Here’s my UW-Kansas preview from this morning.
I have made the trip from Pullman to Kansas City, and right outside my hotel window is the Municipal Auditorium - the site of the the NCAA 1953 national semifinal game when Washington lost to Kansas.
The Huskies and Jayhawks will meet again at 7 p.m. Monday in a semifinal game of the College Basketball Experience Classic — just three or four blocks from the old auditorium in the new Sprint Center. The earlier game will pair Florida and Syracuse, meaning that four of the last six national championships are represented by three of these schools.
The Huskies, of course, are the only one of the bunch without an NCAA hoops title. And last week I asked coach Lorenzo Romar if he ever thinks back to those final seconds in the 2006 Sweet 16 when the Connecticut game got away from them — when they were that close to the Elite Eight … and who knows, maybe a Final Fout and a national title.
“Yeah, I think about the Uconn game,” Romar admitted. “I’m not saying if we would have won the game we would have won a national championship. But that year we were playing very good basketball at the time, we had a great great player in Brandon Roy and we had some great senior leadership. We had many components that go into allowing you to be very good, and we would have liked to have had the opportunity. But we came up short, it didn’t work out.”
The team arrived in Missouri yesterday and went for dinner at the famous Arthur Bryant’s BBQ.
The team practiced two hours today at Penn Valley Community College, had study hall in the afternoon and attended the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Induction this evening at the Sprint Center.
(Apparently one of the highlights for the team was meeting Charles Barkley … and a number of jokes were made about the physical similarities with UW freshman Tyreese Breshers. The eam took a photo with him… Romar also spoke a lot with Dick Vitale, Nolan Richardson and a number of others.)
They also will also check out the College Basketball Experience , a tribute to college basketball for which this tournament is named. I’m hoping to do that too. Looks like a cool place.
Finally, a quick look at the tounament and the UW game:
VS. NO. 24 KANSAS (2-0)
7 p.m. Monday, Sprint Center, Kansas City, Mo.
Series: Kansas leads, 7-1, and was ranked in the Top 20 in all eight games. The schools’ first meeting was in the 1953 Final Four. UW’s lone win came in the 1974 Jayhawk Classic. The most recent meeting was a 67-57 Kansas home win in 1988.
Statistical leaders: For UW, F Jon Brockman, 20.3 ppg and 11.3 rpg; G Isaiah Thomas, 3.3 apg. For KU, G Sherron Collins, 20.5 ppg; F Morris Markieff, 10 rpg; G Brady Morningstar, 3.5 apg.
Scouting report: Kansas is off to a 2-0 start for the second consecutive season and for the fourth time in six seasons under coach Bill Self. The Jayhawks are scoring 78 points per game and allowing 50.5. They are shooting 48.7 percent from the field and holding their opponents to 26.5 percent. Kansas also is outrebounding its opponents by 11 per game. … Collins is coming off a career-high 25 points against Florida Gulf Coast. He leads the team in scoring while hitting 60 percent of his shots. The No. 2 scorer is sophomore center Cole Aldrich (12.5 ppg), who also has four blocks. Collins and freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor each have four steals through two games. … UW forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning might make his first appearance of the season after missing the first three games due to injuries from a fall in practice.
Opening game: 4:30 p.m., Syracuse vs. Florida.
Next: Losers play at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday in the CBE consolation game; winners play at 7:15 p.m. for the title. Both games at Sprint Center.