 and 2032.
The opening game of the Border Showdown being moved back means Missouri fans do not have to worry about choosing between Tigers-Jayhawks in Kansas City and a home football game against Vanderbilt.
Missouri's Homecoming game against the Commodores, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, was pushed back to Dec. 12 because of positive coronavirus tests and contact tracing holdouts within Vanderbilt's football program.