A wide-eyed freshman, Patrick Richey was overwhelmed by all the hoopla at the 1991 Final Four.
"Two years ago, with it being my first year out of high school, I was stunned to be there," said KU's junior forward.
Richey played 10 minutes and scored four points in the Jayhawks' 79-73 semifinal win over North Carolina before a crowd of 47,100 in the Hoosier Dome. He played four minutes and did not score in a 72-65 loss to Duke in the title game.
"I can't speak for guys like Mark Randall," noted Richey, "but it was really a new experience for me. I was happy to be there. This year, I'm happy to be there, but I want a national championship. I want to win it all."
FOUR KU players -- Richey, Steve Woodberry, Richard Scott and Adonis Jordan -- played on the 1991 KU team that reached college basketball's promised land.
Richey vividly remembers KU's first-round game against Carolina. It wasn't pretty. KU hit 40.9 percent of its shots; Carolina 38.4. Part of the reason is the two teams run the same offenses and defenses.
"They pretty much played exactly the same way as we did. It was just like practice. We were cheating on their plays; they were cheating on ours," Richey said. "It was funny. Whoever ran their freelance offense better was going to win the game."
Richey said the same may hold true this year.
"The freelance gives you a little more leeway," he said. "You can't cheat as much. When you set screens, they don't know where you'll be cutting.
"Coach Smith (Dean, North Carolina) will have them prepared as well as they can be. The bottom line is we've got to get out and play hard. We can't change what we do just because it's North Carolina."
RICHEY SAID in a way he would prefer playing Cincinnati, a team that fell to the Tar Heels in overtime in the East Regional finals Saturday.
"We might be more comfortable playing somebody different, somebody that doesn't know our plays as well. But we're in the Final Four. All the teams are great teams. It doesn't matter who you play."
Richey likes the makeup of Carolina's team. Center Eric Montross, a 7-0, 270-pounder is the team's force in the middle. He averages a team-leading 15.6 points and 7.8 rebounds.
"Eric Montross, everybody talks about him," said Richey. "They've got three or four seven-footers. Greg Ostertag is gonna have to play a lot. I think he'll play well."
Seven-footers Kevin Salvadori and Matt Wenstrom have played in 36 and 31 games respectively, but average just 4.5 and 2.7 points a game.
Another seven-footer, Zerge Zwikker is a red-shirt.
"They've got a deep bench like we do," noted Richey. "They throw a lot at you."
FORWARDS GEORGE Lynch and Brian Reese average 14.8 and 11.6 tallies respectively. Guards Donald Williams and Derrick Phelps 13.7 and 8.3 respectively.
Carolina has been installed as a 4 1/2-point favorite.
"We've been underdogs the whole tournament," Richey said. "ESPN is always talking about who we're playing and how we're gonna be upset. It does give us a little ammunition."
So does the fact there's no assurance Richey will return to another Final Four.
"We're playing it like it's our last game of the year," Richey said. "You've got a great Final Four with the three winningest programs in college basketball in North Carolina, Kentucky and Kansas. It's filled with tradition. And Michigan is outstanding."