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Originally published March 12, 2010 at 12:00a.m., updated March 12, 2010 at 08:40a.m.

Aldrich awes Red Raiders

Kansas center Cole Aldrich swoops in to reject a shot by Texas Tech forward Mike Singletary during the second half Thursday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas center Cole Aldrich swoops in to reject a shot by Texas Tech forward Mike Singletary during the second half Thursday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

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Kansas basketball: In pursuit of 2,000

KU’s men’s basketball program is approaching a major milestone. Keep an eye on their progress and look back at what got the Jayhawks there.

KU tops Tech, advances in Big 12

Kansas men's basketball team advanced past a resilient Texas Tech team Thursday afternoon in the Big 12 tournament.

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2010 Big 12 Tournament at K.C. Power & Light

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Fansfrom all over root for their teams at Kansas City Power and Light District's Live Block.

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2010 KU-TTU

— Texas Tech coach Pat Knight says that Kansas University is one of the best half-court defensive teams the Red Raiders have faced this season.

The main reason: KU’s 6-foot-11 defensive stopper, Cole Aldrich.

“That’s what championship teams need,” Knight said following TTU’s 80-68 loss Thursday. “I think that’s why Kansas is one of those teams, why (they can) win it all.

“(KU coach) Bill (Self) is a buddy of mine. I don’t want to put pressure on him, but I think to be that good, you have to have that presence.”

Aldrich contributed 12 points, 18 rebounds and three blocks Thursday.

Knight believes that Aldrich and Baylor’s Ekpe Udoh are two of the best defensive big men in the country, as they not only block shots, but they also change the way opposing teams attack offensively.

“You can’t drive like you’re in high school — go off one leg like it’s the layup line — because they’re going to get it,” Knight said.

Knight remained upbeat and good-natured in his postgame news conference, even after his team’s 12-point loss.

Losers of seven straight heading into the Big 12 tournament, the Red Raiders defeated Colorado, 82-67, on Wednesday before falling to Kansas on Thursday.

“I’m proud of these guys. They played their butts off today,” Knight said. “And many kids would have quit after the three weeks they had.”

Added junior guard John Roberson: “I think, Kansas, we were a little bit intimidated by them. But this time around, we knew we could — if we played hard — we could have a chance. We just played hard.”

As the son of coaching legend Bob Knight, Pat said many people don’t remember that this is still just his second full year as a head coach.

Though many coaches gain experience at smaller schools, Pat received his first college head-coaching opportunity in one of the nation’s toughest conferences: the Big 12.

“I’m like the amateur boxer that decides to go pro after golden gloves. And they tell me go fight Muhammad Ali,” Knight said. “So I’m working on that. I have to get better each year.”

TTU should be in the running for an NIT berth with a 17-15 record.

• A previous version of this story contained an error.

Comments

hometownhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

A .500 record is not a requirement for the NIT. No team has had a sub-.500 record since the NCAA took over the NIT a few years ago, but it's not a requirement. The chairman of the NIT said they would likely take North Carolina even if they were below .500.

cobweb 10 years, 5 months ago

Pat isn't an insecure bully control freak like his dad. Who wants to succeed by treating your players like lab rats using mind games and intimidation?

Jonathan Andrews 10 years, 5 months ago

In any case, UNC IS a .500 team. I thought you have to be ABOVE .500 to qualify for the NIT, but apparently not.

hesshawk 10 years, 5 months ago

I hope they enjoy the NIT......what a fall Roy's boys have taken. I heard someone yesterday on TV say that he ended the conference season with more McDonald's All-Americans on his roster than league victories. That's funny!!!!

OK Jayhawks. The snooze ends now. Be ready today and stomp your way to the finals.

Rock Chalk

Jesse Newell 10 years, 5 months ago

hometown — Thanks for the clarification.

jaybate 10 years, 5 months ago

Dear Tom,

This is quite a good interview. jnewell captured a side of a coach I have not read about before. He brought Pat Knight alive for me. Interview stories are part eliciting the right quotes and part packaging them, so they keep unfolding and building to a fulfilling finish. jnewell did it. Keegs, the kid keeps "getting better." "Hometown" was the only TO and he fixed it immediately. You now have two professional journalists on your staff: Bedore and jnewell. And just in time for the Madness. Compliments to you, Tom, for letting him develop, and compliments to jnewell, for working to get better till the writing and content became one.

Its "The Special Season." Everything is coming together. I can feel it.

The defense never rests.

Rock Chalk!

KANSTUCKY 10 years, 5 months ago

Sleeping giant....NC, they will be back.

milehighhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

LOL @ jaybate giving writing tips.

(But kudos on brevity, kiddo).

jaybate 10 years, 5 months ago

milehighterrymalloy,

No basketball talk today, eh? Not even during The Special Season? Not even during the conference tournament? Not even with a game today? Not even with the Madness just around the corner?

Wow! You must be in a lot of pain about not being what you hoped to be. :-)

Anyway LOL right back @ milehighterrymalloy for continuing to fake edgy-cool that was new back in 1990s. First, you're no good at it. Second, its so 1990s.

Guffaw, really! :-)

jaybate 10 years, 5 months ago

edjayhawk,

Until Roy limits recruiting to east of Mississippi, or retires, rants continue. He is the enemy now more than ever. And when an enemy is down; that is the time to go ahead and put the boot heel on the back of the neck. Wait to praise him in retirement when he can't steal any more recruits from us.

Rock Chalk!

Michael Leiker 10 years, 5 months ago

I could care less about whether Roy's the coach or not. I love watching UNC or Duke lose...almost as much as I enjoy the futility that is Mizzouri.

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