It was just two seasons ago that Kansas' basketball team received red-carpet treatment in Indianapolis.
Coach Roy Williams and the Jayhawks, along with entourages from North Carolina, Duke and UNLV, were the elite four teams to advance to college basketball's premier event, the Final Four.
KU returns to Indy and the Hoosier Dome Saturday for a 2:45 p.m. early season meeting with Bob Knight's 4-0 Indiana team.
"I remember two or three things," Williams said, asked to recount memories of Indianapolis. "The first is those cops, when we left the hotel, they'd take off in front of us trying to stop traffic so we could get through. It was like the Keystone Cops. That was amazing.
"As far as basketball, I remember going out to practice with 40,000 people, looking at our guys and imagining what was going through their minds."
THE FINAL Four games were eventful, also. First, KU beat Williams' alma mater, North Carolina, 79-73, in the semis.
"Knowing we were playing North Carolina and not getting off to a good start . . . Richard Scott gave us a lift before halftime," Williams said. "Then in the second half, Sean Tunstall hit a big three after they cut it to 58-57. Then the fiasco at the end with coach (Dean) Smith thrown out (for receiving his second technical). It bothered me because I didn't think he deserved it and I knew people would want to talk about that and it would take away from what our kids accomplished."
KU fell to Duke, 72-65, in the final.
"WITH LESS than a minute to play I still thought we had a chance to win. We cut it to five and I thought we had a 10-second violation in the backcourt," Williams said.
"Grant Hill calls time out. I look at the clock, do my mathematics and see there were 9.3 seconds (off clock) when he called it. At that point, I knew the guy upstairs was looking on Duke more favorably than us that night. And the last thing, all the easy ones (shots) we missed."
KU sophomore forward Sean Pearson, who hit three three-pointers in the Jayhawks' 76-65 season-opening win over Georgia Tuesday, will have some extra incentive Saturday.
"I'm excited because some of my family will be able to watch me," he said, noting his mother and father would make the drive from LaGrange Park, Ill.
Pearson does not yet have the green light to shoot three pointers. Rex Walters, Adonis Jordan and Steve Woodberry are the only Jayhawks free to shoot threes whenever they like. . .as long as they're open.
Former KU forward Alonzo Jamison is waiting for X-rays the Los Angeles Lakers took on his left knee during the preseason. Jamison went to Sweden to play professionally, but had to return because of knee problems.
KU forward Darrin Hancock slipped during the early going of KU's recent exhibition game against Australia Gold. It wasn't because of the new Fieldhouse floor, which Williams says is holding up well. "I don't think it was the floor. It was just something there that should have been cleaned up," Williams said.
Williams on Indiana junior guard Damon Bailey, who received national publicity when he was in the eighth grade. At that time, IU coach Bob Knight said Bailey in the eighth grade was a better player than IU star Steve Alford.
"I think everybody's initial reaction was there will be an awful lot of pressure on a kid at such a young age," said Williams, recalling his feelings when the book came out. "But at the same time, you knew he must be something special."