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2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament

Sunday, March 23, 2008

How sweet it is!

Robinson sparks Kansas past Rebs

Kansas' Russell Robinson (3) lays in a basket against UNLV. Robinson had 13 points in the Jayhawks' 75-56 victory over the Runnin' Rebels in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday in Omaha, Neb.

Kansas' Russell Robinson (3) lays in a basket against UNLV. Robinson had 13 points in the Jayhawks' 75-56 victory over the Runnin' Rebels in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday in Omaha, Neb.



2008 NCAA Tournament

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2007-08 March 22 KU NCAA Day 4

Go figure

25Field-goal attempts in each half by KU

14, 15Field-goal makes in first, second half by KU

8, 4Field-goal makes in first, second half by UNLV

26.7UNLV's shooting percentage (12-for-45)

15Points by which UNLV outscored KU from the free-throw line

3KU's second-half turnovers (and 10 total, same as UNLV)

38-10Kansas' advantage in points in the paint

5Three-pointers for each team (UNLV attempted 22, KU 13)

— Russell Robinson whispered in the ear of his backcourt buddy, Sherron Collins, as Kansas University's dynamic duo headed to the podium Saturday in a chilly Qwest Center interview room.

"I was telling Sherron, 'I needed this game,''' Robinson said after breaking out of a personal scoring slump, and, along with Collins, pretty much saving the day in No. 1-seeded KU's 75-56 second-round NCAA Midwest Regional victory over No. 8-seed UNLV.

"I'd not been able to do anything offensively since the postseason started. This was great for my confidence."

KU's senior point guard scored five points in a first-round victory over Portland State. He had seven total in three Big 12 tournament victories, including none in the final against Texas.

But he tallied 13 points off 4-of-5 shooting and 4-of-5 free throwing against the Runnin' Rebels.

Thirteen points may not seem like a lot, but eight of them came in a crucial 14-3 run that extended a 46-41 lead (with 11:58 left) to 60-44 at 7:49. Collins contributed the other six points in that surge, which included a Robinson three that gave KU a 53-42 advantage.

"You don't want to get out of character," said Robinson, who thrived the second half when coach Bill Self switched to a four-guard lineup - KU's game plan of working the ball inside against a small UNLV team never materializing.

"But at the same time, you have to be aggressive and be willing to step up. We couldn't get the ball inside tonight, so we adjusted. Me and Sherron started driving the ball and were able to get some big baskets for us," Robinson noted.

Mario Chalmers, who joined Brandon Rush in Self's four-guard lineup, led the way with 17 points off 6-of-11 shooting, while Rush had 12 and Collins 10.

No KU big man scored in double figures despite the fact the Rebels' tallest player was 6-foot-8.

"They swarmed our big men inside and got deflections," Robinson said. "They are a scrappy team. It was definitely good to get this win under our belt, exhale a bit and move on to the Sweet 16."

The hard-earned victory - KU's gritty defense held the Rebels to miserable 26.7 percent shooting (five of 22 threes to KU's five of 13) - pushed the Jayhawks into next Friday's Sweet 16 game against either Siena or Villanova at Ford Field in Detroit.

"I think from a coach's perspective, this was a great game for us because we didn't exactly execute the game plan," Self said. "We didn't get the ball inside with as many touches early and those sorts of things.

"But the way we got it was put it in the guards hands and driving the ball, which turned out to be the biggest difference in the game. And we really defended. Our first-shot defense was really great when we didn't foul them, which was every other possession. It was a good, solid, grind-it-out win."

The game definitely was foul-plagued.

UNLV (27-8) hit 10 of 12 free throws to KU's five of seven the first half and trailed just, 34-29, at the break. By game's end, the Rebels had made 27 of 34 charities to KU's 12 of 19.

Guard Wink Adams made 15 of 17 free throws en route to his 25 points.

"Fouling is a part of defense. We obviously did a poor job of that," Self said after a game in which Rush fouled out and Darnell Jackson (eight points), Sasha Kaun (four points) and Robinson had four each. UNLV's Joe Darger (five points) and Rene Rougeau (four points) both fouled out.

"The second half, it looked to me like they went to Wink almost every possession. And I don't know what they told him, but I'm sure it was, 'Drive it, drive it, drive it,' because we'd foul. And that's exactly what we did.

"It was good strategy on their part. He's a very good player. He's great initiating and drawing contact, and he's so strong. For a guy that size (6-foot), he's very powerful."

So is Robinson.

"There's a lot of games where Russell doesn't appear he does as much offensively because you look at points," Self said. "But I think he does a lot offensively. It's just as important to make the pass to initiate the play as it is to make the pass to finish the play. He's the best initiator we have.

"He was good tonight. We spread the floor, and that placed Sherron and Russell's game as far as getting in there and making plays when you can't help off Mario or Brandon that much."

KU's big men were not miffed they had an off day, just happy the guards helped bail them out in keeping KU's season alive.

"My defender was fronting, and they were sinking in to help from the weak side," KU senior Kaun said. "We had to adjust. Russell did a phenomenal job. He was getting the ball to the rim, getting it to the paint."

Robinson was in no mood to boast after the game. On the contrary, he admitted he may be KU's weakest scoring threat, just not this night.

"If I was another team and I had to leave somebody open, it'd be me to leave open," Robinson said. "That's why I have to step up and knock down some shots."

"We know he can shoot and he can score," Collins said. "He just doesn't have to all the time. He helped us advance, and that's the most important thing to him."


sevenyearhawk 14 years, 8 months ago

Come see official KU/UNLV highlights, courtesy of YouTube and CBS on:

Bill Kackley 14 years, 8 months ago

The officials have been bad in all the games. I think the NCAA dicided to hire the worst they could find.

hotrodm 14 years, 8 months ago

I am so glad that Coach Self has learned to change and adapt the offense to what the other team is giving you. The first two years of coaching KU, Coach Self wanted only to high-low the ball into Wayne. Wayne was a great player, but he wasn't the only great player those years. I used to cringe when I would see Aaron MIles walking the ball up the court, instead of running like he was used to before Coach Self was hired. I feel that now Coach Self is a great coach and the complete package for KU. Hope he stays a long long time.

Ben Kane 14 years, 8 months ago

I agree! I was thrilled to see the adaptation evolve into a game the likes of which I have not seen out of KU this year. And, it is nice to know we can find things working when our bread and butter doesn't. that said I hate when the refs take over a game like that. Just too many ticky fouls and there was just never a rythem in that game for either team. Rock Chalk!

Kevin Millikan 14 years, 8 months ago

I think coach Self desperately wanted to get the ball down low, but UNLV did a terrific job fronting the bigs and denying the pass. UNLV is a well coached team, they put in a great game plan against us. Love the moment! Rock Chalk!!!

Kevin Long 14 years, 8 months ago

You guys are right on the money. A good coach will adapt and change his style of play to what is going on around them. Self has gotten better about that.

On another note. Something has to be done about these refs! How many bs calls can be made in one game? I thought they would be a little tighter with the whisltes in the tourney like they used to be, but they have gotten worse!

jayhawker_97 14 years, 8 months ago

one might think KU would utilize the Bigs on the offensive end against the Rebels a lot, but this is what amazing about KU team is now: guards penetrate and score! what a terrific way to win! i can't recall seeing this kind of play in the past by any other KU teams. kudos to coach Self & teams. go Jayhawks!

okjhok 14 years, 8 months ago

So, it appears an abundance of seats will be available in Detroit. The NCAA is claiming the added seats will allow more students to attend, thereby enhancing the NCAA atmosphere. While I cautiously agree with that, I think we all know the real reason for the increased seating. The idea that there is a balance to be achieved between total attendance, viewability, and ambience has escaped the NCAA. They're only seeing green.

Kyle Crenshaw 14 years, 8 months ago

man i love that suit coach was wearing last night!

Scott Lippoldt 14 years, 8 months ago

I'm a KU alum and huge Jayhawk fan living in central Michigan. Does anyone have ideas on how I can get tickets to the games in Detroit, as I would love to take my son to these games.

Go Hawks!!!!!

Jacobpaul81 14 years, 8 months ago

Hotrodm, Chuckberry,

That's funny guys. When Miles and Wayne were here, I would have done the same exact thing Self did. Slow things down, and play hi-low. We needed Wayne to play 40 minutes in those days, especially with Graves and Padgett next to him, and the underdeveloped Kaun and Jackson as backups. Miles wasn't a scoring threat, Langford was hurt his final two years and couldn't drive. To be totally honest, our second best weapon in those days was Mike Lee! We only had 2 qualified starters on those first 2 Bill Self teams.... Wayne and Miles.

Comparatively, we have 8 starters on this team. Of course we can run and gun, play hi-low, or play pick and drive basketball. We have 8 guys, 4 in each position, who can do almost anything they want with the basketball. That makes a huge difference. You saying Self has learned something is plain ridiculous.

It sounds to me like justification of criticisms. You were the 2 guys who were bad mouthing Selfs judgement 3 years ago, and now are justifing those comments by claiming, "Oh boy, a guy whose devoted his life to basketball is just now learning something we knew in 5th grade". That's just plain childish guys.

Selfs first 2 years at Kansas, he didn't have a Bill Self team. He had the scraps leftover from Roy Williams table. Look at what he left behind in Illinois for Bruce Webber. Coach Self hasn't learned to change with the team he's playing; He already knew how to do that. He just has the players now to do it.

Good grief, give me a break.

justanotherfan 14 years, 8 months ago

I love the fact that we switched to a four guard lineup. Its a lineup that I think really helps us defensively against really small teams. It's really hard on Darnell, Cole and Sasha to have to stay in front of some 6-6 guy on the perimeter. Darrell is a little quicker, but that is out of his comfort zone as well. When we went to that lineup, we still had the better slate of players, and because Brandon is such a good rebounder it didn't hurt us on the boards at all.

It's almost like Coach Self looked down the sideline at Lon Kruger and said, "I see your four guard lineup and call with my four guard lineup. Oh, and I will raise you two McDonald's All Americans." At which point Kruger shrugged and watched us rake in all the chips.

That's the great thing about this KU team. We have our own style, but if you commit all of your resources and gameplan to stop that style, we can switch styles on you. For the first time all year I saw ALL of our guards really attacking the front of the rim.

Other side note - we survived a somewhat cold shooting night from the perimeter. With everybody struggling from distance, we went to the rack and got what we came for. 4 more to go.

srhendricks 14 years, 8 months ago

we didn't play that well and still won by 19...

kucourtsider 14 years, 8 months ago

Hey skwahjayog, I sent you a private message about tickets to the game in Detroit. The message includes my e-mail address. Contact me if you are still interested.

Don Johnson 14 years, 8 months ago

srhendricks: I don't think it was that we didn't play well as much as it was the star player of the night was the refs. They called 46 fouls, and players attempted 53 free throws. That makes for a slow game without flow and continuity. The game can't help but look bad. It is a shame that NCAA tournament refs feel they have to dictate the game.

actorman 14 years, 8 months ago

"It's almost like Coach Self looked down the sideline at Lon Kruger and said, 'I see your four guard lineup and call with my four guard lineup. Oh, and I will raise you two McDonald's All Americans.'"

Beautiful, justanother.

jedarchul 14 years, 8 months ago

djkc28... The point is they were fronting and sagging help on our post men. Now we could've tried to force the ball into tight spaces and double teams for the sole purpose of exerting the dominance of our bigger players (sure it would have prob led to more turnover, but they'd know we were bigger) or we could play to the overall strengths of our team and drive for lay-ups all day. The reason that the lanes were so wide open is that the our bigs accounted for so much of their defensive attention. The announcers were even saying it... as soon as they left our bigs alone or slid to the lane to help on the drive, it was alley-oop city. Teams are going to try to take something away from you in the tourney, and seeing that they're in the tourney in the first place is an indication that they are probably good enough to have some success. The great thing about this KU team is that they can beat you any way you want. It's the path of least resistance theory, which is a luxury that we have because we can outplay you at every position. Keep it up 'Hawks!!! Four to go!!!

Rodney Stice 14 years, 8 months ago

I was just reading an article by Jason King on yahoo sports about how critical the KU fans are towards Coach Self. I must be missing something since I only get to watch them on TV about half of the time. I thought that he is doing a great job building a program that had many great years. His accomplishments at KU are growing at an outstanding rate.

I do not understand the reason behind all of the hatred by a small faction. If you are judging him by the success of Roy Williams, then you should quit comparing apples to oranges. Roy did not win us a national championship in 15 years, but he did come close. Coach Larry Brown won our last championship in his sixth year as head coach.

The officiating yesterday was absolutely the worst that I have seen in the tournement. We were not allowed to play our game due to all of the fouls called, Coach Self changed our gameplan and we pulled away in the second half. We are beating the teams we should be beating, and lets continue to win. 2 down, 4 to go.

Maybe we all could have a more positive attitude towards our team and coach, and enjoy the ride.

Rock Chalk, Jayhawk

janeyb 14 years, 8 months ago

I watched a tape of the game today with BF and it looks so different the second time through. KU played well the entire game. Jackson made two great jumpshots in the first half. All the guys had good shots and handled the ball well. Arthur fumbled the ball some, but it didn'[t look as bad the 2nd time. Russell's traditional three point play really sparked them up after UNLV came back on KU midway in the first half. The refs really over-controlled the game--must have trained uder Hightower. UNLV had a lot of fouls called on them once KU started driving to the goal. Maybe Self had to play the guards to adapt to the Refs., not UNLV.

pmohr13 14 years, 8 months ago

djkc28 I don't know if you watched the game, but they fronted our post players and when we tried to throw over the top the weak side defender would come over and steal the pass. Their whole gameplan was to keep the ball out of the post and that's what they did. The fact that we were able to change our gameplan ruined their gameplan which was the point where we pulled away. So saying that is pitiful is pitiful.

pmohr13 14 years, 8 months ago

I was in Omaha watching all the games there so I don't know what the refs are like at the other games, but i watching a terrible crew during the first round k-state game and the first round Wisonson game. I felt that they gave the game to Wisconson were Cal State could have made it a contest. I also believe that the refs gave Wisconson the win against k-state. The refs in the KU UNLV game didn't seem to be favoring etheir team to much (UNLV had 2 guys foul out and 1 with 4 and KU had one foul out and 2 with four) but they were calling way to many fouls.

justanotherfan 14 years, 8 months ago

Thanks actorman... had to get a good Vegas reference in there

Jeff Kilgore 14 years, 8 months ago

As I posted on another article, the most unbelievable "go figure" number is this: every KU player shot 50% or above from the field.

I have always liked Self and think that he will be remembered as on par with all KU greats. I used to wonder about the high/low game, but Duke and others have convinced me otherwise. Teams have to be good in all phases to win it all.

I don't agree with the "pathetic" comment. It was UNLV's strategy to stop our inside game at all costs. That led to the second half charge by the guards. That's not pathetic, that's smart.

I also disagree with the "have heart" comment. On my screen, KU was all heart. Give UNLV some credit--they were playing just as hard as we were.

Scott Lippoldt 14 years, 8 months ago

Thanks for all the help with finding tickets. I got two through ticketmaster this morning, so I'm all set. Can't wait--and especially to enjoy this experience with our 11-year-old son! Life doesn't get any better! RCJH!!!!!

actorman 14 years, 8 months ago

To those of you responding to djkc, PLEASE DON'T!!! There's no point using a reasoned, logical response when dealing with a flamer. I was really hoping that everyone would ignore him and he would ooze away like the slime that he is. He has never made a positive comment and never will. He makes one completely ignorant comment, then sits back and laughs at all the responses it engenders. If enough of us ignore him, he will lose all his power. I will keep trying to spread the word in the hope that people will tire of his ridiculous act.

"Coach Larry Brown won our last championship in his sixth year as head coach."

Actually it was his fifth year. There was no sixth year. He was at KU from 1983-1988.

ku_bringback_danny 14 years, 8 months ago

The last pic of Kansas UNLV game of the Kansas fans giving high five's the one in the red shirt is Ron Kellogg. The Omaha paper had a nice article about him in Saturdays paper.

Rodney Stice 14 years, 8 months ago

Thank you for the clarification, I was trying to remember history a little too fast.

Dan Harris 14 years, 8 months ago

Georgetown goes down! I know I shouln't look past Villinova but this year is starting to look a lot like 1988! DESTINY?

Kyle Crenshaw 14 years, 8 months ago

is it just me or am i wrong in thinking that i really dont wanna play davidson?

ralsterKUMed95 14 years, 8 months ago

kylecisnum, I understand your concern--we all have gotten leery of this team's tendency to be hot/cold, or play down to the level of the competition--although MUCH improved this year compared to last year. Davidson EXPOSED Georgetown for what they are, but Davidson didnt look like a collection of atheletes that IS KU, UNC, Memphis, and Tennessee. I personally would like to see the matchup. We get yet another tough 'midmajor' type team in the personnel that Villanova currently has (no one taller than 6'8"), followed by Davidson, who I would love to play. I am sure everyone also is witness to the fact that THIS KU team also gets "up" for "bigname" opponents almost every time the past 2 yrs, except perhaps KSU#1? I for one have to trust their motivation at this point, because it really is in their hands. The urgency this year may come from the mindset in several players who know they are not returning to KU next year. Motivation comes largely from within, and if some coach can bring that out from within each player, then great. The ONLY thing that can beat this team now is if we are just cold shooting (like vs UCLA) and the opponent is shooting 'lights out'. That could happen to anyone, anytime, although statistically rare. If such a game gives us a loss, what else can you do? Especially if in such a game, our turnovers were less than 12 and we played hard defense? Shots gotta fall to be able to win. What protects us to some extent is we have sooo many players who can score, smart players, and great (not just good) team play on BOTH offense and defense. I hope we get UNC, then face UCLA in the Finals (thats if UCLA gets to the Finals, as this UCLA is not the same as last years UCLA, while we ARE better than last years KU...). That would be 3 satisfactions: beat Roy and UNC (final credibility to all), beat UCLA (sweet justice!), and win the Championship for all that it means to all of us & for Bill Self. Its time.

lovemyhawks 14 years, 8 months ago

i would absolutely LOVE to beat up on roy's boys then get our revenge with ucla. i personally am real tired of ucla's LUCK and keep thinking it WILL run out. i think our road has probably gotten easier but we still HAVE to see the heart and intensity. yesterday thoroughly WORE ME OUT and the fouls were ridiculous. it's the big dance, LET THE BOYS PLAY!!!!! 46 fouls was nuts!!! anyway, think self did what was needed yesterday and the guards came through big time. after seeing the CLOSE CLOSE games today, i had to wonder why i was SO stressed with our game last nite but i was!!!!! 4 more...... we CAN do it and we have to believe and hope our boys really really want it...... the opportunity is THERE, we just have to ACT on it!!!! LET"S GO HAWKS!

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