Chicago When Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon in its more than 4 billion year history, millions of people worldwide knew that they'd been witnesses to one of humankind's greatest achievements.
Dan Chandler doesn't expect Niagara to make such a statement tonight, when the Purple Eagles take the floor against top-seeded Kansas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
"What is it, 88-0?" Chandler asked with a rhetorical flair Thursday, during KU's low-key practice at United Center. "Someday it's going to happen, but not this year."
Since the tournament field expanded to 64 teams in 1985, never once has a team seeded No. 16 managed to topple a No. 1 seed. With top seeds North Carolina and Ohio State both winning Thursday, the survival streak now has stretched to 90.
2006-07 March 15 KU NCAA prev
- Bill Self meets with the media Friday before his team had a quick shootaround
- Brandon Rush talks about Friday's game with Niagara before practice
- Darnell Jackson speaks with the media while relaxing before Friday's practice in the United Center
- Julian Wright speaks with the media before practicing for Friday's game in his home town
- Mario Chalmers talks about settling into being at the NCAA Tournament again
Of course, after losing in the first round during the past two tournaments - as a No. 4 seed last year and a No. 3 seed in 2005 - Kansas players are finding themselves answering plenty of questions about their prospects for notching the wrong kind of impact on hoops humanity.
"It's not up to us to make history," guard Russell Robinson said Thursday, asked about the possibility of losing three consecutive first-round games. "We control our own destiny. We've got a talented team, and we've just got to go out and do the things we need to do."
Adrian Romero, a Lawrence native who now lives and works in Chicago, brought his 3-year-old son, A.J., to Thursday's practice to see a team that he considers being on track for a national title.
"No way, not this year," said Romero, who took a few history courses during his early days at KU. "They're gearing up. The close games they've pulled out. They've got the can't-lose attitude for the first round. They know what's happened in the past, and they don't want it to happen again."
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