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Stories for March 26, 2009

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Early Morning

Jayhawks soak up Sweet 16 in Indy

Police sirens blared at 6 p.m. on Wednesday as Kansas University’s basketball team bus pulled up to the front door of the Omni Severin Hotel.

Stories

Villanova knocks Duke from NCAA tournament 77-54

No team has erased more chalk from the NCAA tournament than Villanova. The third-seeded Wildcats beat Duke for the first time in more than 50 years on Thursday night, getting 14 points and 11 rebounds from Dante Cunningham to win 77-54 and advance to the East regional final. It was Villanova's 14th NCAA victory over a higher-seeded team — the most in tournament history.

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Tiller leads Missouri past Memphis 102-91 in West

A career night by J.T. Tiller put Missouri one win away from its first trip to the Final Four. Memphis' 27-game winning streak, meanwhile, is history. Tiller scored a career-high 23 points — 15 more than his season average — and Missouri held off Memphis' frantic rally for a 102-91 win Thursday night in the semifinals of the West Regional.

UConn defeats Purdue 72-60 in NCAA West semifinals

Connecticut hardly needed Hasheem Thabeet as it romped through the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. That all changed against a gritty Purdue team. The Boilermakers seemed to have an answer for everything the Huskies threw at them — except for the 7-foot-3 Thabeet.

Fields' baskets send Pitt past Xavier 60-55

Levance Fields pointed Pittsburgh in the right direction just in time — as usual. For the second straight game, the orchestrator of the offense took the big shots himself, hitting a 3-pointer with 50.9 seconds left, then scoring off his steal as the top-seeded Panthers reached the regional finals for the first time in 35 years with a 60-55 win over Xavier on Thursday night.

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McCray, Morris lead KU to win

Those candies are tasty — they melt in your mouth, not in your hands — but Kansas University’s M&Ms may be even better.

KU fans look to make good memories of games in Indianapolis

Mike Earhart is back for some redemption. The last time he came to Indianapolis to cheer on the Kansas Jayhawks was 1991. That didn’t turn out so well, as KU lost to Duke, 72-65, in the national championship game.

As Sweet 16 looms, some superstitious fans take special measures

It’s do or die for the Kansas men’s basketball team. As the Jayhawks head to Indianapolis for their Sweet 16 matchup against Michigan State on Friday, it’s prompting superstitious fans to pull out their strange traditions.

Kansas St. snubbed out of NCAAs? Beasley says no

Former Kansas State player Michael Beasley wasn’t afraid to share his opinion on whether the Wildcats deserved to make the NCAA Tournament this season.

Izzo fires up MSU

Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo has issued a challenge to his 2008-09 Spartans. That is: To “Become Legendary.” The Detroit Free Press reported that MSU’s video coordinators created a highlight video to share with the team prior to last Sunday’s second-round NCAA Tournament victory over Southern Cal in Minneapolis.

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KU softball team drops doubleheader

Val George paused to ponder one final post-game question before stepping off the softball field, and it seemed to throw her for a loop following a long Wednesday afternoon at Arrocha Ballpark.

As usual, Sweet 16 has familiar look

Thanks for stopping by, Western Kentucky.

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MSU guard adds toughness

Travis Walton strolled onto Michigan State’s practice court shortly after midnight with a McDonald’s cup in one hand and a basketball in another.

UConn will review report

Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said he and the university are looking into a Yahoo! Sports report claiming the school broke NCAA rules during the recruitment of former basketball player Nate Miles, but added Miles is not at UConn and his team remains focused on the NCAA Tournament.

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WIU player enjoys trip home

Not long after Western Illinois first baseman Tyler Metcalf had battered the Kansas University pitching staff for two home runs in a losing effort Tuesday, the cell phones of the Jayhawks’ coaching staff began blinking with text messages.

KU hoping to get rare second win in WNIT

Ivana Catic wants to do something no Kansas University women’s basketball player has ever done. “I want to play in April,” said Catic, the Jayhawks’ senior point guard, “but I know you can’t look ahead.” Two victories ahead, in fact. Kansas would need to defeat Arkansas tonight, then win one more game in order to reach the early-April semifinals of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.

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Jayhawks soak up Sweet 16 in Indy

Police sirens blared at 6 p.m. on Wednesday as Kansas University’s basketball team bus pulled up to the front door of the Omni Severin Hotel.

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After slow start in NBA, Rush making major strides

Brandon Rush had the ball in the right corner and Dwyane Wade, one of the world’s best basketball players, was guarding him early in the first quarter. Rush pump-faked, Wade bit, and the rookie from Kansas drove around him. He passed the ball to the top of the key, ran to the left corner, caught a pass, and hit that jumper of his that comes right out of the West Point textbook. Swish.

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Chalmers comfortable, confident in starting role

Mario Chalmers might be a rookie, but he sure doesn’t act like one. Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley has seen it all in the locker room: Mario walking over to knock off a teammate’s headphones. Mario getting up to kick a teammate’s shoes to the side.

Sooners preparing to face zone

A zone defense doesn’t seem all that menacing to Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin, even if it is the one Jim Boeheim has used in leading Syracuse to such great success all these years.