Archive for Friday, March 9, 2007

Madness tips off today for Jayhawks

March 9, 2007

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Let the March Madness begin!

The KU men's basketball team begins its march to a Big 12 Tournament Championship today against Oklahoma. Enlarge video

— Lawrence resident Janice Arneson is relaxing in the first seat of the sixth row of section 118 at the Ford Center, watching the Nebraska Cornhuskers cut their first-half deficit to 30-19 by banking in a running buzzer-beater against Oklahoma State.

Not that she's paying much attention. After all, she just spotted former Kansas University player Carl Henry and former coach Ted Owens in the crowd, among a smattering of crimson-and-blue faithful in a far-from-full arena.

This is the life.

"You can enjoy watching the games, because there's no need to be nervous," Arneson says, as Owens walks up the aisle to shake hands and say hello. "It's just basketball, basketball, basketball.

"Today, you don't need to get nervous. You just sit back and enjoy the next three games."

Oh yes, that: the next three games. KU tips off Big 12 Tournament play at 11:30 a.m. today against Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, where the Jayhawks hope to continue through Saturday's semifinals, a Sunday afternoon championship game and then hang out to watch the NCAA Selection Show and earn a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance and :

OK, enough about that.

Arneson and her sister, Eudora resident Geneva Tucker, have bigger problems. Their seats for the tournament may be great, but they found themselves sitting a row behind the Missouri Tigers.

That's right: The team had plopped into a few rows of seats, watching the action before its own game to end the Thursday session.

"They're just not as much fun to ridicule without Quin Snyder," Tucker says with a whisper, her face screened by a Big 12 program.

Adds Arneson: "We haven't developed a distaste for them yet under their new coach."

But wait a few moments, and the true blue starts to come through.

"I guess I feel sorry for them - this year," she says. "But it won't take long. I still don't like them."

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