Moderator: Our chat with Gary and Tom will begin shortly. Thanks to both writers and our readers for their time on such a busy day.
Grant, Wilmington DE): Which do you think is the most difficult match-up for each team?
Tom Housenick: There's no doubt that they don't have an answer for Wayne Simien. They don't have a physical presence with the athletic ability and skill who can handle him one-on-one.
Gary Bedore: Probably the fact that Bucknell has a 6-foot-9 and 6-11 player so KU will have to make sure to avoid foul trouble with its big guys.
Brian, Haysville: I've read that Bucknell played against high level opponents on the road (Iowa State, St. Joseph's's, Pittsburgh, and Villanova) winning at Pittsburgh and St. Joseph's. I also read that they would not be feel intimidated by having to play against the Jayhawks. My question is this: Has Bucknell played in a facility like the one on Oklahoma City and if that could be a factor for them on offense??
Tom Housenick: There's no question that there's going to be some intimidation, simply because this isn't a nonconference game in November. This is win or be done. It will be like a home game for Kansas and I think that definitely will be a factor, especially if Kansas gets out to a fast start.
Travis, Raymond: Will Keith Langford play? I know that's the BIG question! I hope so. GO KU!!!!
Gary Bedore: I haven't seen him today because I'm at the arena, and the Jayhawks aren't meeting with the media until after game time. I expect that unless he had a bad night with the stomach flu last night, he should be able to go because he's adamant about playing.
Beau, Warrensburg, Mo.: Gary, thanks for all of your hard work this year covering the Jayhawks. The time and effort you put in your job does not go unnoticed. What do you feel was the biggest Kansas storyline this season?
Gary Bedore: Probably the stunning three-game losing streak that caught everybody off-guard, and the fact that they dropped five of their last eight games. Four of those losses came with guys out with injuries, but it was still a confusing part of the season.
Steven, Amarillo: Mr. Housenick, just wanted to see what your thoughts were on Bucknell and its mindset and how the team is reacting to the tournament atmosphere?
Tom Housenick: After speaking to their captains and their coach yesterday, they don't seem any different than they were last week for the Patriot League tournament. This is a loose group. They have a lot of self-confidence and I think that will help carry them. I think it will help offset the fact that they're the last game of the first round and have had to sit around all day and night today.
Mike, Troy, MI: Does Bucknell play much zone defense?
Tom Housenick: They're primarily a man-to-man team, but have shown a lot of match-up zone, especially late in the season. I think you'll see a heck of a lot more of it tonight than the regular season, especially given the match-up problems KU poses.
John, Austin, TX: It seems KU is beat at the line by number of attempts on a regular basis. Any thoughts as to why we don't do more driving to get our guys to the line more often?
Gary Bedore: One of the starters, Giddens, doesn't really drive that much, so he doesn't ever get to the foul line. And Aaron doesn't take it to the hole that much. So that leaves Wayne, who does get fouled a lot. The freshmen big men aren't very smooth yet. That leaves Keith, who does blast to the hole, but his free-throw form has been off this year.
You're right. It's not a strength of the team, going to the hole.
Jeff, Lawrence: What's mood back in Pennsylvania about Bucknell's trip to the tournament?
Tom Housenick: It's primarily a high school area, so there's not the overwhelming town and area support you might expect for the smaller schools. However, Bucknell and the city of Lewisburg have shown great support. What has not helped the Bucknell community is that they are on spring break this week, so there has not been a lot of hoopla on campus this week.
Jacob, Meriden: Are KU's hopes for a national title realistic this year? I mean, we have the team, the players, the coaches. But I don't think there has been a week where they have played in national champion form. What do you think?
Gary Bedore: Yeah, it's still realistic. The seniors appear to really want it, which is a great sign. However, as you know, this regional is very very tough and KU is only going to win it all by playing their best ball of the year. But, if Keith is OK, the goals should be the same as on October 15th - winning it all.
Jay, Liberty, MO: Who is the most famous alum from Bucknell?
Tom Housenick: For those who are older than 17, it's probably Christy Mathewson, the great baseball pitcher. The football stadium at Bucknell is named after him. For those who are younger, it's probably Jay Wright, who is the coach at Villanova. He was a teammate of Pat Flannery for a year.
KB, Prairie Village: Gary, I'm wondering how the freshman have practiced this week with the spot light and added excitement and pressure of the big dance?
Gary Bedore: They seem to be pretty loose. Galindo and C.J. Giles insist they want to send the seniors out on a strong note. But from the one practice we were allowed to see, the freshmen appear to be doing fine.
Pat, Lawrence: How is the Bucknell's overall health going into tonight's game?
Tom Housenick: John Clark, who's from Tulsa, has a severe foot injury and they're not sure if he's going to be able to play again. His career is in question. Basically, one bone is broken into two at the base of his foot and as the season's gone on the wear and tear have made him a non-factor. He's the only one, in terms of health, who's affected at this point. Doctors have told him that if he has the surgery to fix it, he'll never play basketball again.
Chris, Lawrence: Gary, you are such a fantastic writer and valuable asset to your newspaper, as well as to KU fans everywhere. Thank you for your dedication to covering the Jayhawks. As an expert who has covered KU for almost two decades, what is your honest assessment of how far this team can go? Also, what will it take for KU to beat UCONN if they end up meeting in the Sweet 16?
Gary Bedore: Well, I honestly think they will go to the Final Four, because of the seniors, most notably Simien, who seems to want to carry the team on his back like Manning did in '88.
Don't forget that UCONN and Carolina could get upset before meeting KU. But, if they play UCONN, KU faces a major challenge on the boards.
Overall, I'd say the odds are good of making the Final Four at least.
Gary Bedore: Thanks for participating and make sure to watch the game tonight.
Moderator: That will end our chat with Gary Bedore and Tom Housenick. Thanks again to both of them and our readers for their time just a few hours before the game.