NCAA Kansas GameCenter with recaps, videos, more
NCAA postgame pressers
NCAA Video: Kansas boots Heels
CBS Video: Craig Sager with Coach Self and Travis Releford after the game
KUAD Box Score, Recap, Quotes, Notes, Video
LJW Video and Audio pressers and post-game interviews
ESPN Recap, Video
KC Star Photos
Tickets Available for South Regional
3/24/13, 8:20 PM
Fans coming to North Texas for the #NCAA South Regional hosted by #Big12 - purchase parking for Cowboys Stadium here:
3/24/13, 6:33 PM
ROCK... CHALK... JAYHAWK, KU! Whooooooww!!
3/24/13, 6:33 PM
Kansas-Michigan will be a battle.
3/24/13, 6:37 PM
Kansas couldn't have beaten the Topeka YMCA in 1st half, destroys UNC in 2nd and looks like a national champ, thanks largely to Withey.
3/24/13, 6:38 PM
Oh so sweet 16!! #RockChalk
3/24/13, 6:40 PM
Everybody love DALLAS #kubball
3/24/13, 7:05 PM
Great win tonight keep it Rollin
3/24/13, 7:18 PM
Jerry World here we come! #Sweet16 #rockchalk
3/25/13, 12:04 AM
Jeff Withey is the 1st Kansas player with 14+ pts, 15+ reb and 4+ blk in a NCAA tourney game (blocks official in 1986)
I have no clue how Jeff Withey scores or gets O boards.. By far the easiest of all the Big men I had to guard last season.
MT @KUmembershipman: Rob Riggle and Katie Davis, KU class of 2014, enjoy Jayhawks victory in LA! #kualumni pic.twitter.com/6vWPM3hMJJ #kubball
@LA_Jayhawks: Victor Ortiz was in the house at the LA Jayhawks watch party today! Vote for him tomorrow on DWTS! pic.twitter.com/YbGuFW0KtA
3/24/13, 7:00 PM
Kansas has more Ws over North Carolina (4) than any other team it has played in the NCAAs
The @KU_Hoops vs @UNC_Basketball game had the highest @Nielsen ratings of all opening weekend @marchmadness games. Crowd was AMAZING too!
South Regional practice sessions Thursday at Cowboys Stadium will be free and open to the public.
The four team that have advanced to the South Regional will practice in one-hour blocks from noon to 4 p.m.:
• Noon-12:50 p.m. Michigan
• 1-1:50 p.m. Florida Gulf Coast
• 2:10-3 p.m. Kansas
• 3:10-4 p.m. Florida
Doors open at 11 a.m. and parking is free. Fans should park in Lot 10 and enter the stadium at Gates A and K. Merchandise and concessions stands will be open.
On Friday, Kansas plays Michigan at 6:37 p.m.; Florida and Florida Gulf Coast play 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. Tipoff for Sunday’s game will be set after Friday’s games.
Single session tickets start at $40 and all-session tickets begin at $70. To purchase tickets to the South Regional games at Cowboys Stadium, visit www.NCAA.com/mbbtickets.
In the 5:15-7:45 p.m. ET time slot, Kansas blew out North Carolina on CBS.
But these are basketball brand names. The time slot drew an 11.8 overnight rating, translating to 11.8% of households in the 56 markets measured for overnights -- up 26% from last year's comparable coverage of Creighton-UNC -- and the time slot's highest NCAA rating since 1991.
The half may have been summed up with one spectacular play by Withey in the waning minutes: He batted a 3-point shot into the air, tracked the ball down himself, and then got it over to Elijah Johnson, who was fouled and made two free throws.
The potential five-point swing gave Kansas a 67-52 lead.
It wasn't long before that haunting chant of ``Rock, chalk, Jayhawk, K-U!'' - all too familiar to Williams, and now to his Tar Heels - began to echo through the cavernous building, ultimately replaced by a standing ovation from Kansas' frenzied fans.
He’s the projected No. 1 pick in this summer’s NBA draft, the leading scorer for one of the nation’s top teams and the latest Kansas Jayhawk to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
For Ben McLemore, though, none of that mattered in a 70-58 victory over North Carolina on Sunday, when the All-American candidate spent most of the second half on the bench.
The reasoning was simple.
“We were better without him,” KU coach Bill Self said.
The comment wasn't a jab at McLemore. No player is immune to a bad game. Not even a star freshman such as McLemore. Instead, Self's words were a testament to why the Jayhawks are one of the most dangerous teams remaining in the NCAA tournament and a favorite to reach the Final Four.
On a night when McLemore scored just two points, Kansas turned to its other secret weapon -- its experience -- to defeat the Tar Heels and advance to the Sweet 16. Travis Releford scored 22 points and Jeff Withey added 16 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks to propel the Jayhawks in front of more than 18,000 fans at the Sprint Center.
…“We have toughness,” Withey said. “We know what it takes to win a game. You can see that just by the way we played in the second half. All four of us -- we didn’t want it to be over.”
But it almost was following one of Kansas’ most woeful first halves of the season. The Jayhawks missed 12 of their first 13 field goal attempts en route to a 7-of-28 performance in the opening stanza. North Carolina forced KU into 12 first-half turnovers, which resulted in a 30-21 Tar Heels lead at intermission.
“We were sped up,” Self said. “Our guys care so much, and sometimes when you care as much as our guys, you played tight.”
Self tried to fire up his squad at halftime, but just as they would do later on the court, KU’s seniors were the ones who made the biggest difference in the locker room.
Withey singled out nearly every member of the team, pointing at them and screaming, “Is this how you want it to end?”
Releford made sure his voice was heard, too.
“This could be our last 20 minutes,” he said he shouted at his teammates. “We can go out there and leave it all on the court or we can roll over like we did in the first half.”
Releford’s speech made a huge impact.
“It did a lot,” KU guard Naadir Tharpe said. “It woke us up.”
ESPN Jason King (Video at the link)
For the first 25 minutes, Releford was the lone aggressor, but his confidence soon became contagious.
“He put the team on his back tonight for sure,” center Jeff Withey said. “He played great defense. Offensively, he was a stud. He was tough. It was awesome to see him do that.”
The Jayhawks somehow flipped a switch in the second half and knocked down 63 percent (17 of 27) from the field, including 5-of-8 3-pointers after missing their first six. This wasn’t Jekyll and Hyde. This was the 1973 76ers turning into the 1996 Bulls.
The Jayhawks scored the last basket of the half and opened the next one with a 33-10 run. The Tar Heels couldn't score inside against Withey, and his rim-protecting presence contributed to an aggressive approach on the perimeter.
Travis Releford could chase Bullock above screens, rather than go under them, to take away 3-point looks. The strategy created openings for UNC's wings to drive, but the Jayhawks were content funneling them toward Withey.
"My sophomore year, my junior year, if my guy beat me, I was OK because John Henson and Tyler Zeller was down there," Strickland said. "I'm pretty sure they felt the same way about him."
Withey had more turnovers (five) than points (four) in the opening half, but the quick hands of double-teaming defenders stopped producing steals. The Tar Heels remained focused on stopping Withey, who still scored 12 points after the break, and they were more willing to take their chances with Kansas' erratic shooting.
The Jayhawks were 0-for-12 from 3-point range in their first three NCAA tournament halves, and 32.7-percent outside shooter Naadir Tharpe accounted for three of his team's five long-distance makes in the final 20 minutes.
It was a nightmarish scenario for the go-small Tar Heels. They could survive a rebounding disparity as long as they shot well, but Kansas' defense dominated the boards while also forcing perimeter miss after perimeter miss.
The 2008 Final Four game between the schools is famous for the Jayhawks' 40-12 start, and they scored the last 12 points in an 80-67 regional final last season. Kansas ran away from the Tar Heels again on Sunday, leaving them behind in the rear-view mirror and forcing Williams to reflect on what might have been.
It was Kansas' eighth game in the Sprint Center this season and, after La Salle upset Kansas State on Friday, the Tar Heels lost the anti-Kansas support they would have had from the purple half of the crowd. Instead, it was an all-Kansas arena despite 6 inches of snow falling in the area.
"I think the key is it's close to Lawrence," said Kansas guard Travis Releford, who is from Kansas City. "Our fans come here and they give us a lot of energy. When we go down, I feel like the game's not over at any point. With them cheering us on, giving us that energy, it helps us a lot."
Even the two rows of seats directly behind the North Carolina bench were filled with Kansas fans. That area used to be media workspace, but the NCAA turned it into seating this tournament and sold the high-dollar seats to the general public ï¿½ which in this location meant Kansas fans.
The public-address announcer also breached protocol to announce a bench warning on Tar Heels coach Roy Williams, which revved up the crowd and had North Carolina representatives screaming at the scorers' table.
Not so sweet: North Carolina had reached the regional semifinals in 23 of its previous 29 NCAA tournament appearances. The last time the Tar Heels failed to advance past the first weekend was 2006, when they lost to George Mason.
"We looked at ourselves in the mirror," point guard Naadir Tharpe said after top-seeded Kansas rolled to a 70-58 victory over the 8th-seeded Tar Heels in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. "And (we said), ‘You know, we've got to make sure we help out the seniors more than they help us out. Because they work hard every single day.'"
Once Releford and the other Jayhawk seniors got out the jumper cables, the rest was academic.
Fox Sports KC
Some call him “Pops.” Others call him “Old Guy.” Then there’s Elijah Johnson, who just likes to call him “Big Homie.”
It’s become commonplace for the Jayhawks to poke fun at Travis Releford’s age. Yet they weren’t joking about his play after Releford helped the Jayhawks avoid a second-round collapse Sunday against North Carolina.
“I call him Big Homie because he just does things that a lot of people can’t do,” Johnson said. “I don’t call him Travis or Releford or Travis Releford. I call him Big Homie and he knows who I’m talking to. Sometimes I just have to throw that out there and he’s like, ‘Say no more,’ and he’ll take over. He does what some of us can’t do sometimes.”
…They listened to Releford, one of four senior leaders.
Players like Perry Ellis and Naadir Tharpe would have no choice but to step up. They didn’t want this to be their last game with Releford, Johnson, Jeff Withey and Kevin Young.
“It definitely opened my eyes,” Ellis said. “You could tell that this is really it. This is it for them. If they lose, they’re done.”
“It woke everybody up,” Tharpe said.
…“It definitely was personal for me,” Releford said. “I (didn’t) want to end my career in Kansas City.”
The “Big Homie” was home.
“Kansas City, baby,” Johnson said. “He’s at home. You’ve got to think about it. He’s the most comfortable person in the gym. We had four seniors. They had one senior. The most comfortable player in the gym and the oldest player in the gym. There’s not too much more to say.”
Something clearly needed to change, and so the Jayhawks did what they often do in these situations. Ben McLemore looped around for a backdoor cut. Elijah Johnson tossed a lob toward the rim, and everyone in the building could see what was coming next. McLemore was going to dunk, the Jayhawks were going to roar and Roy Williams was going to get another early trip to the golf course courtesy of his former school.
Except, for reasons still unknown, McLemore didn’t dunk. He didn’t try to dunk. He caught the ball in midair, tried to toss it off the glass and watched it bounce off the heel of the rim instead.
“To tell you the truth, I really don’t know what happened,” McLemore said.
So, no, this wasn’t your classic Kansas comeback. But just when it seemed like KU’s NCAA odometer was destined to stall 40 miles from home, the Jayhawks pulled together and played, for the first time in this tournament, like the No. 1 seed they are...
Sporting a shiner below his right eye, Jeff Withey looked the part of a tough-guy enforcer.
But with Kansas trailing an undersized North Carolina team at halftime, Withey wasn’t sure he’d played that role to his potential.
“The first half I went really soft,” said Withey, KU’s senior center. “Coach (Bill) Self came in here at halftime and said, ‘We have a size advantage, but we’re not using it.’
“I knew that I had to just go through everybody and dunk it. That’s what pretty much happened in the second half.”
…“I think we all saw a difference in Jeff,” point guard Elijah Johnson said. “McAdoo tried to dunk on him, and I felt like Jeff didn’t like that.”
Withey has a shiny bruise to show for his efforts, though coach Bill Self had seen worse.
“It may get some pity loving for him,” Self said. “Somebody might feel sorry for him.”
…After watching Michigan dismantle Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday, Johnson said the Jayhawks are eager for a crack at the Wolverines in the Sweet 16.
“If we would have won the whole tournament, I wouldn’t feel right by saying we won and didn’t even play the best teams,” Johnson said. “Out of respect for my team and our program, I feel like we’ve got to take this journey. I’m pretty sure they feel the same way. They’ve probably been watching us on TV and have mutual feelings.”
Scouting reports will come later, but Johnson is familiar with Michigan point guard Trey Burke and the challenge that awaits in Arlington.
“He carries a lot of weight for them,” Johnson said. “He’s the head.”
KU senior Travis Releford held UNC’s Reggie Bullock to five points off 1-of-7 shooting.
“He did a great job on Bullock,” Self said. “The guy he’s checking who is right there as their leading scorer, gets five (points) and Travis gets 22. Of course he’s so steady and he’s a rock. He doesn’t get tired. He can play all day.”
Releford, who had 13 second-half points, hit KU’s first three-pointer of the NCAAs in a second-half opening 11-3 run that stretched to 29-8.
“I was wide open, stepped into it and took the shot,” Releford said of the bucket that cut the deficit to 30-26. “I wasn’t thinking, ‘We need the shot, need to make it.’ I was just focused on the game right then.”
…KU junior forward Justin Wesley suffered a severely sprained right ankle at practice Saturday. He was on crutches and wore a boot on his foot while not suiting up for the game.
Self said there were no broken bones.
“X-rays were negative. We hope he’ll be able to participate in practice (this week) but there’s no timetable now,” Self said.
But in the moments after the game, Self had found the senior, Travis Releford, for a quiet moment. Releford had scored 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds in 38 minutes, willing his team to a victory after it had faced a nine-point deficit at halftime.
This was Self, of course, so he wanted to talk defense. And he tried to point out that the man Releford was guarding, North Carolina’s Reggie Bullock, had only scored five points while shooting one of seven from the field.
“No, he didn’t,” Releford said. “He didn’t get any on me.”
Self smiled as he recalled the story on Sunday night.
…“If we’re gonna play ugly,” Releford said. “We gotta make the other team play ugly, too.”
In the opening minutes of the second half, Releford finally popped the lid off the goal with a three-pointer. And the run soon turned into a tidal wave. The Jayhawks hit five of eight from three-point range in the second half. And when sophomore Naadir Tharpe drilled a three-pointer with 10:32 left, the Jayhawks had outscored North Carolina 29-8 in the second half and taken a 50-38 lead.
“When all else fails,” senior Kevin Young said. “We just gotta play defense.”
Bill Self, who has an even 300 coaching victories at Kansas University in 10 seasons, has given a rousing halftime speech or two to his players in that span.
He’s also been smart enough — and flexible enough — to defer to others in the oratory department when the need arises.
“We can do better. We’re better than this,” Self said of Sunday’s message at halftime to his No. 1-seeded Jayhawks, who trailed No. 8-seed North Carolina by a whopping nine points. He then told his players to talk amongst themselves, a strategy that apparently proved pivotal in a 70-58 comeback victory in Sprint Center that propelled KU into Friday’s Sweet 16 contest against Michigan in Arlington, Texas.
…“Coach yelled at us a little bit,” Young said, “then Elijah (senior guard Johnson, five points, 1-of-6 shooting with four assists, two turnovers) asked, ‘What are we going to do to change this?’ I said, ‘Win,’’’ Young related.
“Jeff motivated us going down the line saying, ‘This isn’t going to be our last game. He asked Ben (McLemore), ‘Is this going to be your last game?’ He asked Elijah that; Travis that. We all said, ‘No.'"
The Jayhawks’ actions backed up the halftime words.
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self’s emotions took a wild spin on a tilt-a-whirl ride Sunday and sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe was behind the wheel, making his coach’s expressions scream “No!” “Yes!” “No!” “Oh no!” “Oh no, not again!” “Yes!” “Yes!” “Yes!”
While others sweated watching him, Tharpe played with the confidence of a man convinced that in the end everything would be just fine. He made sure of it. Mixing addled plays with brilliant ones, Tharpe had far more of the latter and helped Kansas storm from 11 points down to reach the Sweet 16 with a 70-58 victory against North Carolina.
On a day KU seniors Jeff Withey and Travis Releford relentlessly dominated at both ends in the second half, Kansas needed one of its underclassmen to join the party. On this day it wasn’t going to be either Ben McLemore (0-for-9, two points) or Perry Ellis (1-for-3, three points).
Tharpe answered the call, overshadowing his spills with thrills that chilled the partisan Kansas crowd.
A 5-foot-11 sophomore guard from Worcester, Mass., Tharpe scored all of his 12 points in a second half in which he made all three of his three-point shots. He also made three of four free throws in the half.
And then there were the plays that made his coach hold his head to keep it from exploding.
Instead of laying the ball in, Tharpe fired an off-target behind-the-back pass that Releford turned into a bucket, but that didn’t keep Self from pointing at Tharpe in frustration. Late in the game, Tharpe picked up one of his four turnovers on a five-second violation.
Tharpe’s most embarrassing moment “will never happen again” he vowed afterward. With Perry Ellis at the free throw line ready to take a second shot, Tharpe was talking to Elijah Johnson about “how to defend the next play” when he absentmindedly walked onto the three-point line, a lane violation. As soon as the whistle blew, a low, harsh voice shot through the still-silent arena. It belonged to Self.
…We all see Self shaking his head at Tharpe’s miscues during games, but we’re not privy to other moments when the coach tells him what he thinks of his game.
“He comes up to me a lot and talks to me about how he wants me to be aggressive and always tells me how I’m a good player and how I’m a great shooter,” Tharpe said. “When your coach tells you that, it’s hard for you not to play with confidence. He’s been here a long time and he’s been around some great players. For him to say that to me, I feel like that’s how I have to play, and I need to do as much as I can to help him out.”
“People who blinked or turned the channel,” Johnson says, “they don’t even know what happened.”
Here’s a hint: the Jayhawks got challenged.
They are perhaps the best team in college basketball when this happens. A dangerous group with experience, athleticism, focus, poise and way too much defense. For whatever reason, they need to be pushed to show it. This is part of their identity now, both individually and as a group. Comfort does these guys no good.
For what it’s worth, Young doesn’t agree with this premise. Said it’s just a matter of the ball bouncing their way. Johnson said he wasn’t sure, then talked around the question.
There are a million factors and natural inconsistencies in this sport, but the evidence that KU needs discomfort is mounting. As a group, they played one of their best games in a win at Ohio State and some of their worst after rising to No. 1 in the coaches’ poll. When Bill Self talked about Topeka YMCA and they lost a third straight game, they responded by blowing out K-State and playing their way into another conference championship and a NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed.
They played so hard for that top seed, then drifted through their first game against Western Kentucky. They played timid in the first half against North Carolina, then what might be their best 20 minutes of the season in the second half.
Individually, it’s the same thing. Bill Self essentially challenged Withey’s manhood after the first Mizzou game last year, and that’s when he became a force and future millionaire. Self said his team didn’t have a point guard after the Oklahoma State loss, and two weeks later Johnson played the best game of his life.
Ease is trouble for these guys. Comfort creates problems. They are at their best when things around them are at their worst, and this is a heck of a way to go through March.
KC Star Mellinger
Tharpe’s signature moment came with 5:40 left and the Tar Heels trying to muster one last run. After North Carolina’s P.J. Hairston hit a three-pointer to make the score 57-47, Tharpe caught the ball on the left wing, took a dribble jab-step to get his defender off-balance and stepped back to hit a three-pointer.
North Carolina never threatened again.
“We’ve had close games like this, but we know we’re not going to quit,” Tharpe said. “I felt like it was one of my greatest games, yes, because of the stakes more than anything.”
Tharpe’s teammates were wowed by his performance, particularly Johnson, who smiled when asked about Tharpe, who entered the game averaging 5.4 points and 3.0 assists.
“(Tharpe) doesn’t always take the shot that Coach wants him to take, he doesn’t always do exactly what you want him to do,” Johnson said. “But you know what? He found a way to get it done tonight. That’s what matters.”
The next test is Michigan in that Sweet 16 game in Arlington, Texas. By that time, Self will have to find out why McLemore (0 for 9 on Sunday) hasn't emerged in what most likely will be his only NCAA tournament. Or that those turnovers just keep coming.
“I think with Ben, it's just through repetition,” Self said. “He just needs to see the ball go through the hole this week in practice.”
The simple beauty of making that first shot. Self had to be aware of it at halftime: In trailing 30-21, his team had made only seven field goals. That made it quite a lethargic NCAA tournament overall for the top-seeded Jayhawks who struggled with Western Kentucky in the first round.
But by now, Roy Williams knows the feeling. For third time since he left Kansas 10 years ago, North Carolina's coach felt the wrath of a Jayhawk Nation scorned. For the third time, Williams and his Heels were routed all the way back to Tobacco Road. In three post-Roy meetings, Kansas has won by a combined 43 points.
…His five blocks gave him 43 in his NCAA tournament career, No. 2 all time in the postseason behind some guy named Tim Duncan.
“It's an great honor obviously to be behind someone like Tim Duncan,” Withey said. “It's an honor but hopefully I can pass him.”
He's got at least one more game to do it.
CBS Dennis Dodd
LJW Rankings: Releford stellar on both ends against UNC
As Michigan prepares for the Sweet 16, the Wolverines understand that scoring against Kansas might not be as easy as it was against South Dakota State and VCU last week.
The No. 1 seed Jayhawks, Friday’s opponent in the NCAA tournament’s South Regional in Arlington, Texas, leads the nation by allowing opponents to shoot only 35.7%.
“They are not going to allow you to have too many open shots,” U-M coach John Beilein said on WTKA-AM (1050)’s “Michigan Insider” show today. “It’s very important. They are not going to let you execute offensively. And defensively, they’re one of the (teams) with the big center, the high-low game.”
…Though it was intimidating to watch Kansas hold UNC nearly 20 points below its scoring average, Beilein understands there are countermeasures.
“If we can defend and we can run, that negates all that,” he said on WTKA. “It will go both ways.”
Detroit Free Press
Small talk ensued and I said I was a reporter from Wichita but I was here covering Kansas. I also said I had just done a story the other day about how Demetric Williams and Elijah Johnson were best friends. One of the women at the table, who was clad in KU gear, leaned back and looked at me with a coy smile and said, 'Elijah who?'
I said with a knowing grin, 'Elijah Johnson. You're his mom, aren't you?' Yep, that was Elijah's mom and dad with whom I was watching the game. They were naturally rooting for Wichita State because of the ties between their sons but also, because of their family.
You see, the world is constantly getting smaller. Elijah told me the other night that Demetric started getting recruited by Wichita State because of 'connections.' I didn't put it all together until tonight: Elijah's uncle is a Couisnard. Wichita State fans will know that name all too well. P.J. played at Wichita State the last time that the Shockers made the Sweet 16, his dad Prince is Elijah's uncle. And it all comes full circle.
It was such a pleasure talking to Elijah's mom, much like it is talking to Elijah. His dad was great too. Really just funny how simple timing can work out.
KWCH Jenn's Blog
For anyone who still doubts that Lawrence is nuts about Jayhawk basketball, there is this bit of news: South Middle School has postponed a dance that was scheduled for Friday evening because it conflicts with the Sweet 16 game between Kansas and Michigan.
Julie Rea, the school secretary at South, said they just didn't think the dance would be well attended, considering the Jayhawks will be on TV at the same time. The dance will be rescheduled for another time.
NCAA Dove Moments of Care Video: Team of destiny (2008 Memphis vs KU)
It was there before they arrived in Ames. By the time they reached Manhattan. Waiting for them at the Sprint Center.
And it’ll precede the Jayhawks to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, site of their Friday showdown against Michigan in the Sweet 16.
Few in the Kansas locker room knew where the little white rug that bears the school’s familiar Jayhawks logo came from, but they all know that it accompanies KU men’s basketball team on every road trip. Has for years.
KU players, coaches and staff are also well aware that no one is allowed to set foot on the 2-by-3-foot chunk of carpet once it’s laid down in the middle of the locker-room floor.
“I just know that the seniors have said don’t step on it,” said first-year forward Perry Ellis.
Visiting and don’t know the rules? Even the freshmen, guys such as Evan Manning and Tyler Self, will break it down for you.
“Hey, hey — watch the rug,” Manning scolded a foot-dragging cameraman on Friday.
“We try to keep everybody off it,” Self explained Sunday.
If only the rug could speak for itself. Gallagher-Iba. Bramlage. Maui. The Alamodome … The stories it could tell.
But since textiles can’t talk, players are left to protect its sanctity.
“Man, you’re not allowed to put your feet on it, knock it over, anything like that,” said sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe.
Jeff Withey, the team’s 7-foot senior, explained its origins.
“It’s a tradition from our old locker room,” Withey explained. “Before we got it renovated, it had a Jayhawk in the middle, and no one could step on the Jayhawk.”
A school official said the rug was made long ago by a woman who presented it to the team as a gift. Several years ago, she saw a photograph of the rug on the Internet and stepped forward to identify it as her handiwork.
She was shocked that the ritual continues. Heck, it thrives.
“It’s identity, tradition for all the teams that have been here,” senior forward Kevin Young said, looking around the locker room. “It just shows how much history is in here.”
KU WBB vs South Carolina tonight, ESPN2 8:30pm CT
VOTE for Kansas players, team, and moment in NCAA 75th Anniversary of March Madness (Vote for Wilt, Clyde, Danny, 51-52 Kansas, Mario's Miracle)
Big 12/College News
CBS, Turner: TV ratings for opening week of #MarchMadness highest in 23 years, up 5 percent from last year (@CBSSportsGang) #sportsbiz
Sweet 16 coaches: Midwest coaches have 23 Final Four appearances; East coaches have 5; South coaches have 5; West coaches have 2.
Sweet 16 coaches: Midwest coaches have 6 National Championships; South have 3; East have 1; West have none.
Sweet 16 has 4 Big 10 teams, 3 Big East, 2 ACC, 2 Pac-12, 1 Big 12, 1 SEC, 1 MVC, 1 A10, and one A-Sun.
THIS JUST IN: Tubby Smith has been let go as head basketball coach at Minnesota, sources tell CBSSports. Went 124-81 in 6 seasons w/ team.
4. I'll never pick a team coached by any of the following coaches in an NCAA tournament toss-up game ever again: Frank Haith, Steve Alford, Bruce Weber, Frank Haith, Bo Ryan, John Thompson III, Frank Haith, Jamie Dixon, Frank Haith, Mark Few, Frank Haith, and Roy Williams if he's playing Kansas.
Oh, and Frank Haith. Don't forget about him.
Grantland Mark Titus
The funny thing is that they're just as loose off the court as they are on it, full of great stories and quotes, happy to talk to anybody and everybody. And, yes, they're just as blown away by all of this as you are. They admit it and display it.
"Wow," said Florida Gulf Coast's Eric McKnight when I told him his ridiculous and vicious alley-oop was trending on Twitter. Then I told him he and his teammates are the biggest story in sports. Not just college basketball. Sports. All of sports. Including everything.
"Really?" McKnight asked. "Wow. Wow. Wow. This is all very hard to believe."
Perhaps because it's unprecedented.
Florida Gulf Coast made history here Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center with an 81-71 victory against San Diego State that made the Eagles the first 15 seed in NCAA tournament history to advance to the Sweet 16. So now the greatest (and newest) show in college basketball -- Florida Dunk Coast -- is headed to Jerry Jones' Dallas Cowboys Stadium. To play the University of Florida. For a trip to the Elite Eight.
…They are 14 lightly recruited prospects led by a man who was, before Friday, more famous for the model he married than for anything he'd done on or off the court. Now they're stars, every last one of them. And how in the world did Florida Gulf Coast only finish second in the Atlantic Sun and lose twice to a Lipscomb team that went 12-18 this season?
"They're our kryptonite," Florida Gulf Coast's Eddie Murray joked. "We're just glad we don't have to see [Lipscomb] in the Sweet 16."
#FGCU's Brett Comer played his HS freshman season in KC at Blue Valley Northwest
New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow decided he would make a special detour stop in Kansas on Sunday to congratulate the Wichita State men's basketball team.
Tebow's plane made a stop at the Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita to refuel the same time the Shockers basketball team, pep band, and cheerleaders landed.
Wichita State, a No. 9 seed, upset No. 1 seeded Gonzaga 76-70 on Saturday night in Salt Lake City.
Tebow hopped on the team's bus to give the players some words of encouragement before the Shockers headed back to campus. He told them that no matter what happens in their life after college, they will never forget these moments.
"Some of you might go play in the NBA, you might have great lives, but this is the time you'll remember," Tebow said while speaking to the players on their team bus. "All of you all together, ballin' out there together, training together, putting in the heart and the sweat, everything, caring about each other. You'll never forget guys, this is what it's made of and these are the special times in your life, regardless of what you do in the future.
"So I just want to say congrats. You're an inspiration to so many people, so always remember that and how you carry yourself and your character, how you represent your school, your family, your team, your brothers on the team, but also, man, just go out there and ball out, leave nothing on the court. I know you don't need to hear that from me, but I just wish y'all luck and we're praying for you. God bless, and y'all go do it, all right, guys?"
ESPN: Reseeding the Sweet 16
Updated odds : Louisville 3/1; Indiana, Florida 5/1; Miami-Fl 7/1; Ohio State 8/1; Duke 10/1; Kansas, Michigan 12/1
CIA Bounce AAU co-founder Mike George is becoming an NBA Agent. He's worked with Khem Birch, Anthony Bennett, Andrew Wiggins, etc.
Recruiting never stops for Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, who picked up a commitment during the NCAA tournament from Gavin Schilling and for 2013 was busy working on top 2014 point guard Tyus Jones hours after the Spartans defeated Memphis in Auburn Hills.
Izzo traveled to Minneapolis to watch the Apple Valley star lead his team to a state title, arriving at the Target Center only about three hours after advancing to the Sweet 16, according to The Star Tribune.
Here’s a little blind test for you. One recruiting class, we’ll call it A, is made up of the number 25, 26, 31, 37, and 134-ranked high school basketball players in the country. Players ranked 24, 51 and 92 will return to this team.
Another recruiting class, we’ll call it B, was made up of the number 8, 12, 13, and 28 ranked high school players in the country. That team returned players ranked 27, 34, and 54.
These classes are two of rivals.com’s highest ranked classes since it began its service in 1998.
It’s not too rash to say that any coach in America would take either of these classes in a heartbeat. Bill Self got both of them.
Class A is Kansas’s 2013 recruiting class. This team will also sport veterans such as Naadir Tharpe, Perry Ellis, Andrew White III and Jamari Traylor.
Class B was Kansas’s 2005 recruiting class, one of Self’s best, with names like Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush and Julian Wright, and that team returned Sasha Kaun, Darnell Jackson and Russell Robinson.
Class B won a National Championship. I wouldn’t be surprised if Class A follows suit.
Conner Frankamp is a 6-foot point guard from Wichita who is so Kirk Hinrich-esque it sends shivers down my back. He can also nail 3-pointers.
Shooting guard Wayne Selden is a titan from Tilton, N.H., checking in at 6-feet-5 inches and 225 pounds. The guy is a human highlight reel if you haven’t already seen his film.
Brannen Greene, a small forward from Georgia, is my dark horse out of this group. I think he is a little overlooked by most Kansas fans, but the guy is 6-foot-7, and can shoot and finish at the basket.
Kansas will dearly miss its defensive safety blanket down low, Jeff Withey, when he graduates; there is no denying he will leave big shoes to fill, but 7-foot Joel Embid, from Gainesville, Fla., certainly has the dimensions to fill Withey’s sneakers.
Even though he may not be quite as amazing of a defender as Withey, his offensive post game already looks more polished coming out of high school than Withey’s does now, and he has a smooth jumper.
I’m confident that if Kansas could only play with freshmen next year, they would still win the Big 12.
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