Chicago This wasn't your normal pregame open practice. This one was much more boring, just the way Kansas University's basketball team wanted it.
KU usually closes out the 40-minute open practice preceding the first-round NCAA Tournament game by showing off some high-flying dunks for the fans. Darnell Jackson, C.J. Giles, Omar Wilkes and others wowed the crowd with circus jams in previous years. Often, Jayhawk coach Bill Self would shoot a couple of three-pointers in front of cheering fans before calling it a day.
None of that happened at KU's open practice Thursday in the United Center.
Kansas did no dunking, and Self didn't jack up any threes. With time remaining in their 40-minute allotment, the Jayhawks simply gathered their things, signed some autographs for fans and boarded the team bus.
Not that the workout was ultra-intense or anything. It certainly wasn't.
"(In regular practices,) if we miss a shot, coach Self, he'll get down on you. If you miss a layup, he'll yell at you," Jackson said. "So it just feels good to come out here, get a couple of shots off and just have a good time."
Only a few hundred people were in attendance at the United Center, which played host to open practices to all eight teams playing here today. Kansas did some stretching and spent most of its 30 minutes on the court taking jump shots. The reserves shot on one goal, while the five starters would shoot on the other, with walk-on Brennan Bechard rebounding.
The KU fan turnout for the practice wasn't as high as in past years, though the Jayhawks did hold court in Kansas City, Mo., in 2004 and Oklahoma City in 2005, much closer to Lawrence than Chicago is.
But no matter. Kansas will have its share of fans at the United Center today, and it's not like they missed much Thursday.
"We're just keeping the focus," junior Matt Kleinmann said, "on the game."