The Kansas Jayhawks won their third NCAA national championship in men's basketball with victories over North Carolina and Memphis. It had been 20 years since my 'Hawks brought home the hardware and it was a sweet feeling indeed. For those of you who may have been in a fog on Monday night - those of us who love being in the "Phog" will always remember where we were when "The Shot" swished through the net of San Antonio's Alamodome.
In 110 years of Jayhawk basketball, there has perhaps been no shot of greater importance or timing than the three pointer that guard Mario Chalmers made with 2.1 seconds left in the game. It capped off a furious rally by the 'Hawks who found themselves nine points down with 2:12 on the clock. They had led most of the evening until Memphis took control in the mid to late second half. But this 2008 group of 'Hawks have demonstrated all year an ability to reach down and find whatever is needed to get the job done.
Mario hit the three forcing an overtime. Memphis went into shock. The Jayhawks scored the first six points of the extra stanza and the rest is history. KU wins its third NCAA title tying it with Duke and leaving it just one title behind North Carolina. It took Coach Bill Self just five seasons to win his first national championship at Kansas. It won't be his last. And it won't be his last at Kansas. Despite a media frenzy building out of Stillwater, Oklahoma from T. Boone Pickens' PR machine, I do not believe Self will leave Kansas for his alma mater, Oklahoma State. Kansas has a few rich alums too. Expect this media driven story to end soon and OSU will have to find a new head coach elsewhere.
I am unabashed in my love for the University of Kansas. It's a great university with a proud tradition of academic and athletic excellence. The 2008 men's basketball team added a new chapter to this continuing story. Their record of 37-3 is the most wins ever by a Jayhawk squad and they are national champions. Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!
Thanks to my friend and fellow Jayhawk Rob Merritt for sending this along today. Even the Colbert Report is picking the 'Hawks to go all the way!
The Kansas Jayhawks are quickly becoming one of the big stories of the 2007 edition of March Madness. After a 107-67 thrashing of Niagara on Friday night, the 'Hawks put their big game faces on today to defeat the winningest program in the history of college basketball, the Kentucky Wildcats. Kansas is the third all time winning college program garnering their 1,905th victory today.
Kansas heads to San Jose to meet Southern Illinois out of the Missouri Valley Conference on Thursday evening in the round of 16. UCLA and Pittsburgh play in the second game with the winners meeting on Saturday for the right to go to the Final Four in Atlanta.
Kansas has developed into a true team. Egos are left in the locker room each game and these guys come onto the court with a single mission in mind. It has been a true joy to watch this team develop over the past two seasons. They are a great example of what a real team can accomplish - a great example for all of us regardless of the business in which we work.
The Jayhawks' business right now is winning basketball games and they are four victories away from college basketball's promised land.
A quick nod to my alma mater and the cradle of college basketball -- the Kansas Jayhawks are the undisputed Big XII Conference champs and did it in style knocking off Texas and college basketball's best player -- Kevin Durant. Final score was 90 - 86 in arguably one of the best games ever played in historic Allen Fieldhouse.
It looks like a wide open NCAA Tournament this year and March Madness will truly live up to its billing as sports' greatest three weeks. Kansas has had a tough road the past two tourneys getting knocked out in the first round in 2005 and 2006. So the skeptics will be thick as thieves questioning the Jayhawks and their ability to go deep in the tourney this year. The Texas game proved they can overcome a hot team with the best player by working hard and playing together.
Saturday's game marked Kansas' 1,900th all time basketball victory putting us just seven wins behind North Carolina and 40 plus behind Kentucky. It was the Jayhawks 50th all time conference championship -- the most by any school in any conference in the nation. Those two schools' greatest coaches - UK's Adolph Rupp and UNC's Dean Smith - both played at Kansas under the legendary Phog Allen. Phog Allen played for James Naismith, the guy who invented basketball. They hate being reminded of that.
So Jayhawk Nation, it's that time of year. We are a nine game run away from cutting down some more nets and hoisting some more trophies. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!