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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Kansas basketball notebook

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Kansas University radio play-by-play announcer Bob Davis, who worked the KU-Missouri football game on Saturday morning/afternoon in Columbia, Mo., arrived at Orleans Arena two hours before tipoff for the KU-Florida basketball game.

"Ask me after the game," Davis said good-naturedly, asked if he was tired after a 3-hour, 15-minute flight on the university jet with athletic director Lew Perkins, former KU color commentator Max Falkenstien and Larry Hare, assistant AD/equipment operations.

"I wanted to do it," Davis said of working the KU doubleheader. "Lew made it happen."

Davis has worked KU football and basketball games on the same day before, but the games were played in Lawrence. However, he has made several similarly grueling trips during baseball season. Davis also is play-by-play man of the Kansas City Royals.

"We've done football Saturday night and a baseball game the next day - Dallas one night and Tampa Bay the next day," he said.

Perkins said the day started at 7:30 a.m., when the university plane took off from Lawrence for Columbia.

"I thought it was important for football and wanted to come here and see this game," Perkins said, well aware the football game had bowl implications.

Perkins said it was a waiting game to see if KU would reach a bowl game at 6-6.

"We know nothing more now than we did before the game, just wait and see," Perkins said.

¢ Ref's brother works at UConn: One of the three refs for Saturday's KU-Florida game was Duke Edsall, brother of Connecticut football coach Randy Edsall. KU's Perkins hired Edsall when Perkins was AD at UConn. The crew was an Atlantic Coast Conference crew. KU plays in the Big 12 and Florida in the SEC.

¢ Exempt tourney lineup unsettled: Like most powerhouse programs, KU plans to play in an exempt tournament every year, since the courts overturned an NCAA rule that limited teams to playing in two tourneys every four years.

KU was to have played in the Preseason NIT next season, but has backed out because of a new tournament format in which teams play two games at neutral sites, not campus sites.

Kansas could reconsider if the NIT returns to the old format where the Jayhawks would play two home games with semis and finals in New York.

Attendance was not strong at the neutral sites this year.

In 2008, KU will compete in the College Basketball Experience in Kansas City, Mo. The format features two home games and two at Kansas City's Sprint Center.

KU has not yet signed a contract to return to the Maui Invitational in 2009.

"We are eligible to go back to Maui (in '09)," KU senior associate AD Larry Keating said. "What tends to happen is, it tends to be many of the same teams every four years. For example, Arizona is going back in '09. We've got some things we're looking at."

KU will play at Georgia Tech, Boston College and Southern California next season.

¢ Tough love: Florida coach Billy Donovan isn't afraid to bench some of the star-studded players who led the Gators to a national title last season.

Tuesday, junior power forward Joakim Noah was banished off the court for the last 12 minutes of the first half of the Gators' 94-33 Las Vegas Invitational victory over Prairie View.

"I thought I was playing hard, but I wasn't," said Noah, the son of former tennis great Yannick Noah. "I was ready to go back in the game, but he (Donovan) said no. I said I was ready, but he said, 'You should have been ready from the opening tip.' He was right.

"I love coach Donovan. He's such a genuine person, and he keeps it real for me."

Noah responded to his extended time on the bench by finishing with 19 points against Prairie View.

Noah told the Las Vegas Review Journal that winning a national title was all it is cracked up to be.

"It has been an amazing experience," he said. "To have impacted so many people's lives, to have brought so much joy to our campus and community, it has been wonderful."

¢ Gator aura: Florida coach Donovan says people who deem his team invincible forget last year's performance in the SEC regular season. The Gators went 10-6.

"We have created an aura that we are an unbelievable team," he said. "Our guys are grounded in who they are. They realize a year ago we weren't ranked, went 10-6 in the league. We won six games (in NCAAs), but they realize where we came from and how we still have a lot of work to do."

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