At approximately 7:45 (the 12-minute mark), KU will have a ceremony unveiling the 2008 NCAA Championship banner in the north rafters.
KU coach Bill Self and his players will be on James Naismith Court to
witness the event.
“I encourage all fans to get out there early,” Self
said. “It should be pretty special.”
Self and his Jayhawks are indeed hyped about hanging another
championship banner alongside the four other title banners: 1922 and
1923 Helms Foundation National Championships, and the 1952 and 1988
The rich tradition continues for the third-winningest program in
college basketball history.
“If you look at it from an objective point of view, it would
be hard to argue that we don’t have as much historical value
in our game as anyone,” Self said. “The inventor of
basketball (James Naismith) was our first coach, and the father of
basketball coaching (Phog Allen) was our second coach. That’s
pretty strong right there. And arguably the most dominant player (Wilt
Chamberlain) ever played here. I think our program is as tradition-rich
as any in the country.
“To hang another banner will be cool.”
ESPN will televise the pre-game banner ceremony. The KU game is part of
the ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, a 23-hour schedule
of games and basketball coverage. The KU-Iowa women’s game at
Allen Fieldhouse will also be featured on ESPN earlier that day at 11
a.m., the only women’s game included in the Tip-Off Marathon.
This will mark the first time Florida Gulf Coast has appeared on ESPN.
“Obviously, this is a huge thing for our kids, to be able to
play the defending national champions to open their season,”
said FGCU head coach Dave Balza. “We always talk about giving
our fans something to watch and cheer for and give us a chance to play
the best schedule we can play, so by the time conference time comes
around, we’ll be well-prepared.”
Kansas is coming off a 71-56 victory over UMKC on Sunday night, while
Florida Gulf Coast won its lone exhibition game against NAIA Ave Maria
(89-58) on Nov. 4. Senior guard Delvin Franklin led four
Eagles in double figures with 16 points. Junior guard Ben Vega scored
14 points, while junior guard Kyle Marks and freshman guard Reggie Chambers added 12 and 11 points, respectively. Freshman forward Ed Rolax lead the Eagles with nine rebounds.
Florida Gulf Coast will have to play a near perfect game to to beat
Kansas. FGCU lost four starters and 11 letterwinners from last
season’s 10-21 team (6-10 in Atlantic Sun), its first year in
Division I. The Eagles lost nine of their top 10 scorers and are one of
the most inexperienced teams in the country with 12 newcomers.
On a positive note, FGCU features one of the most heralded recruiting
classes in school history — including four junior college
transfers — and also welcome three redshirts from last
season: Marks, Rolax and Reed Baker. Their lone returning starter is
the 6-2 Franklin, who averaged 9.2 points and 3.1 rebounds per game
last year. He came on strong during the Atlantic Sun season, finishing
among the league leaders in scoring (12.3 ppg), three-point field goals
made (2.13) and minutes (33).
KU hopes to build on its second-half performance against UMKC, where
the Jayhawks shot a sizzling 65.2 percent (only 32 percent in the first
half) and held the Roos to just 21.9 percent shooting (29 percent for
Junior point guard Sherron Collins led all scorers with 16 points,
while sophomore center Cole Aldrich came up huge in the second half
after picking up two fouls in the game’s opening three
minutes. Aldrich finished with 13 points, five rebounds and one block.
KU struggled making shots in the first half and led just once early in
the contest. Sophomore Tyrel Reed’s jumper at the 17:35 mark
in the second half broke open a 35-all game as Aldrich and
KU’s size took over.
“We actually didn’t play bad,” Self said.
“We just didn’t make shots (1-of-13 from
three-point range). There’s a difference between playing bad
and not making shots. We got some good looks, we’ll make
“I think we’ll be excited (to play Florida Gulf
Coast) and ready to go.”
After the pre-game banner ceremony, KU might be ready to beat the Los Angeles Lakers. Collins, for one, can’t wait to see the 2008
NCAA Championship banner unveiled.
“I think it’s going to be great,” Collins
said. “Anytime something like that happens, it makes me think
about the team last year (and) how appreciative I was to be on a team
like that and to finally win one. It’s pretty sweet and that
just shows the new guys that if you put in the hard work, it pays
A Banner Game
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