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Monday, March 31, 2008

Extra Minutes: Kansas 59, Davidson 57

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2008 NCAA Tournament

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Full video coverage of the Kansas Jayhawks in the 2008 NCAA Tournament

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2008 NCAA Tournament

Get your March Madness fix at KUSports.com.

Some thoughts...from Detroit

Tom Keegan, Journal-World sports editor

"Sasha Kaun looked like he was playing on the team that had nothing to lose, the team that already had surpassed everyone's expectations. Whereas teammates looked tight at times, Kaun never slipped out of attack mode and without his 13 points and six rebounds in 20 minutes, Kansas would have been the only No. 1 seed left out of the Final Four. He was terrific."

Ryan Greene, KUSports.com editor

"There may not have been any minutes played on the KU side more valuable than those by Sherron Collins when he came in inside the eight-minute mark to revive a trailing, stagnant KU team. He hit his lone three-pointer from straight-on right away, then had two huge defensive stops against Stephen Curry, who he had a major hand in hounding all night.

Now, of course, it's time for Roy Williams to face the Kansas music. You'd have to think he'll have much more pressure on him from the media in the upcoming week than Bill Self will because, first, he's the only one with ties to both schools and Self is just more of a cool customer in the public arena, while Williams has a tendency to provide the emotional moment. Either way, KU fans now have what they truly want Saturday night."

Inside the numbers

25: For the first time in five career NCAA Tournament games, Davidson sophomore star Stephen Curry was held under the 30-point barrier. His 25 points were nothing to scoff at Sunday evening, but Curry had to get them on 25 shots (9-of-25). He was forced to run around a ton on both ends of the floor and looked a bit worn at game's end, when a play designed for him to attempt a game-winning shot was defended to the point where he had to dish it off to Jason Richards, who missed a three-ball wide left.

13: Sasha Kaun scored 13 points on perfect 6-of-6 shooting off the bench, grabbed six rebounds and was all-in-all KU's most active and effective big man, helping negate several potential second-chance buckets Davidson could have had. The final stat sheet gave him credit for one blocked shot, but it may have been more in reality.

15: Mario Chalmers' final stat line, true to form, had a little bit of this, a little bit of that. He scored 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting, had three rebounds, two assists, two steals and a blocked shot. For a significant series in the first half, he was KU's lone answer to Stephen Curry as he began to heat up. Late in the game, he proved pivotal defensively, especially on the game's final play.

17: Davidson was able to stay in the game largely because of its exceptional ball movement throughout the entire game. The Wildcats tallied 17 assists to just nine assists, but at the end of the night simply couldn't make enough shots, going 22-of-57 from the floor. Jason Richards was again solid in terms of distribution, racking up nine assists and four turnovers. That gave him 22 assists and four turnovers in the Regional.

28: Sherron Collins was able to play 28 minutes off the bench, looking like his minor tonsillitis bug from the past couple days had cleared. It was the complete opposite of the hobbled freshman who could hardly play in last year's Regional final. His most important minutes came late in the game, with a clutch three-pointer and a couple of key defensive swarms on Stephen Curry.

Just in case you missed it...

KU's win in the weekend's fourth Regional final secured Final Four history in that all four No. 1 seeds will advance to the National semifinals for the first time ever in the field of 64(5). It's hard to dispute, too, that the four teams advancing to San Antonio are the four best in the country. This could be the most anticipated Final Four of all-time.

Hopefully you didn't miss it...

While Bill Self's career certainly would not be considered a massive bust if he never reached a Final Four, getting his first trip out of the way unofficially joins him in some elite company. Self had a visible look of his relief on his face when exiting the floor in Detroit Sunday evening, and then was given an ice water bath by his players.

They said it...

Bill Self on the final play: "At the end, when Richards shot the ball, from my view, you know, it looked like it had a real good chance to go in. Of course, it was wide left. Then the horn blew. It was like, 'Why is the horn going off? I can't believe that 16 seconds has already passed.'"

Bill Self on now facing Roy Williams: "Well, they probably will be asking him all the questions about it as opposed to me. I can't speak for Roy. But it's a game against - North Carolina's players against Kansas' players. It's been five years since Roy went to Carolina. I'm sure I'll say this again, I'll say it now: as Kansas fans, representing Kansas, we should be proud of the time that Roy gave us, because excellence was definitely the standard while he was there. There may be some talk about it, all those things. But our focus will not be on that. our focus will be on their team. When fans get upset, all that is is a backhanded compliment because they didn't want you to leave. I'm sure Roy knows that. But this should be about the players instead of the coaches."

Rodrick Stewart on the feeling in the locker room: "I'm still in such awe right now. Words can't even describe how much this means to everybody. Fans, families, especially coach Self. We had to get that one for him."

Jeremy Case on getting coach Self to a Final Four: "I'm extremely happy for coach Self. He's been there more times than I have, so close to the Final Four. Just to finally get everybody off his back, saying he's the best coach who hasn't made it to a Final Four, this and that, they can't say that anymore."

Jeremy Case on going against Roy Williams now, who signed him at KU: "It's not gonna be a distraction. It's been five years. I've put that behind me. I'm just gonna focus on what Kansas has to do to win."

Jeremy Case on the game's last shot: "I thought it was in. I had to close my eyes because I just couldn't watch. I told myself if we don't score, they're gonna hit a three, just because it's been their year this year, everything's gone their way. As soon as he missed, just relief, I can't really describe the feeling I had, I just had to run out there and hug somebody...It was Russ. I had to run straight to my man, because he's the one who led us here. He's kept us focused, and he's done a great job this tournament."

Russell Robinson on going against Roy Williams next Saturday: "It's special. I think it's most special for the KU fans. To play against your old coach, it's gonna be a fun experience. It's probably gonna be a little emotional for coach Williams, and I'm pretty sure he's gonna have a tough time, but when we get out there to play, everyone's gonna be ready to play."

Russell Robinson on surviving an NCAA Tournament game so much unlike the first three this year: "You know, it's good for the team morale to be in a tough situation and persevere, find a way to win. Before the year, we wrote up on the board, you're gonna win games when you play well, you're gonna lose some games when you play horrible. But the core of the season is gonna be those games when you don't play well, can you win those? That's what we were able to do today."

Sherron Collins on defending Stephen Curry: "We just did a lot of different things to him. We threw a lot of different zones at him, we did a lot of different things to him. I think we made him guard on the other end as well to try and wear him down a little bit."

Sherron Collins on rebounding in the Elite Eight this year after not being himself a year ago in the Regional final: "This is not tendonitis this year. I'm able to move, able to do things, and last year, I could barely move. It was heartbreaking to me that I couldn't help my team win. I contributed, only scored five points, but I helped guard, and being out there, being able to move."

Darrell Arthur on playing a slower game against Davidson: "They were a handful. They came out and played us the whole game. We couldn't get on a break, couldn't get on a run at all, probably the toughest game we played all year...I wasn't nervous, I was just hoping we'd get on a run at sometime. I thought we got some key stops at the end, got some key rebounds and made our free throws."

Darrell Arthur on going against Tyler Hansbrough next weekend: "I played against him one time my sophomore year (of high school). He came a long way from there, from then to now. He's a beast down low. He goes after every rebound, fights after every possession, shoots the outside jumpers at times, it's just gonna be a tough game for us, and we're just gonna throw a lot of guys at him, try to wear him out, try not to let him get a bunch of easy touches down low."

Darrell Arthur on what the Jayhawks gain from a close NCAA Tournament game: "It was a good game for us. I don't think Davidson was a 10-seed at all. I thought they could have been a two- or three-seed, but they came out, fought, I think it's gonna help us out a lot going into this Carolina game, because we need a grind-out game like that."

Mario Chalmers on getting to the Final Four: "It feels great to finally get there. It's a dream come true. I watched my first Final Four in San Antonio (in 2004), and to actually be going back there to play my first Final Four is pretty amazing. I never thought it'd be in the same exact spot, but I had faith I'd be able to go back to the Final Four."

Sasha Kaun on his monstrous game: "I just wanted to play good. I was committed to trying to give everything I could to the team. I thought we had a good mindset about everything...It was just a sense of urgency that it might be over. We had to step up and get some good possessions...I've been waiting for this game for so long to go to the FInal Four, and last year we came up short, it's an unbelievable feeling right now."

Comments

jaybate 14 years, 3 months ago

Today, you're boys had more confidence than you did.

That's okay, one time, Coach Self.

But we need you with your swagger back to beat Roy and his runnin' Tarheels.

This is Kansas basketball at its best, Coach Self.

Kansas basketball has always been the greatest crucible of college basketball.

We've only won 2 NCAA banners and 2 other national championships before those.

Kansas basketball is about so much more than rings. It is about good men taking on the challenge of greatness in the father of all college basketball programs.

I wouldn't have it any other way than how it is playing out this year, Coach Self.

I'm glad KU had to get Beasley'ed and recover from it.

I'm glad KU had to get bushwhacked by Barnes and come back and knock their blocks off.

I wanted KU to have to beat the best player in the country in Stephen Curry.

I want KU to have to play Roy and UNC.

I want KU to have to avenge the '57 NC loss to UNC, and the snubbing Dean and Roy gave to our school and our players. Win or lose, I want these players to have to a chance at achieving greatness, at surmounting the seemingly insurmountable.

And then I want them to have to rise above Memphis, or UCLA, two teams with more guns than KU has.

KU basketball IS about doing the impossible.

Danny Manning taught me that in 1988. Look down the bench, Coach Self. He is sitting down their with you.

I don't care that we don't have the most dominant center.

I don't care that we don't have the biggest, fastest guards.

What we have are you and the most heroic bunch of players I've seen in a long time trying to scale the biggest mountain in collegiate sports with the weight of the greatest legacy in college basketball on your shoulders.

Smile, Coach Self.

What you went through today, is what Kansas basketball is all about.

It made Roy cry for years.

It made Larry Brown come back after 20 years and be more proud of what he did in Lawrence than ANYTHING else he ever did.

It made Wilt Chamberlain come to terms with more than you or anyone else in KU hoops has ever had to come to terms with.

It's a crucible, Coach Self.

Ain't it grand?

You're a Jayhawk, now. You have felt not just the agony of defeat, but the agony of victory.

Welcome to the Jayhawk nation.

yates33333 14 years, 3 months ago

Listen Self, you're not only a better man than the UNC coach you're a better coach.

flipborder02 14 years, 3 months ago

Jaybate we didnt shut down Beasly but we can shut down fagsbrough.

jaybate 14 years, 3 months ago

Dear Coach Self,

Get your chin up. Get your swagger back. You and your Jayhawks didn't back into anything today. From the minute you came to town, you said defense came first. And today, you were proven right. The best player in the tournament wasn't Psycho T, or Lawson, or Ellington, or Derrick Rose, or CDRoberts, or Kevin Love. The best player in this year's Madness was Stephen Curry. It wasn't even close. That guy threw down 25 on a day when the best defensive team in the country, KU, was dogging him every where he went. Today, KU hog tied the best player in the game this year. Earlier this year, KU shut down Beasley--the second best player in the game. KU will shut down Psycho T, also.

They say you're not a great game coach. Bull bisquits! With EVERYTHING on the line...with 16.8 seconds left...you ran a four guard, switching defense unlike what I've ever seen you run and IT WORKED!!!

You're the cat's meow tonight, Coach Self. You're the only coach in the Final Four that didn't sell his soul to get there.

Roy sold his soul 5 years ago, when he undercut KU's last run at a championship in order to get the UNC job. He sold his soul, when he left his boys behind. He sold his soul when he left recruiting violations behind.

John Calipari sold his soul years ago with UMass and Camby and their recruiting violations.

Ben Howland? He sold his soul when he started coaching hack'n'slap and then he sold his soul to get Kevin Love.

All these guys have sold their souls and you still have yours...win...or lose.

You looked almost glum today in the post game interviews.

I know you are worried about your team not playing to its potential. The last half against Villanova you sensed it and mentioned it. Your face today after the game said: we're slumping another game, when we should be peaking.

Don't go there, Coach Self.

You are right. This was this teams time. This year's team has the best opportunity to get it done.

You and they ARE ready.

You have NOT let them down.

Every team has to win a nail biter on the way to a championship.

Tom Pritchard 14 years, 3 months ago

Excellent Jaybate Your article should be in the Journal World sports. Send them your resume.

FSUJHAWK 14 years, 3 months ago

Coach Williams and North Carolina are not invincible. However, it will take a tremendous all-around team effort from our boys on both ends of the court to get the W. We believe in you Coach and we certainly believe in our Boys. Win or lose you'll always be Jayhawks, and that is legendary.

Folks, especially the media, always get carried away with NC, UCLA, Indiana, Duke and Kentucky, but in the eyes of the crimson and blue there is no place like Kansas and there is nothing better than being a Jayhawk. From Dr. Naismith to Phog Allen to Wilt to Danny to this current band of brothers, who else in this world can claim such historic and beautiful lineage but the Jayhawk? KU basketball hasn't always been about winning (just ask the Doc if he were still around). KU basketball is a way of life that illuminates with pride reflect tradition and captures the future. Hear all ye, the future has come! Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

KUglow 14 years, 3 months ago

Welcome to Jayhawk Nation????? Really? I could have sworn Self was part of it for a few years now.

smitty33 14 years, 3 months ago

Jaybate, It's awesome to see you so optimistic. I clearly remember reading your list of why we'll have trouble in this bracket, especially against Clemson and Wisconsin.

Listen to me, I'm always right.... We'll have FULL SWAGGER against UNC on Saturday. Trust me, we'll play like we have nothing to lose. Brandon is going to light it up, not play scared like he did on Sunday. The only way we'll get beat is if we have a terrible night shooting and they shoot lights out.

Rock Klein 14 years, 3 months ago

Put on your track shoes. Saturday's game is going to be a full court sprint for 40 minutes. Should be fun to watch.

ballhawkin 14 years, 3 months ago

Congratulations to all the hawks: My wish list for the semis and the finals: 1. Darrell Arthur decides to show why the media loves him and tags him a lottery pick, that's right, he comes out READY to play, uses the skills that he has and dominates. 2. Sherron Collins gets even healthier, breaks down Lawson like a marine strips an M16. 3. The hawks go for the full 40, guarding like there is no tomorrow and continue to play unselfish basketball. 4. Coach Self and the hawks earn a national championship. Thanks for being the best TEAM in the country!

justanotherfan 14 years, 3 months ago

Here's a crazy thought. Let's "ugly it up" against Carolina. We know Roy's history. We know from when Self was at Illinois, and Roy was here, the two met in the tournament and Self, with a team far inferior to Roy's boys, uglied it up and won. Now we have teams that are equally equiped, but Self is tougher than Roy is. His players are tougher than Roy's. Carolina wants a track meet. They are begging for us to run-n-gun with Lawson and Ellington and Green and the rest. They are itching to fast break and change ends, and turn this game into one big layup line. Sure, we can do that, but why? Let's make this a half court battle. They have Hansborough. We have CoSha ArtSon. We can throw a four-headed octupus at them. They can only throw a maniac at us. I say we make them play in the half court.

Now, as for things that worry me...

  1. Officiating - its been an on-going story of the latter part of the season and the NCAA tournament. If not for Curry and Davidson, the shaky officiating would have gotten far more play than it has. It has been inconsistent at best. Tight whistles on Saturday are almost guaranteed to benefit Carolina since Hansborough, as an All-American, will benefit on those calls. We need to adapt quickly to whatever calls are going on. I pray for consistency more than good officiating.

  2. Shooting in a hangar - the last several Final Fours, they have done statistics on shooting percentages being much higher on one end versus the other end of the floor, depending on how the dome was configured for basketball. They researched the "closed" end (where the normal seats are, versus the "open" end, where they hung the curtain. Since the Alamodome will not be set up at the 50, there will be an "open" end in SA that was not present in Detroit. We need to attack the basket when we are in the "open" end.

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