LAWRENCE, Kan. – Missourians might contend that Kansans aren’t the smartest bunch of folks around. Actually, they’d probably put it in far less pleasant terms.
But even the most black and gold bleeding Missourian would be hard-pressed to discount the University of Kansas’ rich basketball history, and that KU basketball fans are some of the most knowledgeable in the country.
But just to be sure, we set out to test their basketball acumen upon arriving in Lawrence, Kan., before Monday night’s Border Showdown matchup between Missouri and No. 2 Kansas. We crafted a quiz for Kansas basketball fans to test their knowledge of Missouri basketball history. After all, if they’re as smart as they say, they ought to know a little something about their most hated rival.
Our search began at Jefferson’s Restaurant, a burger and wings joint on Massachusetts Street – Lawrence’s Ninth Street. The walls were covered with more dollar bills than you’d find in a strip club. What better way to honor our third president than bills that don’t even feature his face?
After clogging our arteries with Jefferson Burgers – a hearty sandwich topped with barbeque sauce and bacon – we gave our waitress the quiz to rightfully earn her tip.
Despite being a KU student and sporting a Kansas sweatshirt, she missed all but one of our seven questions. So much for a big tip. But we weren’t completely heartless. We bumped her tip up 25 cents for partially answering three questions correctly.
After Hannah Zachritz's poor performance on our quiz, asking for her number was out of the question. You know, for journalistic reasons.
We knew Hannah probably wasn’t the best representative of Jayhawks Nation. So we began our journey down shops on Massachusetts and outside Kansas’ arena, Allen Fieldhouse.
Here are the seven quiz questions intended to test the knowledge (and pride) of Kansas fans, followed by the results and our favorite stories from our adventures around Lawrence.
1. Name three players on Missouri’s current team.
10 correct, 8 incorrect
J.T. Tiller, Marcus Denmon and Michael Dixon Jr. were the most common answers.
“I only know him because you took him from KU,” one student said about Dixon.
2. What is the farthest Missouri has ever been in the NCAA Tournament? (Elite Eight)
16 correct, 2 incorrect
This question was a source of warmth for the hundreds of students huddled in the freezing weather awaiting entrance to Allen Fieldhouse. The question that causes great pain for Missouri fans was like candy for their brains. First-year Kansas law student C.J. Grover summed it up best with his sign that read:
“Hey Fran, why do MU golf courses only have holes 1 thru 14? Because they never make it to the Final 4.”
Ouch, Missouri fans might need to rub on some ointment after that burn.
3. Name last year’s Big 12 Defensive Players of the Year? (Missouri's J.T. Tiller and Kansas' Cole Aldrich)
6 correct, 12 Incorrect
For such a knowledgeable fan base, you would assume our quiz-takers would get at least half of this question correct.
“Ummm, Sharron Collins?” said a crew of students in the 138th group waiting to get into the arena.
Wrong. In fact, the majority of people we asked were more likely to answer J.T. Tiller than their own center, Cole Aldrich. Only one group answered Aldrich, the rest had no idea. Apparently Kansas’ fans don’t care much about defense.
4. Which former Missouri player was selected in the first round of last year’s NBA Draft and which team does he play for? (DeMarre Carroll, Memphis Grizzlies)
8 correct, 10 incorrect
“I can see the big hair,” said Bob Kopp, a diehard fan whose brother played at Kansas in 1962 when Gale Sayers played at the school. We found Kopp inside Joe College, a Jayhawk T-shirt store that featured 62 different anti-Missouri shirts. Our favorite shirts:
“Poo on Mizzou.”
“In Missouri Pinkel sits when he goes tinkle.”
“I was going to buy a funny shirt, but then I remembered, Missouri fans can’t read.”
Many quiz-takers could picture Carroll’s big braided hair in their head but couldn’t put their finger on his name. Student Bailey Burgess didn’t care to answer.
“He probably sits on the bench,” Burgess said.
5. What is the name of the Missouri head coach from 1967 to 1999, who just celebrated his 75th birthday? (Norm Stewart)
15 correct, 3 incorrect.
Jayhawk Nation really showed its class and knowledge on this question. More surprising was the answer of Lawrence native, Tony Finn, who was shopping for an anti-Tigers shirt at Joe College.
“I love Norm Stewart. I thought he was the most instrumental coach in the Big Eight along with KU tradition, which made the Big Eight,” Finn said.
We found that even the most diehard Kansas fans not only knew the answer, but respected ‘Stormin Normin.’ After all, he is a Hall of Fame coach that gave Big Eight teams fits, winning eight conference championships and 631 games overall in 32 seasons. When the majority of our quiz-takers weren’t even born until his last decade as a coach, that's pretty darn good.
Name Missouri’s head coach before current coach Mike Anderson. (Quin Snyder)
16 correct, 2 incorrect
“Mr. GQ,” Kopp said before giving the correct answer, Quin Snyder.
Most knew about the scandal involving the then-young and slick Snyder and former player Ricky Clemons that arose before Snyder was fired.
“I think he gave me some jerseys,” Finn, a Kansas season ticket holder, said jokingly.
More fans seemed to know of Snyder than Missouri's current coach, Mike Anderson.
7. Finish the following cheer: M-I-Z… (Z-O-U)
12 correct, 6 incorrect
The six who answered wrongly do know the alphabet, we think. But their Kansas pride was too strong to finish the Tigers’ most popular cheer.
Kopp, against his will, bit his tongue and answered correctly.
“Z-O-U,” he said. “Gosh, I hate that cheer so much.”
One student gave the quiz's most mature answer.
“P-O-O,” he said.
After student Steve Griffith answered correctly, a friend in his group scolded him.
“You should have made up something else,” she said.
Together, the members of Jayhawk Nation we quizzed answered five of the seven questions correctly.
But Chelsee Paskey, a cashier at Kansas apparel store Jock's Nitch Sporting Goods, summed up how many must have felt answering questions about their rival.
"I need to go to a confessional," she said.