Archive for Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Who’s on your Big Dance card?

March 16, 2005


It's the talk of the town.

Everybody's filling out their men's basketball NCAA Tournament bracket, with eyes on the Final Four in St. Louis.

The Journal-World decided to check in with some local notables to get their thoughts on this year's tournament, which began Tuesday with the play-in game between Alabama A&M; and Oakland.

Robert Hemenway

Kansas University chancellor

Final Four picks: Kansas, Illinois, Duke, Washington

Keys for KU: "I think if KU continues to play the way it has all year, we'll be just fine in the tournament. Our four seniors will show the freshmen what it's like to be in a Final Four."

Quote on March Madness: "March Madness is a reflection of the social capital in this country that we build up for a university. People commit themselves to a university and what it stands for. In the end, success in basketball reflects the success of the university in general."

Bud Stallworth

former KU basketball standout

Final Four picks: Kansas, Louisville, Oklahoma State, Syracuse

Keys for KU: "I believe Keith Langford has to play very well. The freshmen have to contribute; our perimeter players will be a key on the defensive and offensive end of the floor; Wayne (Simien) will have to dominate his position; and defensive rebounds are very important."

Quote on March Madness: "I am a Jayhawk fan. With that said, being at the games and experiencing the emotion of tournament play with the 'Hawks involved is, for me, the best part of any sporting event. I honestly believe that if we play our game and execute at a high level on both ends of the court, we really do have an opportunity to win a national championship. There is not a team in the field that is unbeatable. We will just have to handle our business and see what happens. Rock Chalk Jayhawk, win KU!"

Judy Billings

director, Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau

Final Four: Oklahoma State, Washington, Kansas, Duke

Keys for KU: "A repeat of 1988 with Danny Manning on the bench and Wayne Simien taking Danny's role in the Cinderella team. There will obviously be some showdowns in this scenario! Key to winning it all is desire of the team with Wayne's leadership, with Manning's expertise and guidance. Coach Self and this team have the talent to pull it off."

Quote on March Madness: "March Madness brings all Jayhawks (and wannabes) home to roost!"

Marci Francisco

state senator

Final Four picks: Duke, Gonzaga, Illinois, Kansas

Keys for KU: "I think KU's keys to winning will be no more injuries and strong guard play on both the offensive and defensive ends. I'm counting on KU to make it to the Final Four and would particularly welcome the opportunity to present a resolution on the Senate floor honoring the Jayhawks as the national champions."

Quote on March Madness: "I'm sorry to be spending March in Topeka. I'm missing a lot of the excitement in Lawrence, and we have our own March Madness going on in the Legislature. Those of us who are trying to find funding for education feel a bit like we've been placed in the Syracuse bracket."

Sue Hack

city commissioner

Final Four picks: Illinois, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Kentucky

Keys for KU: "Stay healthy and play aggressively."

Quote on March Madness: "It's a fantastic time of the year. I love college basketball, but I don't want it to end. Then all we have is baseball, and we'll have to count the days till football starts."

Gene Meyer

Lawrence Memorial Hospital CEO

Final Four picks: Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Syracuse

Keys for KU: "Having Wayne (Simien) continue his hot play as the national player of the year, and J.R. (Giddens) staying hot. Another key -- and I can't believe I am saying this -- is keeping the team out of our hospital until mid-April. But of course we'll be here if they need us."

Quote on March Madness: "My absolute favorite part is the first round. The upsets, the intensity and the stories that come out of this weekend for me is the story line. This year's tournament highlight would be for KU and North Carolina to meet and have it live up to our expectations. How we would all try to get to Syracuse is beyond me, but I would try. Truly I hope Roy (Williams) can win it all and regrettably it will not be with KU."

Randy Weseman

Lawrence superintendent of schools

Final Four picks: Duke, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Gonzaga

Keys for KU: "Free throws -- make them. Stay out of foul trouble. The big guy must be at the peak of his game; Simien must produce."

Quote on March Madness: "Intense, compact competition. Great intensity over a short period of time."

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