Missouri alum and ESPN SportsCenter anchor John Anderson won’t make Saturday’s Border Showdown basketball game this year. He will be in his hometown of Green Bay, Wisc. for the Packers-Giants NFC Championship Game. But he took some time to answer a few questions for Tipoff.
Q: Coming from Wisconsin, when did you first realize the magnitude of the Border Showdown?
A: At my first Big 8 Conference indoor track meet, in 1984, we were picked to finish seventh by the coaches. Our coach, Mizzou Hall of Famer Bob Teel, came into our team meeting and told us that he believed we were better than that, but if we gave our best effort he didn’t care if we finished seventh as long as the eighth place team was... He then paused... got all flush... and said the immortal sentence: “Men, I’d rather spit than be a Jayhawk.”
Q: In your years following the Missouri-Kansas basketball rivalry, what is your favorite memory?
A: 1987 — Lee Coward hits two buzzer beaters to beatKU. Two years ago when Thomas Gardner goes for 40 and Christian Moody, a state hero, misses two free throws to win it at the end of regulation. Tigers 89-86 in OT.
Q: Which current Missouri player is your favorite to watch?
A: Mike Anderson. Loved him at Tulsa for Nolan Richardson and the NIT Champions.
Q: What do you think of the Tigers chances to make postseason play this year?
A: It’s tough in the NCAA, if we don’t start winning games on the road. The selection committee LOVES road wins. The Big 12’s RPI will be down as a league, and I don’t see the conference getting more than four bids.
Q: You were around in December to speak at graduation. Are there plans to come back anytime soon?
A: Next scheduled stop: October for the Mizzou-Oklahoma State football game. I would like to get back for the J-School’s centennial celebration, (But that) might be tougher to pull off.
Q: What is your prediction for Saturday’s game?
A: As an alum/homer, we win by four. As an objective observer, KU is a menace and wins 85-75. But you never know... Corey Tate could show up and hit a game winner in 2OT for the less heralded black and gold!