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Archive for Wednesday, March 18, 1998

SUCCESSFUL SEASONS

March 18, 1998

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Win or lose, Jayhawk fans can be proud of their basketball teams.

Kansas University fans can be doubly proud of their Jayhawk basketball program this year.

Despite a second-round loss, the KU men's team represented the university well in the NCAA Tournament, and the KU women's team will continue to carry the Jayhawk banner into the Round of 16 next weekend.

The KU women are the only remaining Big 12 basketball team in either NCAA field. Seeded No. 5 in the West Region, they advanced to the Sweet 16 by beating 12th seed Tulane and the No. 4 seed Iowa. They will face Arkansas in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday.

The Jayhawk men are back in Lawrence after a second-round loss to Rhode Island, but by any measure, their 35-4 season was a rousing success. Kansas fans celebrated the 100th anniversary of the men's basketball program this year with a team that included two All Americans and a second consecutive Big 12 championship.

Regardless of win-loss records, the Kansas basketball program is something to cheer about every year because of the quality of its players and coaches. Coach Marian Washington, who marked her 25th year at KU this year, has run a program that has drawn an increasing amount of fan interest and support.

There is no question about the high regard Roy Williams has for his players and vice versa. At a time when college basketball is being increasingly scarred by improper recruiting and other violations, KU runs a class program. Players have a good relationship with their coaches and each other. They enjoy their college experience. And they graduate.

In the past 10 years, Williams has recorded the best win-loss record of any major college coach. A national championship eventually will come to Roy Williams, but it pales by comparison to the difference he makes in the lives of his players every year.

Congratulations to both teams for their successful and enjoyable seasons, and good luck to the Jayhawk women as they pursue an appearance at the Final Four tournament in Kansas City.

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