Hundred's of Jayhawks join the KU Pep Band, Cheerleaders and Big Jay for a pre game pep rally
Linda and I drove to downtown Kansas City for the evening session of the NCAA Division 1 men's basketball tournament on Friday night. We parked at our usual location in the parking garage of the Hilton President. It is only a hundred yards from the power and light district and seems to be an easier spot to drive in and out of, without the worst congestion.
After missing some of the pre game activities at KU's Senior Night, we left plenty early and arrive at the KC Power and Light District in time to attend the Kansas Jayhawks Pep Rally on the main stage, then on to the Sprint Center where we were generously invited to watch the games in the Channel 5 Suite.
After being welcomed by KCTV5 General Manager, Darrin McDonald, and Director of Sales, Rebecca Boresow, I settled into my seat at the front of the suite, near center court. The light was brighter than it is at Allen Fieldhouse (though with an odd tint) and we had a much better angle on the court then I have had at other games. I ended up taking over 200 photos and will be adding several to my University Of Kansas Basketball photography page.
The first game was the North Carolina Tar Heels versus the Villanova Wildcats. A number 8 seed playing a number 9. It was likely to be a good game, but was made more interesting in Kansas City because the North Carolina Coach, Roy Williams, was the former coach at the University of Kansas. Roy loved Kansas and was adored while he was coaching in Lawrence. When he left to go to North Carolina, many Kansas fans were bitter. Most of them are over that today and he is liked in Kansas City, with some people still unhappy after all these successful years.
North Carolina got off to a big lead, up 32-17. But Villanova battled back and after a 32-10 run, lead the game by 2 points, about a third of the way through the second half. Villanova could not hold on and North Carolina won 78-71.
In theory, the second game would be less interesting, with the #1 seed Kansas playing the #16 seeded Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. A #16 has never one a game in the NCAA tournament. Of course many #1s fear the chance that they will be the first to make history by losing to a #16.
Western Kentucky gave the Kansas fans a scare, leading Kansas by 1-4 points during much of the first half and by 1 point at the half. But that was the Hilltoppers final lead of the game. Kansas regained the lead and led by 4 - 11 points for the balance of the evening. The final score was Kansas 64, Western Kentucky 57.
Kansas will play North Carolina in round 3 of the NCAA tournament on Sunday, March 24.