Archive for Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Rock Chalk Jayhawk

April 8, 2008

The Kansas Jayhawks are perched atop the college basketball nest, and KU fans couldn't be more proud.

For the first time since the 1988 season, when Danny Manning and "the Miracles" were hailed as the conquering heroes in Lawrence, Kansas has won the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship.

Kansas was the last team among 65 of the college basketball world's best. In a Final Four that for the first time featured the top four seed in the tournament, the Jayhawks were the best of the best.

Yet, it was an improbable run to the title.

The Jayhawks barely got into the Final Four, dodging a last-second upset in the Midwest Regional finals in Detroit at the hands of Davidson, everybody's favorite tournament Cinderella.

In the national semifinals, KU had to withstand a furious comeback by North Carolina - the top seed in the tournament - before dispatching the Tar Heels 84-66.

And in the title game, Memphis was up by nine points with just more than 2 minutes remaining. Yet the Jayhawks, with the help of Mario Chalmers' near-miraculous three-pointer with 2.1 seconds remaining, were able to send the game into overtime and ultimately defeat the Tigers.

Despite KU's winning ways throughout the regular season and into postseason play, their pool of talented players always seemed to take a backseat to opponents with more star power: Michael Beasley, D.J. Augustin, Stephen Curry, Tyler Hansbrough, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Derrick Rose.

Beasley and Augustin, at least, were able to notch .500 records against Kansas this season. The others were roadkill on the KU's road to the school's third NCAA basketball title and fifth national basketball championship overall.

A team with no All-America selections - not even a first-team all-conference selection - finished the year 37-3 and as national champions.

To that we have to say, "Rock Chalk Jayhawk!"

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