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On the road in San Antonio: Signs, signs, everywhere signs
Last week, we gave you a look at the area around the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla., and demonstrated how all the signs seemed to point to the KU men's basketball team rolling through the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
After a slow start against Boston in the opener, KU pretty much did that, knocking of BU by 19 and Illinois by 14.
Those victories earned the Jayhawks a trip to San Antonio, site of the 2008 Final Four, where KU won a national championship. Two college basketball champions have been crowned since then, but there are still plenty of "signs" here in San Antonio that point to the Jayhawks surviving the 10, 11 and 12 seeds this week and making another appearance at the Final Four, next week in Houston.
As was the case in Tulsa, some of these might be considered a stretch. But you can't deny their connection to Kansas basketball and, in most cases, you can't deny that seeing such signs up and down the RiverWalk bodes well for KU.
First, let's start with some of the role players, who might be called upon to make a big shot or key defensive stop this weekend. Mario Little's always good for the former, and the boats that haul the tourists up and down the San Antonio River seem to like him.
Travis Releford seems to be good for the latter and, down here, Travis seems to be loved as much as Brady was in Tulsa. His name is everywhere, including in some conveniently placed locations that seem to offer a glimpse into KU's near future.
Of course, what's a team without a good coach? KU fans have been lucky enough to have one of the best in the business guiding their team for the last eight years and there's a Barbecue joint near the RiverWalk that bears his name.
On Houston Street — yep, Houston again — a portion of the sidewalk is paved with hundreds of bricks that have different names carved into them. In addition to names common to KU fans such as Pritchard, Scooter (both on the national title team in 1988) and Richey, we found this gem, which could be a predictor for a big weekend ahead for KU senior Tyrel Reed.
The walk down Houston Street led us to the Alamo, where Davy Crockett and his men gave their lives to defend their beloved Texas 175 years ago this month.
Because so many brave men fought here and have been subsequently honored at the site, we found quite a few names of current KU players. Robinson, Taylor and Joshua (Selby) all were honored on the monuments around the Alamo. A couple of them as many as three or four times.
Speaking of Tyshawn, this whole city is actually named for the high school he attended back in New Jersey, albeit the Spanish version. The famed St. Anthony (High), where Taylor played for legendary coach Bob Hurley, was enshrined on a plaque near the Alamo honoring what went down there on March 6, 1836.
Speaking of plaques, this one was a little more difficult to de-code, but I got it. If you look closely at the word in the center of the third line from the bottom, you'll notice it reads "Barracks." As in Barack's pick to win the national title. I don't know why they threw in that extra R in his first name or why they left the last name off altogether. But I do know that President Obama, who currently leads our bracket contest, picked the Jayhawks to win it all this year. Apparently, San Antonio is well aware of that, too.
By this point in the day, I was starting to wonder why we hadn't seen any signs about the Morris twins. Was that in itself a bad sign? I mean, Morris is a common enough name, and with the thousands of last names they have scattered across this city, you'd think it would pop up somewhere. If not Morris, then definitely a Marcus. But there was nothing. Until, a man strolled out of the elevator at the Grand Hyatt wearing this T-Shirt.
With the bulk of KU's roster accounted for, including the head coach, there were only a couple more signs that made sense. The first, another Spanish sign, indicates what could be ahead for the people of Lawrence.
If there's a party in store, there has to be another one of these coming. This small-scale version still hangs at Rita's on the RiverWalk.