Last Sunday evening, the University of Kansas basketball team punched their ticket to the Final 4 in New Orleans, by beating the University of North Carolina. The Final 4 is generally considered the gold standard for college basketball excellence and this weekend's trip to New Orleans will be the 14th time a KU basketball team has made it to the final weekend in the NCAA tournament. The tradition and history is rich as KU's first basketball coach, James Naismith, was the inventor of the game of basketball. This Saturday night KU plays Ohio State, another tradition-rich basketball school, and the winner of that game plays the winner of the University of Kentucky vs. Louisville game (two more tradition-rich schools). This is already a very exciting time for KU basketball fans as last year's team lost seven key players (three to the NBA, three to graduation and one to transfer) and this year was supposed to be a "down year" for KU basketball. Well, making it to the Final 4 has been anything but a "down year" for us!
Back in 2008, KU won the national title by beating North Carolina in the semi-final and then the University of Memphis in the final. A week later, a parade was thrown in downtown Lawrence on Mass Street, in honor of the Jayhawks. Needless to say, it was a big deal to Kansas fans. Hopefully we can repeat the experience again this week and have another parade; however, KU fans will be happy either way. It's really a win-win situation from here on out, "house money" as they say. No one expected the Jayhawks to get this far in the tournament, but they have, so now they can play loose going for it all. Otherwise, they've had a great season if they don't win out this weekend.
Here was the scene in downtown Lawrence back in 2008: