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Archive for Monday, March 31, 2008

Final(ly) Four

What a relief: Self gets first bid

Kansas center Cole Aldrich hugs Sherron Collins as Mario Chalmers (15) hoists his fists as the buzzer sounds, signaling the Jayhawks' 59-57 victory over Davidson. Aldrich and Chalmers will face each other tonight in an NBA exhibition game at the Sprint Center.

Kansas center Cole Aldrich hugs Sherron Collins as Mario Chalmers (15) hoists his fists as the buzzer sounds, signaling the Jayhawks' 59-57 victory over Davidson. Aldrich and Chalmers will face each other tonight in an NBA exhibition game at the Sprint Center.

March 31, 2008

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2008 NCAA Tournament

2008 NCAA Tournament

Get your March Madness fix at KUSports.com.

— Wearing his regional championship hat, jubilant Bill Self searched for, and found, his wife, Cindy, Sunday night on a crowded Ford Field basketball court.

The "best coach never to make the Final Four" planted a big kiss and bear hug on his spouse, as well as his children, Lauren and Tyler, moments after directing No. 1-seeded Kansas University to a 59-57 victory over No. 10 seed Davidson.

It was a huge victory that gave Self his elusive Final Four and his school's first trip to the big show since 2003.

"I can see in their eyes how excited they are," Self, Kansas University's fifth-year coach, said proudly.

"I feel great for the kids, our program, our school and fans : I am a little relieved, though," added Self, who also was embraced by his athletic director, Lew Perkins, who stated over and over, "I'm happy for you, Bill, really happy for you."

Relief was a natural emotion for Self, who had to sweat out a game in which his Jayhawks hit just 44.2 percent of their shots, committed 14 turnovers to Davidson's nine and trailed by four points (51-47) with just 8:55 left.

He couldn't breathe a final sigh until after the final possession - 16.1 seconds of agony, in which Davidson and sophomore phenom Stephen Curry (25 points, 9-of-25 shooting, four of 16 threes) had a chance to throw in a last-second three-point shot that would have kept a Final Four off Self's otherwise impeccable resume.

"We told the guys not to let them shoot a three," Self said, "and if they foul (on a two), make it a good one, don't let them get it up to the basket."

Curry - who had been deemed by many the "face of the NCAA Tournament" - brought the ball up court while being well guarded by Brandon Rush.

Rush slipped 20 feet from the basket with about 10 seconds left, but received immediate help from Mario Chalmers.

A confused Curry dished to Jason Richards, whose 25-footer over Chalmers and Sherron Collins was long enough, but off to the side. The final horn sounded just after the miss.

"Trust me, I was on both knees," Self said of his position in front of the bench when Richards, who misfired on four three-point attempts Sunday, bricked the one that counted the most.

Self didn't say whether he was praying, but did admit, "I think they were on our side tonight," referring jokingly to the basketball gods.

After the miss : "I just wanted to make sure that I hurry up and shake hands and make sure the officials left the court so they wouldn't put more time back on the clock," cracked Self, who could feel a massive monkey hopping off his back. "I thought it was 1,200 pounds - 800 may have been a little light."

He wasn't the only person concerned when Richards (seven points, 3-of-9 shooting with nine assists) released.

"He got the shot off. I thought I was watching a scary movie," senior Darnell Jackson said.

Collins and Chalmers, closest to the shot-launcher, offered their takes:

"I had a feeling in my heart it wasn't going in," Chalmers said, "because the way he shot it. It looked like he was leaning to the left a little bit. The shot kind of faded to the left. When I turned back, I saw it had hit the backboard. I was relieved."

"I was about two feet from him when he shot it. I looked at the clock, and there was no time left. I said, 'Final Four, finally,''' Collins said. "There was a sigh of relief."

And utter joy afterward. The Jayhawks received their title hats and T-shirts, clipped the nets and bolted for the locker room, where Self was last to arrive.

"Coach Self walked in, and I dumped my water bottle on him," senior Darnell Jackson said. "Shady (Darrell Arthur), Chase (Buford) and (Jeremy) Case were in the back and ran up and dumped an ice chest full of water on him.

"Coach was so happy, he teared up like a little baby," Jackson added.

Self didn't mind the shower.

"The guys thought they were at the Orange Bowl," Self quipped. "Coach Mangino (Mark, KU football) didn't get it after we won, so they dumped it on me. It felt good, though."

All the Jayhawks were happy after this one, from Russell Robinson, who didn't score, to Chalmers and Sasha Kaun, who led the way with 13 points apiece on a day points were tough to come by.

Everybody seemed most happy for Self, who finally gets to experience a Final Four. The Jayhawks will meet former KU coach Roy Williams' North Carolina Tar Heels in the second of two games Saturday in San Antonio. KU will play 40 minutes after a 5:07 contest between Memphis and UCLA.

"Coach had been stuck in the Elite Eight for the last few years. This feels good to make that push into the Final Four for him," said Rush, who said he had a "terrible" offensive day with 12 points off 4-of-14 shooting.

"It meant so much to get it for him," noted Kaun, who tried to make sure his teammates were fired up by approaching them one by one on the bus ride to the game and in the locker room.

"I'm really happy for coach, happy for our school."

Self said he was most happy not for himself.

"My family," he said. "My wife lives and dies, that's probably not the best way to put it, not with each game, but each possession. To see the relief on her face, to know how bad she wants it, it means a lot."

And to the fans?

"See you on the Riverwalk!" he beamed after grabbing the microphone and giving a short speech to those crimson-and-blue-clad spectators who remained to cheer during the awards ceremony.

Go figure

25

Points by Davidson standout Stephen Curry

25

Field goals hoisted by Curry (he hit 9 of them)

6

Biggest lead by either team (KU, 43-37, with 12:11 left)

4:56

Time left when KU hit its final field goal

41.7

Davidson's free-throw shooting percentage (5 for 12)

57.1

Kansas' free-throw shooting percentage (8 for 14)

13

Final Four berths for Kansas University

0

Previous times all four No. 1 seeds reached the Final Four

Comments

bretherite 6 years, 4 months ago

Should I mention that is not Bill Self in the picture

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motomom 6 years, 4 months ago

roy's gonna be singin' those tarheel blues.......................... whooooooo hooooooooooo! rock chalk!

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simplykristib 6 years, 4 months ago

b and p, You must not be Jayhawks fans, eh? Self said that the game was bad in the postgame presser. It was not KU's best game by any stretch of the imagination. We got the W and that was the important thing. I can't wait for the Jayhawks to play Roy and his boys on Saturday. I want more than anything for the Jayhawks to make Roy and his boys cry!

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nobody1793 6 years, 4 months ago

Roy Shmoy. That's ancient history. The way a lot of KU fans act its like they got stood up for prom or something. Coach Self has been here five years, and everyone's still whining about Roy? Let's show our full support to coach Bill so he doesn't even get tempted to leave!

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acg 6 years, 4 months ago

That was a close game but you pulled it out. Way to go hawks. What a fantastic game, too. Davidson played hard and they deserve props for such a hard fought match up.

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hawgforyou 6 years, 4 months ago

A very weak showing on the part of the number 1 ranked Jayhawks, over greatly overmatched Davidson. The picture of Bill Self on his hands and knees at game's end does not instill confidence about having to play mighty North Carolina. But if Kansas somehow wins on Saturday night, we will have the sight of Roy bursting into tears to look forward to.

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Steve Larson 6 years, 4 months ago

The way a lot of KU fans act its like they got stood up for prom or something.<

You ought to work in Chicago along side Illinois fans...you'd think Self left last week. What a bunch of whiners.

Good luck to the Jayhawks vs. UNC. Here's hoping KU shoots better. Robinson: 0 points??

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ranger73 6 years, 4 months ago

Holy crap people-they won. Davidson didn't go on at 25 game win streak and beat a tough Wisconsin team because they suck and got lucky! KU played a tough, physical team that had a great game plan. Congrats to Coach and the team for a great run so far-keep it going against UNC. BTW, the 0 points for Robinson isn't the concern, it's the 4 turnovers he had.

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greyfeld 6 years, 4 months ago

I am surprised no one has mentioned how pitiful the officiating was for this game. There were at least 10 times during the game when there was an obvious foul that was not called and I won't even go into the no touch foul called on Darnell Jackson. I think that, and the fact that the KU free throw shooting was terrible in the first half, contributed to the closeness of the game.

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nobody1793 6 years, 4 months ago

"You ought to work in Chicago along side Illinois fans:you'd think Self left last week. What a bunch of whiners."

No doubt, I grew up there...it doesn't help that Webber couldn't recruit a drunk to work at a brewery.

Bear in mind too that (the dumb) half of Chicago is still hung up about 1908 Cubs.

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Take_a_letter_Maria 6 years, 4 months ago

hawg, I'll take this W regardless of how ugly it looked or how relieved Coach Self was after that last shot went wide.

I've seen other highly talented KU teams lose the game in similar situations so in my mind any W in a win (survive) and advance situation is a good one.

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moo 6 years, 4 months ago

What I find interesting is the embargo that has existed throughout the tournament so far on discussing or replaying almost any controversial call. I've never seen anything like it! Usually the commentators in college bball are so good about discussing whether or not calls were appropriate and analyzing the tape. These guys seem to have been paid not to say anything of the slightest use to viewers! It's pretty disappointing.

The Jayhawks played good defense (Curry under 30!), pretty bad offense, and definitely were slow. The horrible officiating certainly didn't help, but as everyone else has said, it wouldn't have hurt us that much if we weren't dragging anyway.

I have no problem with the "jilted wife" rhetoric against Roy. It's appropriate: he promised not to leave and then did. Pretty low, but nothing a good Final Four KU vicory won't heal quickly. Then maybe someday when he's retired he can come back and visit the fieldhouse and we can be friends again. ; )

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beawolf 6 years, 4 months ago

I don't expect KU to shoot as bad from the field or the line vs UNC. KU had numerous opportunities to put the game away early. Not their best effort, but as stated earlier, a W is a W and on to next round.

BTW if Roy hadn't left, Self would not be here. And don't forget he left Illinois in the lurch for more money.

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moo 6 years, 4 months ago

Ya, I should have said, we're better off. Of course, just like the jilted girlfriend, that doesn't mean we can't still be ticked with the ex. : )

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Take_a_letter_Maria 6 years, 4 months ago

beawolf (Anonymous) says:

BTW if Roy hadn't left, Self would not be here. And don't forget he left Illinois in the lurch for more money.

I don't consider leaving Bruce Webber and Illinois with the players that he did, leaving Illinois in a lurch. Money did come into play, but it was certainly more about the prestige of the programs.

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stuckinthemiddle 6 years, 4 months ago

logicsound04 Great clip... it also shows that horrible out-of-bounds call with the guy going over Rush's back and slapping the ball out...

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bretherite 6 years, 4 months ago

I bleed Crimson and Blue. My comment was on the fact that earlier this AM the caption and the picture didn't match. The orginal caption said it was Bill Self wearing a Division Champioinship hat while searching for his wife in the crowd. So that was what I was referring to. I am stuck in an area where basketball is no big deal and DH and I are having a hard time not getting in the car to drive to Lawrence for next weekend. I want to celebrate with the 'Hawks just like everyone else.

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Confrontation 6 years, 4 months ago

Amazing job by the Jayhawks. Even better since the K-Suck team is long gone.

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justthefacts 6 years, 4 months ago

If the Hawks play like they did against Davidson, next week, UNC and Roy are going to win big time. So get ready for it! I hope it doesn't happen - there would be great joy in beating them = for a lot of reasons = but the bottom line is that if Davidson had been UNC, there would have been no Hawks win! The Hawks played badly in Sunday's game against Davidson = it was UGLY~!

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tailg8prty 6 years, 4 months ago

LOGICSOUND04...I couldn't agree more. I have already posted messages on message boards at the charlotte paper and unc message boards that I personally don't hate Roy. I love the guy. He has a right to go home. I also pointed out that it was classless for Dean to go after Roy during our Final Four run. Where was Dean's love for his alma mater? Doherty could've easily and forcefully resigned on the Tuesday after the nat'l championship game. Instead the only way they could make headlines and be a part of the final four was to force Doherty out that week. I totally agree Dean is the one KU fans should disown. Not Roy.

I still have a hard time rooting against UNC. I always felt a brotherhood with that program but they really messed up with the way they handled things back in '03. Paybacks are a B!tch though. Sorry Tarheels.

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tonym9428 6 years, 4 months ago

to those who still think Roy's a traitor...get over it...he gave KS 15 solid years of service....not to mention, anyone, including those criticizing him, would have left if in the same shoes...

GO TAR HEELS

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Stebbins 6 years, 4 months ago

I'm glad everyone has picked up on the egregious officiating. Curry is amazing, and even more so when he gets a third or fourth step. Chalmers will knock down any three, provided he's not leveled upon release. He can also chase down loose balls, if he's not pushed to the ground by the guy he just stole it from. Rush's hands goes straight up for a rebound, and somehow he slaps it out of bounds?

But they won. My nerves still haven't recovered, but they won.

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Steve Larson 6 years, 4 months ago

BTW, the 0 points for Robinson isn't the concern, it's the 4 turnovers he had.<

Word.

No doubt, I grew up there:it doesn't help that Webber couldn't recruit a drunk to work at a brewery.<

Heh.

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Catbacker 6 years, 4 months ago

Can't believe KU fans, of all people, are complaining about officiating. KU got several "no-calls" too...or do you really think the best pure shooter in the country just threw up an airball from 12 feet away, and completely missed the rim on another shot. Curry had Rush in the air, behind the arc with 5 seconds left...and passed the ball instead of drawing the contact. Do you suppose the kid felt like he probably wouldn't get the call? That being said...couldn't believe how tight KU played. The game will be over by halftime if they are that tight against UNC. I don't expect that to happen, but I might be a touch nervous if I were a KU fan.

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jonas 6 years, 4 months ago

Hahaha! "Catbacker!" Sounds like an unbiased source to me.

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Take_a_letter_Maria 6 years, 4 months ago

justthefacts (Anonymous) says:

If the Hawks play like they did against Davidson, next week, UNC and Roy are going to win big time. So get ready for it! I hope it doesn't happen - there would be great joy in beating them = for a lot of reasons = but the bottom line is that if Davidson had been UNC, there would have been no Hawks win! The Hawks played badly in Sunday's game against Davidson = it was UGLY~!

Catbacker (Anonymous) says:

Can't believe KU fans... That being said:couldn't believe how tight KU played. The game will be over by halftime if they are that tight against UNC. I don't expect that to happen, but I might be a touch nervous if I were a KU fan.

I think that now the monkey is off their back. There was so much being played up about Bill Self never making it past the Elite Eight, and then combined with no FF with all of the #1 teams and you are the fourth #1 to play those guys had a ton of pressure on them. Now that they've done that, UNC is the favorite (though slight) so they can play a little more relaxed.

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janeyb 6 years, 4 months ago

He's just mourning Beasley and the Miracles. No, wrong, it was Beasley, Walker and the Miracles.

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mom_of_three 6 years, 4 months ago

Yes, there were no calls on both sides called by the refs, but i think the plays which most irritate KU fans was the missed out of bounds calls. There were at least two where Davidson hit the ball last, and yet, Davidson got the ball on the inbounds play. It accounted for about 7 of Davidson's points. No excuses for those kinds of calls

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Catbacker 6 years, 4 months ago

I think the fact that KU played poorly (on offense) and was coached poorly, is what is bothering KU fans...to the point where they are saying officiating accounted for the closeness of the game. I expect them to look much better against UNC...if not, look out because you really won't like the officiating in a game where KU isn't the "big program."

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jonas 6 years, 4 months ago

Coached decently, played awfully, at least on offense. We adjusted well midgame, getting our big guys involved and scoring, where they were shut out totally early on. I just hope that this was their bad game, and they come out on fire against UNC. Either way, they made it to the Final Four, so I personally am satisfied with this team and our season, whether we win or not. (As long as UNC doesn't blow us out!)

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BigAl 6 years, 4 months ago

Just to add a little fuel. North Carolina played Davidson this season and won by only 4 points AND the Davidson people are saying that Curry was hurt for that game. Whatever that is worth.......

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wstrnksgirl 6 years, 4 months ago

I can't hate Roy for leaving, because his reasons to leave were based a lot on his family; but here he could leave his own legacy. At North Carolina, he'll always be in Dean Smith's shadow.

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dminear60 6 years, 4 months ago

logicsound04: I agree with your comments about Roy and Dean Smith. However, no matter how much I put it behind me, I can NEVER root for UNC. On the other hand, had Roy not left, we would not have Bill Self. I think we should stop bemoaning Roy and be thankful for Self.

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Confrontation 6 years, 4 months ago

Catbacker would know about crappy coaching and playing. Must suck to love K-Suck so much.

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Catbacker 6 years, 4 months ago

That crappy K-State team went 1-1 against Bill's best team...let me guess...officiating?

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beawolf 6 years, 4 months ago

Curry still had 24 in the loss to UNC. Davidson should have been a 5 or 6 seed. With the monkey off their backs and a week to prepare, I think KU will play a lot looser. I think Sasha will have a another good game against UNC's bigs.

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greyfeld 6 years, 4 months ago

My original comment that started the talk about the pitiful officiating was not only regarding fouls committed by Davidson, but by both teams. Obviously, I was more concerned about the times KU players were fouled and nothing was called, but I think the officials just did a terrible job in the game all around.

A lot of people here on this board think KU played poorly against Davidson, but don't want to give Davidson the credit they deserve. If you go back to Davidson's early season contest at North Carolina, they only lost 72-68 in the Dean Dome. Davidson actually outscored North Carolina in the second half and held their stars to very low point totals. Given the level of competition that Davidson played early and that they hadn't lost since Dec. 21 to North Carolina State, I'd say KU was lucky to escape. I think Davidson had a lot to do with what KU fans may think was a mediocre performance.

The main thing is KU advanced, Davidson didn't. Thanks Sasha for the great effort!

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tonym9428 6 years, 4 months ago

my prediction:

UNC - 120 KU - 40

I had a vision this would happen

GO TAR HEELS

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beawolf 6 years, 4 months ago

greyfeld,

I don't think anyone is dissing Davidson, but that was not KU at it's best, especially on offense. They missed a lot of good shots, rebounded poorly on the defensive glass and missed early FT's that would have built up a nice cushion.

Chalmers, Rush, Robinson and Collins were a combined 10-36. Add 8 baskets to get to 50% (season Avg) and this game is not even close.

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jonas 6 years, 4 months ago

"jesus,who is more annoying, Catbacker or his arch rival Confrontation?"I think Jesus is going to sit this question out. Second the Davidson remark. It's a curse of ours that we think the only team on the court that should or will have an impact on the game is our own. Davidson is clearly a good team, Curry is clearly a ridiculously talented star, who I hope to see next year for some seasoning before he jumps into the NBA, though I'd understand why he wouldn't.

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newmexhawk 6 years, 4 months ago

Rock Chalk Jayhawk! Congratulations Coach Self and all the team. We're so proud.Why can't people just let Roy go and be happy for him? Has nobody ever changed jobs before? We'd hate it if our former coworkers couldn't wait to see us cry. I want us to win, but see no point in comments about being glad to see Roy cry. He'll end up hating KU if we keep being so unpleasant.

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Bone777 6 years, 4 months ago

The 'miracle' was that they could still win with only two good players. Beasley is a total stud. To win, against KU, was a huge win, especially considering they only have an AAU coach. We did the K-State fans a favor losing at their place this year. After they ran out of fingers and toes they couldn't keep track of how many loses 'the Streak' consisted of. Next year, start with your thumbs...

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