Kansas Jayhawks (25-7) vs. Bradley Braves (20-10)
When: Friday, 9:40 p.m. ET
Where: Auburn Hills, Mich.
1. Those Crazy Rush Brothers. Kansas star freshman Brandon Rush attended four high schools. His brothers, Jaron (most famous for drinking his way out of basketball) and the Charlotte Bobcats' Kareem, both attended Pembroke Hill, an small private high school. While in Kansas City, Brandon attended Westport, not exactly a school mentioned as one of the best in the KC area. That didn't prevent Brandon from not making his grades there, and was forced to go to Mount Zion to get his "degree." Apparently Mt. Zion did wonders for Rush, as Rush had over a 3.0 GPA in his first semester at Kansas.
2. They Retired Their Broadcaster's Number. Mad props to Kansas radio broadcaster Max Falkenstein. Depending on another Bucknell-like choke job, Falkenstein could be calling his last Jayhawk basketball game this week. Max spent 60 years on the job at Kansas, calling the team's football and basketball games. The team recently raised the number 60 to the rafters in honor of Falkenstein, who will be remembered by millions of KU fans as the voice of Kansas athletics.
3. They Were Kind of Co-Champs, Not Really. Memo to Bill Self: You lost to Texas. Badly. After drubbing Oklahoma on their homecourt on March 5, the Longhorns were presented with the regular season Big 12 trophy. Yes, the Longhorns did in fact tie the Jayhawks in the conference standings with a 13-3 record, but Texas drubbed the 'Hawks 80-55 in Austin, giving them the tiebreaker over KU. But apparently Bill Self didn't get that and was peeved when the team was not presented a trophy when they beat Kansas State on March 4 to clinch a share of the title. After hearing Self's complaints, the Big 12 chalked it up to a miscommunication and promised that it will never happen again. — Nick Bromberg
1. They Have Eddy Curry's Old Sidekick. Patrick O'Bryant is Tyson Chandler if Tyson Chandler would have gone to a mid-major college instead of straight to The Association after high school. He's the Missouri Valley's Defensive Player of the Year, and the 7-foot, 260-pound sophomore is long, athletic and improving on his offensive game seemingly every day. After being forced to sit out the Braves first eight games of the season (Hey! Who the heck are you to judge!?! Like you ve never taken extra money from an employer!), O Bryant went on to snag eight boards a game and score 13.2 ppg.
2. How Will It Play In Peoria? Braves' coach Jim Les is turning Bradley into Peoria U. For years, Peoria's finest High School players have made a bee-line east down I-74 to play for the University of Illinois, and the city's second-tier prep stars went wherever they could fit in. When Les was hired four years ago, he promised that would change and made recruiting Peoria s prep players a priority. This year's Braves squad sports five players from the Peoria area. While the Illini continue to get some of the best prep players that Peoria has to offer, Les is beginning to finally reap the rewards of maintaining the city s local talent. In fact, rumors around campus are indicating that former Wisconsin Badger and native-Peorian DeAaron Williams may be a Brave next year.
3. Inexplicable Nickname Central. Senior super-sub Lawrence Wright is known around town as "Boogie." I don t know why, and, honestly, I don't want to know why. All I really need to know is that there s a guy on the team named "Boogie." Just saying "Boogie" puts a bounce in my step and makes my day a little happier. "Boogie." Try it yourself. Go ahead say it out loud: "Boogie." Now, don t you feel better? — Alex Fritz
(UPDATE: It has been pointed out that Nick Bromberg, the writer of the Kansas preview, is a Missouri fan. This has caused much consternation among the Kansas crowd. We didn't know Bromberg was a Mizzou guy when we assigned this to him, but, frankly, we don't think it's that big of a deal. It's not THAT mean. But we still apologize. If Kansas fans are upset, just sit back, relax and think, "Quin Snyder." It'll do wonders.