Some fans in the student section started chanting, "We want Tar Heels, we want Tar Heels," in the waning moments of Kansas University's 105-66 rout of UNC Greensboro on Friday night at Allen Fieldhouse.
The taunting didn't last long; KU coach Roy Williams politely asked the fans under the north goal to quiet down.
"I said, 'There's no need for that. Let's enjoy tonight,'" Williams said after the victory, which set up a Preseason NIT semifinal battle between KU and North Carolina at 8:30 p.m. CST Wednesday in New York.
"They are going to show up. A lot of times you wish for things you later wish you hadn't wished for. I want to enjoy tonight, enjoy the journey, see what happens when we get there."
Williams said he was not looking forward to going up against his former KU assistant, Matt Doherty, who now is head coach at North Carolina, Williams' alma mater.
"A few years ago in the Preseason NIT, we played Florida State when coach Robinson (Steve, KU assistant) was head coach there," Williams said of that KU victory over the Seminoles. "It's not pleasant for me. It will not be pleasant answering all the questions. I'm going to try to focus on the game, and I think Matt will do the same thing. I wanted this team to go to New York. We've got to play them. It's on the schedule whether I like it or not. If I had my choice, I'd choose not to play them until Final Four time. I'd be excited playing anybody at that point."
Williams has a policy not to play his former assistant coaches. He makes an exception when former assistants like TCU's Neil Dougherty want to play.
"He said it's good for his program at this time," Williams said, noting he's setting up a series with the Horned Frogs.¢
Pre-game talk: Williams made sure his team didn't take UNC Greensboro lightly.
"I gave 'em a little motivation. I said, 'You can play your rears off and go to New York, or stay with me for nine straight practices.' That's pretty good incentive," Williams said.
Had KU lost, the Jayhawks' next game would have been Dec. 4 against Central Missouri State.¢
Rings: All of KU's players, trainers, doctors, managers and some staff members received Final Four rings after the game. The rings cost $300 apiece and were paid for by KUAC.
"It was a surprise. They'd not seen them," Williams said of his players. "They (rings) came in several weeks ago. Some of them were not in very good shape, so we had them redone. The company agreed they were not done as well as they wanted them to be."
What was wrong with the first batch?
"They were pretty shabbily, shoddily done, if that's a word :quot; pretty sorry," Williams said. "The company agreed they weren't the quality they wanted and fixed 'em. I'll probably get a letter from them now."
"I heard they were just ugly," said KU senior Kirk Hinrich, who added he loved the final product. "This is a sweet looking thing. I might wear it a couple times. I want to make sure I know where it's at."
KU senior Nick Collison admired his ring, then gave it to his mom and dad for safekeeping.
"I sent it home with my parents. I don't want to lose it and I probably wouldn't wear it much," he said.¢
Ankle is OK: Keith Langford left the court with trainer Mark Cairns for a couple of minutes in the second half after turning an ankle. Langford said the ankle was fine.¢
This, that: Jay Joseph's nine field goals in the first half marked the most by an opponent in a half since SW Missouri State's Mike Wallace hit for nine on Dec. 30, 2000. : Hinrich had a career-best 10 field goals. His previous high was nine, set three times. : KU had just two turnovers the first half, believed to be low-water mark in a half in the Roy Williams era. KU had nine bobbles the second half.¢
Wilkes in the house: KU signee Omar Wilkes, a 6-foot-4 guard from Los Angeles, attended and wore a No. 10 Kirk Hinrich jersey, sitting right behind the KU bench.