ESPN's College GameDay crew rolls into Lawrence for the third time in four years today - the cast of Jay Bilas, Hubert Davis, Rece Davis and Digger Phelps preparing for Saturday's pair of shows (10-11 a.m. and 7-8 p.m.) in Allen Fieldhouse.
"It's a 12-hour infomercial for your school," KU coach Bill Self said, ready to extend hospitality to the cable network's on-air personalities, including Erin Andrews, Dan Shulman and Dick Vitale, who will work Saturday's Kansas-Kansas State game, set for an 8 p.m. tipoff.
"It's a great exposure for your school, but it's also a very long day," Self added. "The more our players can keep a normal routine and the K-State players can keep a normal routine will probably bode well for performance that night because you can get too hyped up. It's kind of like the NCAA Tournament. You play the 9 o'clock game, and all you want to do is watch games all day long. Not sure that's the best thing you can do. So we're going to try to keep a normal routine."
Senior Sasha Kaun is looking forward to the experience.
"This place is going to be unbelievable, especially with GameDay," Kaun said. "I just can't wait to see what happens. It's definitely going to be a great atmosphere."
KU is 1-1 with GameDay in town. The Jayhawks clubbed Texas, 90-65, on Jan. 29, 2005, then lost to Texas A&M, 69-66, last season.
No gimmicks: Michael Beasley and Bill Walker had 25 and 22 points respectively in KSU's 84-75 victory over KU on Jan. 30 in Bramlage Coliseum.
Self was asked if the Jayhawks might simply try to do what has helped them to an 18-0 home record this year rather than simply try to slow the Wildcat dynamic duo.
"That's what we're always trying to do, just be the best team we can be and (do) what our strengths are. I'm not saying we won't do (things) a little bit differently, but we're not going to change who we are in two days," the coach said.
Jackson, Stewart return: KU senior Darnell Jackson had a busy Thursday. He flew to Oklahoma City in the morning for his cousin's funeral, then returned to Lawrence for a 6 p.m. practice. Travel delays had him about 15 minutes late for the workout.
Rodrick Stewart, who spent three days in Seattle for his brother's funeral, was back on campus for class Thursday and practiced Thursday night as well.
Kaun, who hurt his back on Tuesday lifting weights, said his back was feeling better Thursday. Shrugging off back pain, he had eight points, three blocks and two rebounds in 16 productive minutes in Wednesday's 75-64 victory at Iowa State.
Colorful quote: Beasley was asked Thursday about his predicting a sweep over KU this season.
"I mean what I say. I say what I mean," he told the Salina Journal.
Before the first KU-KSU game, he said, "We're gonna beat KU at home. We're gonna beat 'em at their house. We're gonna beat 'em in Africa. Wherever we play we're gonna beat 'em."
He was asked where he'd like to play KU besides Africa.
"I'd probably take it to Europe or Australia. I like kangaroos."