Midwest Region: No. 3 Kansas (25-7) vs. No. 14 North Dakota State (26-6)
When: Friday, 12:30 p.m., EDT
Where: Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota
1) Robbing the Cradle The big programs in college basketball have been getting younger and younger thanks to things like the NBA's idiotic age limit, and KU is no exception. The Jayhawks' roster currently sports a whopping 7 freshmen, which is understandable since the top 6 players from last year's championship squad are currently drawing paychecks from professional basketball teams, 5 of whom were drafted by NBA teams. The freshmen haven't all developed equally; the most notable examples are freshman twin (literally) towers Markieff and Marcus Morris, who alternate brilliant moments of athletic prowess with equally blinding moments of basketball stupidity. Still, for a team that started the season with so many question marks that several veteran observers questioned whether they would even make the tournament, the Jayhawks and their stable of young student-athletes have impressed this season more often than not.
2) In Lew We Trust In the 5-plus years that Lew Perkins has served as KU's athletic director, the basketball team has won a national championship, the football team has won a BCS bowl game, and more than $75 million worth of facilities have been built, upgraded, or planned. Additionally, under Perkins' leadership the athletics budget has more than doubled, along with profits. Not bad for a school that is, after all, in Kansas; the only nearby metropolitan area is Kansas City, which isn't exactly flourishing. Now if only the state legislature didn't equate funding higher education with Red Communism and Satan, we'd be on our way to dispelling some of those unfortunate Kansas stereotypes.
3) The Legend of Dooley It all started back in 2006 during the waning moments of Kansas' upset loss to the University of Nevada. A well-placed TV camera caught KU assistant coach Joe Dooley having an earnest, honest discussion with Nevada forward Nick Fazekas. Well, perhaps discussion is a generous term, as the exchange was pretty one sided and consisted of Dooley yelling "Fuck You" at Fazekas. The "incident" caused some low-level manufactured outrage in the media and then faded into oblivion for everyone except Kansas fans. KU fans, starved for entertainment out on the Plains (I make the Kansas jokes so you don't have to), have elevated the mighty Coach Dooley to legend status. People around town have ascribed both Keyser Soze and Chuck Norris status on Dooley, along all the worn-out jokes that said status brings. Maybe it's because of the Fazekas incident, maybe it's the fact that Gregg Doyel described his hair as "so bad, it doesn't even deserve to be called a mullet." Take a look for yourself. Whatever the reason, Coach Dooley has become a bit of a fan favorite in Lawrence. Watch for him on the sidelines, glaring at everyone in sight.
Impress your friends with this insider bonus infonugget from KU's media guide!!!: For your convenience an ATM is located on the south end of level one of Allen Fieldhouse. — Pete Gaines
1) They're also unbeaten! NDSU has made the NCAA tournament every single year they've been eligible. Can North Carolina say that? Nope. Kentucky? Not even in this year's bracket. Arizona? Duke? UConn? UCLA? Wrong on all counts. Sure, this is the Bison's first year of D-I postseason eligibility; quit changing the subject! NDSU is batting 1.000 on NCAA berths and your team isn't.
2) Also, both states are rectangles The Bison's first round opponent, the defending champion Kansas Jayhawks, are actually familiar with this "North Dakota" place you speak of. Jeff Boschee, a four-year starter under the Roy Williams regime in Kansas from 1998-2002, hails from Valley City, ND, only about 60 miles west of Fargo. He still holds the school record for 3-pointers.
3. One man gang? If you've heard anything about NDSU, chances are you've heard of their stud senior guard Ben Woodside, who nailed the game winner against Oakland in the Summit League championship and had a 60-point game earlier this year. However, if teams focus too much on Woodside and leave others open on the perimeter, the Bison can hurt you. NDSU shot 41% as a team this season from beyond the arc. — Eric Thompson