Chicago Tubby Smith is known as one of the true gentlemen in the game of basketball.
"He is a personal friend," KU coach Roy Williams said of Smith, Kentucky's second-year coach. "His team made a fantastic run to the national championship last year. Tubby did a great job coaching that team."
What Smith did in his first year at UK is quiet some Kentucky fans, who weren't happy with a regular season that included three home losses, including one to Louisville. By season's end, the Wildcats, 35-4, had won 13 straight games and a national title.
The success hasn't changed Smith, who brings his Wildcats to the United Center for tonight's 8:35 p.m. meeting with Kansas.
"It's been an exciting period of time, a hectic time since winning it," Smith said. "With that type of success comes a lot of notoriety, well wishers and glad hands.
"The biggest challenge is maintaining time. I've always been accessible to people, but at Kentucky, it's different. I'm not trying to put people in the stands, so I'm cutting back. It's tough for me to say no," he added, referring to speaking engagements and signing autographs. "I don't say no often, but I'm learning."
KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway will attend tonight's game. Hemenway served as chancellor of the University of Kentucky, Lexington campus, for six years before taking the KU job in 1995. He was a big UK basketball fan during his years in Bluegrass country and is a huge KU fan today.
Kansas assistant coach Matt Doherty is one of 18 candidates for the head coaching job at Iowa after Tom Davis retires at the end of the season, the Des Moines Register reports. Former KU assistant Kevin Stallings of Illinois State is also on the list of candidates, along with Colorado's Ricardo Patton, Southwest Missouri State's Steve Alford and Utah's Rick Majerus.
Tonight's first game matches No. 1-ranked UConn against Washington. UConn sophomore Khalid El-Amin, a former KU recruit, is considered one of the country's top point guards.
"Khalid is one of the best in the country," UConn coach Jim Calhoun said. "We were like a team in the desert who needed water. Khalid brought us two jugs full. He's one of the best competitors I coached, one of the best lead guards."
Here's a look at the past eight KU-UK matchups. The Wildcats lead the all-time series 17-3.
Kentucky 88, KU 71, Dec. 8, 1990, Rupp Arena: UK's Sean Woods scored 21 points as the Wildcats outscored KU 25-9 down the stretch. The game was revenge for KU's 150-95 outing the year before at Allen Fieldhouse.
KU 150, Kentucky 95, Dec. 9, 1989, Allen Fieldhouse: Terry Brown hit seven three-pointers and finished with 31. The Jayhawks set school records for points in a game and half (80).
KU 83, Kentucky 66, Dec. 14, 1985, Allen Fieldhouse: Danny Manning scored 22 points and Ron Kellogg 17 for KU. Winston Bennett had 14 for UK.
Kentucky 92, KU 89, Dec. 31, 1984, Louisville: A Manning layup brought KU within one with :07 left, but UK's Kenny Walker clinched the win with a jumper and free throw at :02. Walker had 36 points and Manning 30.
Kentucky 72, KU 60, Dec. 10, 1983, Allen Fieldhouse: Jim Master and Melvin Turpin had 28 and 25 points respectively. Calvin Thompson had 18 for KU.
Kentucky 83, KU 62, Dec. 29, 1982, Louisville: Derrick Hord led UK with 23 points. Kerry Boagni had 13 for KU.
Kentucky 77, KU 74 (OT), Dec. 12, 1981, Allen Fieldhouse: Tony Guy, who forced overtime by hitting two free throws, had 31 points. David Magley contributed 21. It's regarded as one of the best games played in Allen Fieldhouse.
Kentucky 87, KU 73, Dec. 13, 1980, Rupp: Sam Bowie scored 29 points with 16 rebounds. Tony Guy and Darnell Valentine scored 26 and 18 respectively.
-- Gary Bedore's phone number is 832-7186. His e-mail address is email@example.com.