TULSA, Okla., March 20, 2011—The number one seeded Kansas Jayhawks (33-2) take on the Fighting Illini of Illinois (20-13). KU’s head coach used to coach at Illinois adding intrigue to this match up.
The crowd is about 80 percent Kansas fans and they are already loud. This is like a home game for the Jayhawks. Will that be enough to get them to the next round? Stick around and chat.
Kansas is on fire! With 14:19 left to play they lead 16-6 already. KU got off to a slow start against BU. Not tonight.
I just realized that the Kansas fight song is the same fight song from junior high school. I think my voice just changed again.
Kansas is still in control, but Illinois is coming on. The score is 20-13 Jayhawks. I cannot explain enough how much this crowd is for KU. They are loud and are definitely helping with the momentum of the game.
KU came out kind of slow and sluggish in the First Round. They came to play tonight. When a player scores they look to the bench with a nod. They are getting and-1’s. They are ready.
Kansas continues its domination: up by 10 with 7:01 left to play. Since my bracket is going to be burned at half time anyway, let’s hope that the Fighting Illini can come back and make this into a game. Even if it’s just for entertainment’s sake.
Here come the Illini! 4:45 left in the half and they have chipped away at the Jayhawk lead. Now KU leads by only six making the score 28-22.
Kansas has the ball and runs down the shot clock to four before taking a shot and missing. Sloppy possession.
Illinois takes a time out to regroup. The crowd has fallen silent.
The Illini try to change that by playing “Wichita” by the White Stripes. How this became such a big band song I’ll never know, but I think every marching band knows it.
Kansas runs the shot clock down again. This time they drew a foul with five seconds left, but I am a little surprised they are not being more aggressive. You could give some credit to the Illinois defense.
That’s the first half. Kansas was up big but then went a little conservative while Illinois made a little run. 33-29 at the half.
Both teams come out firing in the second half. Trading buckets. Kansas still up by four.
Still trading buckets but the Morris twins are starting to click. 15:51 Kansas up by six.
Marcus Morris is down where he was obviously fouled. He has been down for a while but appears to be okay because he is staying in the game. The Kansas fans are not happy.
Marcus Morris taking over. He is making moves and getting to the line. The Illini are becoming a bit unraveled.
Just when you think they are out, they pull you back in. The Illini get to within five 56-51. They won’t go away.
It’s the Morris twins show tonight. They keep getting dunks and the crowd is losing it. One of them (I can’t tell them apart) was waving to the crowd to keep it going and they got even louder.
3:41 left. The Illini keep hanging around but can’t really get a hold of this game. I think it’s over.
Markieff hits an ally oop slam and the place goes nuts. Illinois answers with a lay up. Kansas comes back down the court. Marcus has the ball and looks to throw another ally oop but Markieff waved his hands to say, “Let’s slow it down.”
Self has given the signal to run the clock and get out of the state of Oklahoma with the monkey off their backs.
Here come the “Rock Chalk” chants. I think it’s time for me to get the heck out of here because it is weird.
In a day full of upsets, the Jayhawks move on to the Sweet Sixteen. KU wins 73-59.
It’s been fun. Time to go watch “Big Love” series finale!
Jason Black is a regular sports contributor on America’s Morning News and America’s Radio News. Coincidently, or not, he also does movie reviews for KJ103 and102.1 Kissin’ Country. You can also follow Jason on Twitter @jasonblack23.
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