St. Louis Stepping into the Edward Jones Dome for the Jayhawks' one-hour practice Wednesday, it wasn't hard for Kansas fans to image the place was decorated to please their color palates.
The dome's 42,000 seats are a mixture of crimson and blue.
"Those are pretty cool colors," said Scott Harding, a student at Washburn University in Topeka.
Another physical oddity: No center-hanging scoreboard.
Harding and his traveling companion, Amie Carter, attended the practice to secure a few autographs they need for two collector basketballs. One lacked Drew Gooden and Jeff Carey, while another was missing Nick Collison, Kirk Hinrich and Roy Williams.
"It's a great hobby," Harding said. "We can't be a player, but we can get close to it all by doing this."
Joan and Bill Bradford of Wamego Â she grew up in Oskaloosa, he in McLouth Â sat together at the practice recalling the beginning of their love affair.
"Our first date was to see Oklahoma State in 1946," Joan said.
Of course, Bill was already a veteran KU basketball watcher. He attended his first Jayhawk game in 1930 when coach Phog Allen was on the sideline.
"Basketball has really changed," said Bill, a KU graduate who for 25 years helped organize an annual watermelon feed for KU football players. "Basketball is so much faster. They shoot a higher percentage. They're better athletically and wear sloppier britches."
Mary Grant and Kate Kreitner, who live in Florissant, Mo., won't be at today's NCAA Tournament game between Kansas and Holy Cross.
But they couldn't resist the opportunity to observe a KU practice that was free and open to the public.
"I went to high school with Ryan Robertson," said Grant, who teaches at a Catholic school in St. Charles.
Robertson, who played guard for KU from 1995 to 1999, was a junior at St. Charles West High School when Grant was a senior.
"I taught him all he knows about the jump shot," she said.
Jason Peterson, a former KU student living in Springfield, Mo., decided last week to permanently display his Jayhawk spirit.
He had an artist apply a rendition of the Fighting Jayhawk used from 1941 to 1946 on his right shoulder. The crimson, blue and gold tattoo was easy to see with his sleeveless shirt.
"I put up with one hour of pain for the mean Jayhawk," said Peterson, who was in St. Louis with his wife, Shauna, and 3-year-old son, Jacob.
The identity of Jacob's favorite KU player also was evident from his hair style Â sent vertical with mousse.
"I'm (Jeff) Boschee," Jacob said.
Curtis and Linda Melchior, with 5-year-old son Kyle in tow, felt obligated to buy tickets to the KU games in their hometown of St. Louis.
After all, they won free tickets to a KU-Iowa State game in February from a Lawrence bookstore.
"I said, 'If KU is assigned to the Midwest, we'll go,'" Curtis said.
Curtis admitted living in a "divided house." He's a Missouri loyalist, while Linda is die-hard KU. She's found her way to the Jayhawk side in the border war despite graduating from University of Missouri.
"She loves the Jayhawks," he said. "I severely like them."
Â Staff writer Tim Carpenter can be reached at 832-7155.