Gary and Carroll Smith don't want much for their golden anniversary.
A national championship would be nice, of course, but not required from a team preparing to open play tonight in the NCAA Tournament.
"We don't want to put that kind of pressure on them," said Gary Smith, who will celebrate today's 50th wedding anniversary by - what else? - attending Kansas' 6:10 p.m. game against Niagara.
But Carroll Smith is convinced that their wedding's long-term strength bodes well for the Jayhawks tonight at the United Center.
"It's our anniversary," she said. "That guarantees we're going to win."
No Purple Eagles are going to spoil their crimson-and-blue celebration - one focused more on advancing to the second round than enjoying a nice dinner, taking a cruise or exchanging gifts.
Yes, they exchanged vows March 16, 1957, in Kansas City, Kan., but they also started attending KU games regularly that season. And they see no reason to stop now.
2491 total votes.
The kids may want to plan a special event or trip or whatever, but the Smiths aren't having any of it. Yet.
"We won't even talk about it until the basketball season's over," said Gary Smith, who owns Gary Smith & Associates Real Estate in Shawnee. "There's no place we'd rather be right now than right here."
¢ Slice of home: Sherron Collins is playing in his hometown this weekend, and the Kansas guard has a little travel advice for Jayhawks visiting the Windy City.
Shop on Michigan Avenue, he said. Go downtown and enjoy the view.
"Best pizza?" he said. "I'd say Bacci's, a small place on Roosevelt. They give you big slices for, like, $3.75 - a huge slice."
¢ Crimson, blue and green: Take it from a guy who has seen it all: Kansas fans should make themselves at home for St. Patrick's Day in Chicago.
Just be sure to wear something between yellow and blue on the color spectrum.
"To fit in, wear as much green as you possibly can," said Bobby Hoffman, a trolley driver who's been hauling revelers in the city's famed parade through Grant Park for 10 years now. "And you can't be too extreme. The more extreme you are, the more people will think you're from Chicago."
And talk about extreme. Hoffman said that the idea of turning the Chicago River green - bright, Kelly green - originated with plumbers, who often use dyes to detect leaks in sewer pipes.
"Now they use 40 pounds of environmentally friendly, biodegradable food dye," Hoffman said. "It usually takes three or four days to go away."
¢ Judicial ruling: Joe Johnson, a Shawnee County District Court judge, broke out his custom-made jacket for Thursday's practice at the United Center:
¢ "NATIONAL CHAMPIONS" on the back, along with a big ol' Jayhawk.
¢ "KU" on the front.
¢ White sleeves, with two basketballs - one with "'52" on one arm and a second with "'88" on the other - commemorating the Jayhawks' NCAA titles.
"I want to have a patch made to put right here, for '07," he said, tapping on the leather just below his elbow. "And if somebody comes out with a new jacket that commemorates all three? I'll just buy a new jacket."
Make that three jackets. The 1975 graduate of KU's law school said he'd also spring for a couple letter-style jackets for his "friends from South Carolina," Bob and Julie Luce, should the Jayhawks make it to Atlanta and win the Final Four.
Julie Luce is looking to make a more, uh, binding commitment.
"I'll get a tattoo, a Jayhawk tattoo," she said, pointing to her wrist before acknowledging being uncertain about where it would go. "Someplace where it's not too saggy."
Johnson isn't worried about attorneys back in Topeka giving him grief about being out of town. He didn't have any cases scheduled for Thursday or today.
Not that he would have let a clerk fill his docket anyway.
"It's kind of hard for a case to go if the judge is not there," he said with a booming voice that certainly must intimidate an attorney or two. "Very hard."
¢ Team approach: Almarie Chalmers knows what headline she'd like to see run in the paper Saturday, after her son, Mario, and the rest of the KU team play Niagara for the ability to move on to Sunday's second-round game at the United Center:
"'It pays to believe,'" she said after watching practice. "I'd like to see that the entire team showed up, and it wasn't just one person. There's no 'I' in team."