Back to 2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament coverage

2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament

Originally published November 17, 2009 at 12:00a.m., updated November 17, 2009 at 08:48a.m.

Oh, the memories

KU, Memphis to meet for first time since title game

Kansas guard Sherron Collins, center, celebrates with Mario Chalmers (15) and Darrell Arthur (00) after the Jayhawks defeated Memphis in the national championship game on April 7, 2008, in San Antonio. KU and Memphis meet tonight for the first time since the title game.

Kansas guard Sherron Collins, center, celebrates with Mario Chalmers (15) and Darrell Arthur (00) after the Jayhawks defeated Memphis in the national championship game on April 7, 2008, in San Antonio. KU and Memphis meet tonight for the first time since the title game.



KU vs. Memphis

video thumbnail

Kansas takes on Memphis in St. Louis, Mo., Tuesday, November 17, 2009.

— There are reminders of Kansas University’s 2008 national title victory over Memphis all over Allen Fieldhouse.

There’s a national title banner hanging in the north rafters, an NCAA championship trophy in the Booth Family Hall of Athletics, pictures of Mario Chalmers' game-tying three-pointer both up in the new donor atrium and outside the fabled northwest tunnel.

Meanwhile in Memphis — well, there's not a lot of talk about that April 7, 2008, game — one in which KU erased a nine-point deficit in the final 2:12 only to roll in overtime en route to a one-for-the-ages 75-68 victory.

"I try not to think about it. It was a heartbreaker. You can't forget a game like that," said Memphis senior guard Willie Kemp, one of three current Tigers to play KU in the Alamodome in San Antonio.

He's expected to start during today's 9 p.m. rematch at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

"We gave it all we had. So did they (in '08). It's behind us now," Kemp said.

KU coach Bill Self and several Jayhawk players have said they've been reminded of KU's milestone victory every day for the past 19 months.

"I can't imagine how some of them that were on the team two years ago felt," KU junior Cole Aldrich said, sympathizing with 2009-10 Memphis players Kemp, Doneal Mack and Pierre Henderson-Niles. "Just because you go from the highest of highs (leading by nine) to the lowest of lows.

"This is a whole new year, a whole new spot, a whole new coach. We're going to come in and play our game and they will too," added Aldrich who joins Sherron Collins as the only two current Jayhawks to have played in the title game.

John Calipari, coach of the 2008 Tigers, last spring moved on to Kentucky. Memphis is led by 32-year-old, first-year coach Josh Pastner, whose team is rebuilding this year and reloading in recruiting for 2010-11.

“It’s totally different teams and a new coach, (but) I think because we beat them there will be a little animosity,” KU senior guard Collins said. “It’ll be a tough game. It’ll be fun.”

“I’m sure they (Tigers) are going to want to go out and prove themselves,” noted KU junior Tyrel Reed. “We’re going to have to be that much more prepared.”

Collins said his mind may drift to 2008 during warm-up drills tonight.

“There will be a little bit of a rewind,” he said. “I’ll be thinking, ‘The last time we saw them, I was dancing after we won the championship.’ Not chills, but I’ll feel something.”

So will Reed. It’s pretty tough not to be reminded of a game that’s arguably the most exciting in KU history.

“Probably,” Reed said, asked if it’s the best game he’s ever seen. “That was an amazing feat to be down nine or eight or whatever it was with two minutes to go. That was a lot of guys playing really well at the end to bring home a win.”

And make possible a parade, one the city of Memphis was counting on before the game and with a couple minutes remaining in regulation. Tonight, the Tigers, who were favored in ’08, enter as 10-point underdogs.

“It’s good to be the underdog. It’s different for me (after being part of 104 wins against 10 losses last three years),” Kemp said.

The Tigers do possess talent. Starters include 6-foot-8, 270-pound Henderson-Niles, as well as former Duke point guard Elliot Williams and sophomore guard/forward Wesley Witherspoon. Highly touted juco power forward Will Coleman also is on board.

“You’ve got Wesley Witherspoon, their 4-man/point guard,” Self said of the 6-9 Atlanta native, who was recruited by KU. “Even though he has good size, you are asking one of our big guys to have to guard a guy who will initiate a lot of offense for them. Their interchangeable parts on the perimeter can cause problems.”

Of course, KU also presents problems for Memphis.

“I’d say they are very deep,” Kemp said. “They have great inside players, outside players. We do too. I think it’ll be an up and down game. Kansas is ranked No. 1 in the country. We’ll leave it all on the floor.”

Memphis is 0-8 versus top-rated squads, the last meeting against Ohio State in the 2007 Elite Eight.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun because it’s Memphis,” KU’s Reed said. “Anytime you can play a big-name school with great players it’s going to be exciting and a big challenge for us.”

Exciting, sure ... but not with the stakes of 2008.

“You can’t look at it that way,” Reed said. “We’re just looking at this as a new team and year. We’re looking to get better against great competition.”


Michael Auchard 12 years, 7 months ago

I promise I'm not trying to be that guy who points out every grammatical mistake, and I'm sure you guys will fix it anyway, but you've got a mess in the second paragraph. Just up late.

rockchalkAZ 12 years, 7 months ago

wtf is up with this article? poorly edited. here's the second paragraph:

There’s a national title banner hanging in the north rafters, an NCAA championship trophy in the Booth Family Hall of Athletwill, too,” added Aldrich, who joins Sherron Collins as the only two current Jayhawks to have played in the title game.

And here's the last paragraph:

“This is a whole new year, a whole new spot, a whole new coach. We’re going to come in and play our game and they

That's it. It's abruptly cut off. Nice editing LJW, I'm sure it'll be fixed before anyone else gets on here to comment

rockchalkAZ 12 years, 7 months ago

i don't wanna be THAT guy either, but i couldn't resist. show a little professionalism. it's called proofreading

Michael Auchard 12 years, 7 months ago

Probably accidentally got posted or something. There's another big error in there as well. We're just here to early, AZ. :)

Michael Auchard 12 years, 7 months ago

TOO early... now I'm doing it. Alright, I'm outta here.

Dirk Medema 12 years, 7 months ago

Not to mention - "part of 104 wins against 10 losses last three years".

Isn't that actually 67 wins and 37 forfeits?

I believe that is an NCAA record for most forfeitures in a single season?

KU1992 12 years, 7 months ago

“We’re just looking at this as a new team and year. We’re looking to get better against great competition.”ell, there’s not a lot of talk about that April 7, 2008,

Can i get a definition on the word "ell" or are they just trying to add some colloquialism to the article.

Chris Shaw 12 years, 7 months ago

Yahweh: "I promise I'm not trying to be that guy who points out every grammatical mistake, and I'm sure you guys will fix it anyway, but you've got a mess in the second paragraph. Just up late."

You are being "That Guy".

patton6 12 years, 7 months ago

In fairness, the mistakes are still there at nearly 8:00...

KUFan90 12 years, 7 months ago

KU only favored by 10? Where is my wallet...

NebraskaJayhawk 12 years, 7 months ago

They aren't Hofstra for crying out loud. They are going to be out for blood, and we had better to.

jayhawk691 12 years, 7 months ago

“This is a whole new year, a whole new spot, a whole new coach. We’re going to come in and play our game and they will, too,” added Aldrich, who joins Sherron Collins as the only two current Jayhawks to have played in the title game.

^^ that should be the last paragraph. Half of the 2nd paragraph is missing.

This is bad. Setting aside standards of journalism it would be bad for a high school essay, but I have come to expect that from the LJW.

Theutus 12 years, 7 months ago

Not to dismiss Memphis, but I'm still shocked we're only picked by 10. The #1 team in the land vs. an unranked program... Just seems off.

Jonathan Kealing 12 years, 7 months ago

So, here's what happened. In the course of the article being posted, someone dragged parts of paragraphs 2-8 to the bottom of the article. It's easy to do, I'm sure you've done it in Microsoft Word or an e-mail as well. Sorry we didn't get it fixed sooner. If you see something like that, there's a feedback form at the bottom of the page. Drop us a note and you'll make sure we see it sooner.


Jonathan Kealing Online editor

KANSTUCKY 12 years, 7 months ago

I don't want to be "that guy" that points out "that guy" being "that guy". Nice win uk.... snicker snicker.

Steve Brown 12 years, 7 months ago

fans in adoration of the new kids, naturally. fans steady devotion to our all/stars all/americans, certainly.

Tonight, you will see the twins break out game, just watch, sophomores rule the house tonight.

They have shown moments of brilliance in AFH and tonight, all that they have invested to build bodies, stamina, endurance, plus learn what is required, tough defense, relentless yet controlled aggression will break out tonight.

for variety of reasons, MEM will want to double X so to limit him & show their fans they didn't lose anything overly special, plus frosh 1st road game, might pressure too much internally, so what, he may get 8 & shoot 30% yet the soph twin towers will get 27, & shoot for high average, with 3 blocked shots, 2 steals and a partridge pear tree.

JayCeph 12 years, 7 months ago

If UK needs a last second jumper to seal a win, and if UCLA can lose in the Pavilion to division II directional team, then KU better be focused and ready to take care of business tonight. If they try to hang their hat on the No.1 ranking instead of playing ball, a lot of really ugly things could happen.

I've seen KU lose too many games they should win (ORU, Richmond, Arizona in '97, etc.). Focus, grasshoppers!

keith horinek 12 years, 7 months ago

For me, it's not so much as to how the message is delivered, but rather that the message "IS" delivered and what the message is all about. It's BB season guys! Who cares about grammer, let's play ball! Let's go kick some tiger but! Thanks, Jonathan anyway for the fixes. And thank you Gary for the article, these kind of articles get me excited for more BB.

100 12 years, 7 months ago

"Defense Wins Championships"


BCRavenJHawkfan 12 years, 7 months ago

When I got up this morning I considered wearing the same clothes I did on that glorious day in April 2008, and thought that Bill Self would wear the same tie from that championship game.

Then I thought, crap I can't count on Bill Self to wear the same tie, and do I really want to get that superstitious?

Scott Smetana 12 years, 7 months ago

KU wins big tonight... as long as we rebound and play some D.
Bring it on!!

NotWiller 12 years, 7 months ago

Thank you dagger108 for reminding us all of the BIGGEST mistake in this article.

How many interviews do I have to hear w/ Josh Pastner where he talks about the pressure of coaching in the shadow of "the NCAA record breaking 2008 season, and all that Coach Cal accomplished in his four years at Memphis?" How many journalists will continue to reference "the record?"

Record breaking, indeed. First coach to forfeit TWO Final Four appearances at TWO different schools. First coach to forfeit a "NCAA record breaking" season. First coach to get convicted by the SAT compliance department (though many before him have taken plea bargains).

I ain't saying the guy (Cal) can't coach- he's a hell of a talent. Too bad he's such a friggin' tool on top of it. I hate to root against talent, but it's hard to feel positive toward a record like that.

But I do wish Josh all the best, and I hope in the coming years he gives Memphis fans a little something back of what was taken from them. They deserve better. But tonight, let's repay all of Josh's "Bill Self is the most amazing guy ever and I love him and cherish him and will call him George" gushes w/ a no-holds barred smack down.

But in the meantime, enough of this "ooooohhhhh, Cal is a genius" malarkey. Cal's record speaks for itself.

jaybate 12 years, 7 months ago

@ dagger108 and Yahweh,

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for caring about language! As our dear jkealing pointed out so correctly, these things happen in journalism and if we say nothing to the professional journalists, how will they know we care? How will they know we want the online web page of record of the KU basketball legacy, the only legacy of the game absolutely vital to document for the sake of the game, recorded the best that it can be recorded.

Always remember: professional sports journalists like jkealing, Keegs, Bedore, et al, became professionals, because they cared, because they thought recording what happened mattered, because it seemed an interesting way to make a living, and because it got them into games free. :-)

Under the internet model of content creation, the pros are the go to guys. We citizen journalists are the glue. The pros cannot be their best, cannot do their best, if we do not care. Go-to guys always play to the level of their glue and to the level of their competition. I guarranty all of you that, if we are good glue, they can bring it.

Few like being corrected in the moment.

All like being the best they can be.

No one wants this web site to work better, its content to read better, and its clicks to total higher, than jkealing, Keegs, Bedore, et al.

Whether citizen journalists opine, critique, or boost, it all comes out as clicks in the accounting.

@ jkealing,

I respect you greatly for stepping in and letting everyone know that you want to catch mistakes and correct them, not only of fact, but of composition and style.

KU basketball is not only about the fact of trying to win, but it is about the style of winning, i.e., about winning the best way possible. Mistakes are made in KU basketball, but they are corrected.

<p>, the online web page of record of The KU Basketball Legacy, is about recording The Legacy the best way possible, too. Your willingness to post, as you have, has just made this abundantly clear.

Thank you.

And though I know you are a professional, who may well not be spiritually/academically part of Jayhawk Nation (i.e., you may be covering us only as a job), may I extend a hearty Rock Chalk to you, sir, as once was done so long ago for Teddy Roosevelt, who then rightly recognized that "rock chalk" was the best chant in college sports. And bully for you, jkealing, bully for you!

mstrausz 12 years, 7 months ago

Hawks win it going away....92-75. RCJH

jaybate 12 years, 7 months ago

Note on the Memorable Photo above by Thad Allender:

In some ways, this photo has become the iconic essence of the 2008 Championship. It demonstrates again and again how a photo can become vastly more than a frame out of time. It can come to contain all the feelings about a long complicated season that was in the beginning entirely uncertain in outcome, but, which in the end, showed signs of inevitability.

On a small scale, Allender's photo does for the 2008 season, what Joe Rosenthal's picture of the Marine's raising the flag on Iwo Jima did for all Americans. It made graphic a very long struggle to a summit of hard won success.

But whereas the Marines stood shoulder to shoulder in violent combat, basketball players are in a constant ballet of spacing and intense effort that this picture perfectly captures. Basketball is a game of motion, a game where players are running many directions simultaneously, where the great beauty and great accomplishment take place with considerable spacing. This photo, unlike so many photos of basketball team's hugging in victory, captures the tenuous, delicate, fragile quality of basketball, even in the current age of physical aggression in the game. In basketball, one is simultaneously alone and together with one's teammates on the flow. One is connected in a flow, but simultaneously that connection is occurring over some distance, within the sacred rectangle of the floor.

Thanks Thad.

I would love to see this blown up to a mural and placed on a wall in Allen Field House for posterity.

To reiterate, this picture more than some of the other memorable post game photos captures the essence of that season, and of the experience of being a player and a fan during it.

I could not hug the players, so the photos of players hugging, while joyful to recall, does not resonate nearly so deeply as does this photo of players exhalting in the moment...all individually, but all also unmistakeably as part of a team, and a part of a basketball legacy.

This picture captures exactly how I felt, when the buzzer went off and how I feel looking back.

I was simultaneously alone in my exhaltation, and yet a part of a team and a legacy.

Rock chalk.

100 12 years, 7 months ago


Since this game really has to do with Cal versus Self, & Cal is no more in Memphis, I thought I'd share this with you to get some highly important well thoughtout analysis. This regarding not Cal's ex-fanbase, Memphis, but his current group of followers:

  1. UK is #1 in all time wins by 4 games.

  2. When counting only actual real games against real Division 1 teams, Kentucky is #4.

I was curious if you have any analysis to go with the seeming ceaseless exuberance of Cal's current fans to go with "Rupp's record", in conjunction with Rupp Arena's court getting trampled last night after besting Miami (OH)?

Also when taking into account three of Rupp's teams (against Rupp's will) were part of three seperate betting scandals (Rupp's '48, '49 & '51 NCAA champion teams), how do these facts, when added together in an exponential equation including Naismith's original intentions for the game itself, conflict & collide in a Hall of Fame sized particle accelerator?

Taken a step further, is there a chance we might never need to use gasoline or coal again? Did his new fanbase, without realizing it, just solve the worldwide energy crisis?

How much energy can be yielded from an angry fanbase when banners are pulled down (or banners are never hung to begin with because the squad is spending too much time dribbling?)

Can exclusive dribbling yield future power -- is there any need to shoot at all?

Should a half point be given per dribble against D1 teams so that dramatic moments like last nights can be avoided at all costs, saving a paricle accelerator from overloading?


Thanks Jaybate.

NotWiller 12 years, 7 months ago

I stand corrected.

I would rather listen to a hundred more "Cal is great" interviews than read another...single...word...from jaybate.

Steve Brown 12 years, 7 months ago

Court Storming AFH: students please share with the incoming students our tradition at AFH that we expect to win and don't and won't run the court at game end.

the last time we stormed the court '71 Bud Stallworth hit highly ranked Misery for 50 points. we were storming for him not the upset.

Rupp Arena can have whatever traditions they must have, yet we expect to win, so last second shots to win will not generate a court storming on our part.


Joel Hood 12 years, 7 months ago


Sorry to say, the last time I remember students storming the AFH court was in 2003, when Nick Collison went ape stuff and had 20+ rebounds against Texas. I think it was College Game Day event. That was when Dick Vitale gave Nick a standing O. Students in the know chanted, "Get off the floor - Get off the floor"

JHWK 12 years, 7 months ago

Rock Chalk! Time to get it on against some athletes!

Would like to see Cole remain involved throughout the game. Don't want to rely on the outside shooting as much.

Prediction: The Beak Goes On!

For my posting brethren.

Steve Brown 12 years, 7 months ago

jayhawkjoel: you are correct, Nick did go ape that game didn't he. Wow what a performance, and yes, Vitale spoke about it all year.

what do you think? future late nights have a session called:

One minute fan lessons for freshman fans.

Let them know that is their mission to help refs call 3 second lane violations. wave arms for opposing free throws. do NOT bring whistles or sirens or ever throw things on the court, we have class. Politely and quietly applaud good play by opponents, unless MU. let the refs know when they blow a call, yet don't use vulgar profanity, that only sets them off: just use the time honored mild proganity BS BS BS BS BS chant we perfected years ago. . . . . . . . . . .above all else we NEVER storm the court, when we win it is expected!

MemphisMachine 12 years, 7 months ago

Theutus it's because we are Memphis that's why the line is at 10, Vegas knows what's up ranked or unranked....we chop teams down, or at least give 'em one hell of a fight. But I hope for a good game, always is between the two schools....all 6 games have been under 10points.

KGphoto 12 years, 7 months ago


Love the critique of Rosenthal's photo, albeit far-fetched. Rosenthal missed the actual moment and reset the photo we've all come to know. Thad's frame cannot be reset. He got it. And it's as telling as you suggest.

To Rosenthal's credit, he did the best possible job he could've done. And considering the circumstances he should be more widely credited for perfectly recreating a moment than for capturing the "actual" moment. I'm a fan of both studio photography and photojournalism so this photo is high on my list too.

If you like photographed "moments", I strongly suggest Jim Nachtwey's Witness. In my mind he is the greatest war and famine photojournalist of all time. You obviously have the intellect to absorb his unique gift and splendid heroism. Check him out.

jaybate 12 years, 7 months ago


Excellent reference. I will dive into his work ASAP. Thank you.

jaybate 12 years, 7 months ago

Will It Be be a Good Game with Memphis?:

On paper, we're 30 points better, but...

We're talking Princeton on Steroids here. I know, I know, it is not Pete Carril's Princeton, but supposedly a version some other coach hatched. But here's the thing: Pete Carril's Princeton is not Pete Carril's either. Pete cribbed it from his old coach.

The spread and pick-on-ball offenses confuse all teams that play against them the first time they see it each season. IMHO, one of the main reasons for playing this offense is to juice up your W/L statement early in the season, when folks haven't seen it for awhile. It frankly has a mediocre record in tourney play, against teams that have seen it before.

Last year's KU teammates are up on it, but haven't practiced much against it. It will take them ten minutes to get used to defending it.

Ideally, we would have played a UMKC, which runs Princeton, the game before Memphis, instead of a Hofstra.

Recall that Self did not even try playing Cole Aldrich his freshman year against UMKC, which plays Princeton, because Self said Cole was not used to playing that far out of the paint, even against a small team like UMKC.

Xavier, TRob, and the Prophet Elijah will have significant adjustment troubles, because each has never seen it. Seeing it in high school does not count either. D1 athletes playing this offense make it a completely new kettle of Kippered Snacks.

Therefore, KU should not win big unless Memphis is having a really poor shooting night and KU is hot. This scenario is unlikely, because KU is due a cold night already.

But come ten minutes to go in the second half, look for KU to get very comfortable defending it.

It follows that Pastner is going to have to give his team every edge he can the first 5-10 minutes of each half, while unfamiliarity favors Memphis.

Finally, watching whether TRob plays much, or sparingly, tonight against Memphis will tell us quite a lot about how much Self plans to use TRob over the course of the season. If TRob plays sparingly against Memphis, it is because Self expects TRob would foul out quickly against this sort of offense, and Self only views TRob as a 5-10 minute man once Withey comes back. But if Self gives TRob a lot of work against this offense, it is because Self thinks he can handle it and expects TRob to be a major contributor in the paint.

jaybate 12 years, 7 months ago


James Nachtwey is a fine photographer. Thank you for awakening me to his pictures.

One of the ways one knows one is getting old is that seeing a man doing the caliber of work that Nachtwey does triggers not simply awe at excellence and courage, but the heart rending legacy that Nachtwey works in.

Each generation since the birth of the camera has spawned one or two great action photographers like Nachtwey. Each one of these amazingly humane and compassionate men with a zeal to do what John Savage's character described in Oliver Stone's "Salvador." Ya gotta get close. Ya get to close and ya die.

These great photographers are the tragedians of the 19th through the 21st Centuries. It is only through their pictures that we can truly grasp the expanse and depth of the horror and inhumanity and wasted opportunity for life and love that has pervaded this cruel, blood thirsty era so many have had to live, suffer and die through.

Each generation's great photographer fills us with the hope that if only humanity will look and see what has been recorded, that humanity will come together and do something at long last to end the horror.

But the tragedy is that seeing such a body of pictures every couple of decades by one of these great photographers never finally delivers us from the nightmare.

My greatest fear and sorrow is that my son and then his son will each come to have a photographer just as magnificient as James Nachtwey.

Still, let us now praise famous photographers like Mr. Nachtwey, photographers who get the truth out no matter what.

Perhaps after a hundred generations of photographers of the skill, courage and humanity of Mr. Nachtwey, finally, the world will listen and do something to end the horror.

jaybate 12 years, 7 months ago

Dear PikesPeakSmitty,

I don't like MemphisMachine. I don't like his alias. I don't like his team. I don't like his coach. I don't like the Memphis sound, or Sun Records. I don't like Elvis. I don't like Graceland. I don't like his city. I don't like his state. I don't like his mother. I don't like his father, whomever of two dozen men he may have been. I don't like that he comes on here and says he doesn't like fine Jayhawks like you. I urinate on the ground he stands on and hope the splatter permanently leaves his bare feet with urea burns. I find him to be a disgrace as a human being. I believe that about covers it. :-)

Rock Chalk.

Ron Franklin 12 years, 7 months ago

anybody know where a live stream video of the game may be found on line?

captku 12 years, 7 months ago

I'll have to check it out there also. Thanks guys for always coming through with the links!

Dirk Medema 12 years, 7 months ago

NotWiler & Jaybate - Thank you. I was encouraged recently when Tim Griffin (ESPN B12 FB) correctly wrote that KU was looking for its first outright Big12 North championship, thereby finally recognizing the co-championship in 2007. It only took 3 or 4 corrections, but it appears that sometimes they do learn.

drgnslayr says "KU is favored only by 10 because our crushing victories so far have come from teams like Waldorf Salad University."

It would seem like a valid point. Who is Hofstra anyway? Actually, Hofstra is the team that just played #13 UConn to within 9 points. Maybe they aren't so bad after all, and we are that good. That being said, I still be amazed to see this team break the NCAA record for most wins in a season (shared by the 2007-08 KU NC team) much less get a perfect 40 win season. It really doesn't have to do with how good the team is as much as how long the season is, and how young the team is inspite of all the experience. February is too long (can you imagine if it weren't the shortest month), there are too many exams, too many long practices, too many quality opponents, too many glowing articles, and too many "fat little girlfriends".

Commenting has been disabled for this item.