Well, here's your summary of the 2008 NCAA Tournament as told by a ridiculously happy and grateful Jayhawk. If you're not a Jayhawk fan by now, you will be after reading and seeing everything below.
Could this have been scripted any better? The similarities to 1988 were a little too similar. The team had the swagger and never give up attitude. The balls bounced their way when they needed to, and they capitalized on every mistake their opponents made. You just knew that this was a special team and this Final Four would be like no other KU has ever been to.
Oh yeah, and the guy that walked away from KU 5 years ago after vowing he'd never leave had to face KU in the semi-finals; how about that for payback and closure all in one game?! UNC was favored to win and probably should have, but KU came out and showed old Roy that KU is better off without him and he can keep his Carolina Blue as long as he wants. The ass-kicking (and that's the only way you could describe it) was marred by about 10-12 minutes of poor basketball by KU that allowed UNC to cut it to 4, but KU pulled away with 10 minutes left and ended up pummeling UNC by 18 which in no way reflects how thoroughly UNC got beat.
Smart sweater, Roy.
Enter the final game for all the marbles. Memphis had it's weaknesses and was all too dependent on the "dribble drive" offense that Calipari used. They turned out to be more than I thought they were but when it comes down to the "putting" portion of the game over the "driving" portion, KU proved that you drive for show and you put for dough. Missed free-throws, poor play calling, questionable plays by the players all killed Memphis' dream and they'll always be remembered for blowing a 9-point lead with 2 minutes left.
Oh, but don't think it was all Memphis' fault they lost. There happened to be probably the greatest Jayhawk team EVER on the other side of the floor that played perfect team basketball. I told people from day 1 that nobody has played a better basketball team than KU, period. Sure, every team has their stud that averages 20+ or whatever but that's 1 dude and 4 guys helping him look good...that doesn't win championships. KU is a balanced attack that proved it can win any game, any way you ask them to. Bill Self simply outcoached every other coach at the Dance and was rewarded justly for doing so.
You think winning the NCAA Championship isn't the biggest thing EVER for KU Basketball fans? Try this on for size. This video was taken from Allen Field House (the HOME OF THE JAYHAWKS!) during Mario Chalmers' "shot heard 'round the world."
Wow. Keep in mind this is just the basketball stadium. Every bar and restaurant, retail shop and home in Larence was jam packed with people watching the game. Bars were charging $30/hr to hold a table during the day and people were lined up in front of bars and restaurants since 7AM to watch a game that started at 8PM. An estimated 40,000 people were crowded on Mass. Street after the game; a street that is only about 6 or 7 blocks long where you'll find bars and shops and such.
Caption of this photo on the scout.com message board read "Lawrence looked pretty dead last night"
Final Thoughts, ala Jerry Springer
All in all, much like Bill Self lamented, this is way better than I thought it would be. 12 years of dedication to KU basketball through the band, being a fan, student, donor, you name it and I could not ask for a more amazing payoff. I'm so proud of the team, the coaches, everyone; they deserve this more than anyone. In an age when you hear so much bad stuff happening with student athletes, coaches breaking rules, NCAA violations and you name it, KU stands strong. The players are students first, athletes second and their conduct on and off the floor is in direct correlation to the man that leads them: Coach Bill Self.
Allen Field House. I think this is after we won...but ya never can tell with these things
There are rumors swirling around Bill Self is leaving to go back to his alma mater OSU and the choice is totally up to him. But, I don't think he's gonna leave. I think he recognizes the significance of where he is, what he's done and what he'll continue to do at KU. This guy is amazing and in 1/3 the time Roy was here, delivered the 1 thing Roy could never achieve: an NCAA Championship.
Rock Chalk Jayhawk...