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This is the end

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By Mark Fagan mfagan@ljworld.com So this is how it ends. No trip back to California for C.J. Giles. No West Coast pilgrimages for legions of KU fans. And no shining moments for the Kansas University Jayhawks, whose supporters wanted to believe that the team could come back and win Friday night at The Palace of Auburn Hills, but ultimately closed out the year just like last year: another first-round loss, to a team outmatched on paper but superior what it counts most. On the court. Watching a game from courtside really is different from watching it on TV. I almost could feel the pain when Stephen Vinson - playing in what would be his last college game - struggled to front Marcellus Sommerville, Bradley's star forward, in the first half. He had 21 points, and only a few, by my count, came against the smallish guard from Lawrence. Vinson fought and fought and fought, giving up 5 inches, 30 pounds and who knows how much on scoring average to the guy who would be the game's leading scorer. Man, it was tough to watch. I didn't make it into the locker room after the game. Instead I managed to check in with a fans as their own hopes were dashed once again. Some left early, unable to watch. Others stayed in their seats, like they could somehow stay till Sunday and see their Jayhawks take the court once again, this time against Pittsburgh for a shot at making the regionals in Oakland. Then there was Max Falkenstien, unplugging his headset after 60 years of calling KU games on the radio. I watched him move about the corridors and across the court, stopping to shake hands and accept well wishes. Verne Lundquist, who called the game for CBS, apologized to Falkenstien for not being able to get to a planned "tribute" for Max on the air. I couldn't catch the explanation, but I do know this: Lundquist and his radio partner, CBS analyst Bill Raftery, have been calling NCAA games for ages, and if you take their CBS tenures together - 48 years between them - it's still not even close to Max's six decades. "Barring a miracle, I knew it would end on a downer," Max told me, after slinging his bag over his shoulder. A couple weeks ago he told me that he'd still be going to games next season, only this time as a fan. I asked if he had enough "points" to qualify for seats at Allen Fieldhouse, and he assured me - with a laugh - that he wouldn't have a problem. He'll be there like the rest of the KU fans: Hopeful for another season of entertaining hoops, only next time with a better ending.

Comments

DueFan 15 years, 10 months ago

Don't know mark, we can't bare this no more. Now I understand why KU does not get much coverage and spotlight in SI and ESPN. Simply because they know we are not a team that competes in recent years after self took over.

rcaltrider 15 years, 10 months ago

How are Kansas fans supposed to get excited during the regular season any more when they know that, no matter how good of a regular season the team has (or what seeding they have), it will be another disappointing March. That seems to be the pattern no matter where Bill Self is coaching.

Daniel Speicher 15 years, 10 months ago

Yeah... Disappointing post-seasons NEVER took place when Roy was here. Right? I mean we got the championship... Like... Well... I can't remember how many times... But, I'm sure it was a lot.

I also remember how Roy used to walk on water out on Clinton Lake... He also recruited every top player EVER (especially if they had ties to UNC or were from the east coast)... He'd eat nails for breakfast and drink turpentine as a chaser... Whenever a storm rolled into town he'd just rope that twister and sling it as far west toward Columbia as he could... He'd always take our teams to the Final Four... Well, except for the ten years he didn't)... And, well... Even though he never got us a championship, it doesn't really matter because at least he was loyal to KU.

--Danny Speicher

Daniel Speicher 15 years, 10 months ago

Correction... West toward Manhattan, East toward Columbia... Sorry, when I start talking about Roy I get so nostalgic sometimes it's tough to decipher truth from fiction. My mistake. ;)

--Danny Speicher

amb123 15 years, 10 months ago

even though ku lost this one it's not as bad as the loss to Bucknell last year...maybe they can use this as their motivation to play well. we can still look forward to next year, after all they're still young

l8r

Mike Gammill 15 years, 10 months ago

sorry, but it's just another in a long line of Kansas NCAA chokes.

Owens, Brown, Williams, and now, Self have all done it.

really, it's nothing new, but disappointing.

emy0713 15 years, 10 months ago

They had a great season and maybe they didn't do well in the NCAA tourney. But, hey, there's always next year and I believe it will be fabulous!!

legolas1996 15 years, 10 months ago

gammimc- NEWSFLASH!! Brown won the national title for KU in 1988. What choke job are you referring to? Please enlighten me.

Mike Gammill 15 years, 10 months ago

legolas- how about 1986? we had team enough to beat Duke, and didn't do it.

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