Sunday, February 26, 2006



ESPN GameDay announcers Digger Phelps and Jay Bilas each picked Texas to defeat KU during Saturday's GameDay show from Erwin Center. ESPN's Andy Katz didn't predict on-air, but he offered his pick - Texas - in the media room. The Longhorns entered anywhere between five- and seven-point favorites.

¢ Stop, thief: KU sophomore Mario Chalmers, who had five steals, has 73 this season. He moved into second place on the Big 12 freshman record list behind Cookie Belcher, who had 87 in 1996-97.

¢ Arthur on hand : or not: Recruit Darrell Arthur, 6-foot-9 from Dallas, who reportedly was to attend the game, was not seen in the stands. He's considering KU, Texas, SMU and Baylor at this time. To impress the ballyhooed prep, a Texas student wore a King Arthur outfit complete with a crown.

¢ NBA dreams: If - and it's a big, big if - Texas' LaMarcus Aldridge, Daniel Gibson and P.J. Tucker return to school next season, the Longhorns probably would be preseason No. 1 in the country.

Aldridge is most likely to leave, since he's expected to be tapped no lower than No. 2 overall in the NBA's June draft.

"As far as I'm thinking, I'm a four-year guy," Aldridge, a 6-foot-10 sophomore, told the Fort-Worth Star Telegram. "But at the end of the year, coach (Rick Barnes) said he would sit down with me and weigh my options. That's the smart thing to do, and I won't know until that time."

Gibson, a 6-2 sophomore, also said Barnes would influence his decision.

"Coach Barnes, when the time comes, will let me know," Gibson said. "There is always the possibility I will be here for four years. That's why I came here, to be a four-year player."

Tucker, according to the Fort Worth paper, appears to be the least likely to make the NBA jump.

The 6-5 junior said the opportunity to play with next year's group, which includes incoming 6-9 wing Kevin Durant, would be "cool."

¢ Seeds, sites: It's never too early to begin discussing where KU will be sent in the NCAA Tournament.

Of course, such discussion is pure speculation, something to debate at the office cooler, nobody knowing for sure what will happen until Selection Sunday.

The NCAA Tournament committee tries to send the top four seeds in each regional to the site closest to their campuses. Lately, it has been speculated both KU and Texas would be sent to the first- and second-round round site in Dallas, because it's by far the closest site to both universities.

What's forgotten, however, is Dallas also is the closest site for John Calipari's Memphis Tigers. LSU and Oklahoma also have hopes of playing in Dallas.

Dayton, Ohio, is the second-closest of the eight first- and second-round sites to Lawrence. Ohio State and Pitt, of course, have designs on playing in Dayton.

If KU isn't sent to Dallas or Dayton, San Diego; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Salt Lake City might be possibilities. Other sites are: Philadelphia; Auburn Hills, Mich.; and Greensboro, N.C.

"If we are a top-16 seed, we may be fighting Texas, maybe LSU for the Dallas site," KU senior associate AD Larry Keating said, indicating the NCAA committee had "consistently stated it sends the first 16 teams to the closest site."

¢ Max to be honored, too: KU has one remaining home game, Wednesday's 7 p.m. Senior Night battle against Colorado.

KU seniors Jeff Hawkins, Christian Moody, Stephen Vinson and maybe even former player/current student manager Moulaye Niang will take turns speaking to the fans after the contest, as tradition dictates.

A special twist will come at halftime, when legendary announcer Max Falkenstien, who will be working his last home game as color announcer, will be honored.


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