Sarah Breuer was exhausted Sunday after her Jayhawks rallied for a thrilling victory against Purdue in the NCAA Tournament.
After all, it was a four-shirt night for the Tonganoxie resident.
Breuer is a wee bit superstitious when it comes to Kansas University basketball. Trusty shirts have varying levels of luck and so, on occasion, she’ll change out of one shirt and into another if KU is in a slump.
But against Purdue, she wore four different shirts during the course of the game. Oh, and two different pairs of pants, including Jayhawk sweatpants.
“That was the most shirts I’ve gone through in one game,” Breuer said. “Usually I only switch it once and then I’m good. I didn’t get the right combination down.”
Breuer said she didn’t have superstitious tendencies until she started college at Mount Oread in 2000. She finished in 2006 with a pharmacy degree and the superstitious ways have stuck.
Her shirt repertoire grows each year with a new game day shirt, but those mainstays are still in the wardrobe if she needs to resort to some old-school luck.
She even has a KU shirt from 1989, that, upon further review, might have an uphill battle in the luck category. That, after all, was the year the NCAA placed KU on probation, banning the Jayhawks from the postseason tournament that year. KU hasn’t missed an NCAA Tournament berth since.
“I didn’t realize what year it was until today,” Breuer said.
The superstitions aren’t limited to wardrobes. One of her sisters contends the Jayhawks tend to lose to orange-clad teams when CBS broadcasts those games, while a younger brother says KU loses NCAA Tournament games on cloudy days.
The lone orange team in the tournament is Syracuse. If the Jayhawks were to meet the Orange, it would be in the national semifinals in a game that would be broadcast on — gulp — CBS. Weather.com predicts rain Friday, but if the Jayhawks can get through that storm and defeat North Carolina State, the forecast calls for a sunny Sunday for the regional final game.
For the Jayhawks’ first NCAA Tournament game against Detroit last week, Breuer gambled and wore the same shirt she donned during the Big 12 tournament loss to Baylor. An older sister has this rule: a shirt can regain some “luckiness” with a spin in the washer. It then must be worn during an easy game to build up its mojo.
When the Jayhawks were in need of a more comfortable lead against Detroit, Breuer went to the bench and subbed in her 2008 national championship shirt.
“I’m not crazy to think my shirts actually help, but it does kind of take the edge off,” she said. “And I’m doing something for my team. I’m not actually talented enough athletically to do something for my team.”
Breuer repeatedly stressed that she wasn’t crazy, but she plans to stick to her routines, which include a family gag order on smack talk when an archrival loses in advance of a KU game. Bad karma must be avoided.
Her children, Ruby, 2, and Evan, 1, also must be decked out in KU blue on game days, while her husband, Scott, abstains. He happens to be a K-State fan.
As the Jayhawks prepare for the Sweet 16, Breuer will be contemplating which shirt — or shirts — to wear.
She hopes the Jayhawks will keep on winning, but when asked for a prediction of how far KU will go, she declined to comment.
“I have hopes, but I don’t want to say them out loud,” she said.
You don’t want her to jinx the Jayhawks, do you?