KANSAS CITY — It was a strange sight to see.
Blue apparel was splattered throughout the predominately gold-wearing crowd in the Sprint Center on Tuesday night in Kansas City for the championship game of the CBE Classic between No. 21-ranked Missouri and No. 18 California.
Kansas fans were in the house.
Geographically, Kansas City is closer to Lawrence, Kan., than Columbia, so the city has no shortage of Jayhawks fans. But why attend a championship in a tournament Kansas had no part in?
Bill Hauspe sat in his matching Jayhawks hat and jacket. The faithful Jayhawks fan graduated from Kansas in 1961 and has lived in the Kansas City area for the past 15 years.
After watching Tigers sophomore Phil Pressey grab a steal and sprint down the court for a layup to give Missouri a 26-16 lead, Haupse was unfazed and stoic. The crowd noise reached a crescendo as the Tigers stretched their lead. At times, Haupse couldn't even see as the crowd came to its feet.
"I watch good basketball," Hauspe said. "I enjoy good basketball, and I thought this would be a good game."
But Hauspe will miss the good games he has seen between Missouri and Kansas. He remembers being in Allen Field House when Kansas beat Missouri 88-73 his senior year, and the fistfight that happened in the aftermath.
"Great games, I remember great games. And great energy," Hauspe said.
Bruce Ringwood, a Kansas graduate, and Grant Nitzsche, a Missouri graduate, are now business partners and attended the game together. After Missouri's 87-58 victory over Notre Dame in Monday night's semifinal, Ringwood made a bet against Missouri in the championship game.
"Tickets were cheap and we had nothing to do, so we came to see how our bet turned out," Ringwood said.
Whether Kansas plays Missouri after this season, Ringwood said he will still be betting against Missouri.
Matthew Kuckelman, 12, and Logan Delaney, 16, are natives of Kansas City and attended the game with their parents.
Delaney echoed Hauspe.
"It's just a good basketball game to watch," he said.
And both Delaney and Kuckelman said they enjoyed the chance to see Missouri fail.
"I was excited to come because I always like seeing Mizzou lose," Kuckelman said.
But as the Tigers pulled away to an impressive 36-20 lead, he said he was enjoying the game a little less.
Kuckelman is also sad that the rivalry will likely end. He said he likes seeing Kansas beat Missouri. But still, he just likes to see Missouri lose.
The disappointment was doubled Tuesday night.