Kansas coach Bill Self and players talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 64-62 victory over Ohio State in the Final Four on March 31, 2012.
Ohio State's Thad Matta, William Buford and Jared Sullinger talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 64-62 win over the Buckeyes on March 31, 2012.
New Orleans Kansas University will play Kentucky on Monday night for the national championship.
The Wildcats beat KU, 75-65, on Nov. 15 in New York.
“They bullied us,” KU forward Thomas Robinson said.
Of the rematch, Kansas coach Bill Self said: “It’s a dream for these kids to play on the biggest stage that college basketball has to offer this year, get to play the best team in the country hands-down from Day One to now. It’s a thrill.
“It’s more a thrill for us because nobody thought we could get here. We still haven’t played terrific in the tournament, but somehow these guys find ways to win games.
“I’ve watched Kentucky all year long. They have guys that make plays you can’t coach. They’ve got pros, all that stuff. But we have good players, too. We have to play like we are going to take it because Kentucky will play like they are going to take it.”
Four KU hoops coaches in house: Former KU head coaches Ted Owens, Larry Brown and Roy Williams joined Bill Self in the Superdome on Saturday. Williams, ninth-year head coach at North Carolina, sat with his wife, Wanda, at center court in a section that included college head coaches Lon Kruger (Oklahoma), Jim Boeheim (Syracuse), Tubby Smith (Minnesota) and former Arizona coach Lute Olson, among others. Williams, who wore a KU sticker during the national title game in 2008, had no sticker on his lapel this time. Brown has been with KU’s traveling party throughout the NCAA Tournament. Owens has also attended several KU games this season.
Faces in crowd: Some famous faces in attendance: former KU great Clyde Lovellette, who was introduced at halftime as an incoming inductee into the Hall of Fame; actor Rob Riggle, who spoke to KU fans at the pre-game pep rally; former KU players Jeremy Case, now an assistant at SE Missouri State; Jeff Boschee, assistant at Missouri Southern; Greg Dreiling, advance scout of the Dallas Mavericks, as well as former Jayhawks Nick Bradford, Lewis Harrison, Mike Maddox, Christian Moody, Marcus Morris, Dave Robisch, Wayne Simien, Bud Stallworth, Stephen Vinson, Walt Wesley and Julian Wright. Also, former KU director of basketball operations Ronnie Chalmers.
Schedule: KU will play at Ohio State next season and play Michigan State on Nov. 13 in the Champions Classic in Atlanta. KU still is looking for a pair of marquee home games to begin home-and-home series. The Jayhawks will play in the CBE Classic on Nov. 19-20 in Kansas City’s Sprint Center with Washington State, St. Louis and Texas A&M. Match-ups have not yet been set. KU will play two games in Allen Fieldhouse against small to mid-major teams as part of the Classic.
Also, KU plans to take a foreign exhibition tour to a yet-to-be-determined place before next season. Tours are allowed by the NCAA once every four years. In the past, KU has traveled to Canada. In search of better competition, teams are now headed to such places as Greece, Spain, France or Italy. KU could go on a tour in May, but if it did so, next year’s incoming freshmen would not be able to play. So it’s much more likely KU will head on the tour on a weekend such as Labor Day weekend. KU will announce details when the tour is finalized.
Cat backlash: Former Kansas State star guard Jacob Pullen found himself on the receiving end of venomous tweets from backers of his school when he tweeted his dislike of the Bruce Weber hire.
Among Pullen’s retorts: “And please don’t speak on his national championship run that he made with bill self players and the best backcourt in the big ten three pros.”