Archive for Monday, March 13, 2006

Jayhawk faithful wary of Kansas’ first-round foe

March 13, 2006


When the names Kansas University and Bradley University flashed on the television screen Sunday announcing the pairing for the NCAA Tournament first-round game Friday in Auburn Hills, Mich., a few muted cheers filled Henry T's Bar & Grill, 3520 W. Sixth St.

The reaction didn't compare to what erupted an hour earlier from the packed bar after KU freshman Julian Wright's dunk put an exclamation point on the Jayhawks' Big 12 Conference tournament title.

Chad Westhoff, a 1998 KU graduate, said he would think cautiously about the first-round opponent from Peoria, Ill., and the Missouri Valley Conference.

"I wasn't worried about Bucknell last year, so, yeah, I am (worried)," he said of the Jayhawks' 2005 first-round loss.

He said he didn't know much about the Braves, and he still predicted two tournament victories for the Jayhawks.

"I know that everyone is all hot about the Missouri Valley Conference. I don't know where that came from," Westhoff said.

Lawrence resident Daniel Bahnmayer was not worried about another "Bucknell bummer," although the two schools possibly could meet for a rematch in the tournament's Round of 16.

"No, this team actually buys into (KU coach Bill) Self's system," he said.

In North Lawrence at Johnny's Tavern, 401 N. Second St., Cale Rigney, of Lawrence, said he thought KU deserved the draw. He characterized the Jayhawks as a team that played well on the road. Their bracket could play to their advantage, he said.

"I think so. We're on fire right now. I think we'll roll through it," he said of the Oakland Regional that includes No. 1 seed Memphis.

Others were less satisfied with the Jayhawks as the region's fourth seed.

"If Iowa got a three seed, we deserve a three seed," said KU alumna Michelle Cray, of Lawrence.

Earlier during the Jayhawks' 80-66 victory over Texas in Dallas, KU sophomores John Volk, of Topeka, and Shawn Shroyer, of Mound City, watched the game at Henry T's. They said as far as they knew their power was still out from the morning thunderstorm that hit Lawrence.

"I think KU nation should be excited, but not hopefully unrealistically," Shroyer said.


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