Archive for Wednesday, April 2, 2008

KU gets shot at former hoops coach

April 2, 2008

A good and relentless Kansas defense hung on to defeat the feisty Davidson Wildcats and earn a trip to the Final Four.

Davidson, a small eastern college, had a winning streak of 25 games, led by their outstanding shooter, Stephen Curry. Kansas' defense, led by Brandon Rush, limited Curry to 25 points - well under his tournament average.

Although a small college, Davidson recruits well in the foreign countries with great players from France and Nigeria. Davidson was better than its No. 10 seed, but coming from a small conference it possibly didn't get the respect it deserved. After the game, KU coach Bill Self said the Jayhawks really didn't play well but the defense did well enough to get the victory.

Sasha Kaun has been one of the more improved KU players and has played brilliantly in the tournament. Kansas, as usual, had a well-balanced offensive attack.

Local Jayhawk fans are looking forward to Kansas playing North Carolina in the national semifinals, and especially the matchup of Self and UNC coach Roy Williams.

Personally, I am not looking forward to playing the Tar Heels, but I believe I would rather be playing them than Memphis. Memphis totally destroyed Texas in the South Regional finals, and it would not surprise me to see Memphis defeat UCLA.

I have mellowed a lot regarding Williams since he resigned at Kansas five years ago, but I hold a little animosity toward him. My main complaint is he resigned after stating he was going to stay at KU. Kansas took a gamble on hiring Williams, who had never been a head coach, and he gave the Jayhawks 15 pretty good years. I can also understand why Williams would want to return to his home, where all his family resides.

This has been one of the better NCAA tournaments; for the first time in the history of the NCAA the four number one seeds made it to the final four. The only NCAA championship game I ever got to see live was in New York at Madison Square Garden, where Oklahoma A&M , now known as Oklahoma State, won the championship. Seven-footer Bob Kurland led the Cowboys to the title. To me, it was mind-boggling to see a facility the size of Madison Square Garden.

I still have some peripheral vision, and when I looked at the stadium in Detroit I couldn't believe a basketball court centered on a football field. In listening to the game, I heard several spectators remark that they couldn't see the playing floor too well, and I can believe that. To me it's inconceivable that a basketball court can be put up in a football stadium.

In listening to some of the players' comments, they didn't seem to have problem shooting on the raised court.

No way in the world would I pay to sit up where the birds fly and watch a basketball game. However, 55,000 people did. As I have stated before in my column, I think the greedy heads of professional sports are ruining sports.

Next Saturday will be an interesting game, especially for the Jayhawk fans as they will get their wish for a Self/Williams matchup. I like to think it will be Kansas playing North Carolina.

In a friendly bracket pool I was in, I picked Kansas to make the Final Four and win the national championship. I had penciled in Kansas to meet UCLA for the title, but after listening to a couple of Memphis games I think UCLA will have its hands full.

I have stated before in my column that I thought the selection committee did a pretty good job of setting up the brackets. My main complaint, as it has been for years, is that I'd like to know why North Carolina gets to play most of its tournament games in North Carolina and UCLA plays the majority of its games in California.

Jayhawk fans: This is what you have been looking for ever since Roy Williams departed. The Jayhawks will have to play their very best - even better than they did in defeating Texas in the Big 12 Tournament title game - to beat the Tar Heels.

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