Kansas and the NCAA Tournament






1986 Bracket


The Final Fours








Special Years



A Special Tribute
2011 NIT Champions


1986: Maybe the Best Ever. But Oh, Archie.


First Round



Dayton, OH (AP)- As expected, Georgetown and Kansas advanced to the second round of the NCAA Midwest Regional at the University of Dayton. But they unexpectedly took different paths.


No. 2 ranked Kansas battered overmatched North Carolina A&T 71-46, but No. 13 Georgetown struggled to the final minute before disposing of Texas Tech 70-64.


"We were watching Duke ... and some of the other (ranked) teams ... said some of the other upset possibilities," said Kansas Coach Larry Brown. "I think that really was a benefit to us because we realized that there wasn't going to be any easy games and that we couldn't take anybody lightly."


The Jayhawks, now 32-3 and the top seed in the Midwest, placed four players in double figures led by second-team All-America Danny Manning's 15 points.


North Carolina A&T Coach Donald Corbett also heard some encouraging scores from underdogs elsewhere.


"I was aware of the Mississippi Valley State score (a surprising halftime lead over No. 1 Duke) and I was informed of the Marist score (a close game with Georgia Tech). But then again, Danny Manning was here," Corbett lamented.


Kansas faces 25-5 Temple Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in the second round. The Owls of Coach John Chaney needed Tim Perry's six points in overtime to defeat Jacksonville, 61- 56, in Thursday's first game.


Reluctantly looking ahead to Kansas, Corbett said. "We're going to have to dance to a lot of their tunes because they control both ends of the floor."


The day wasn't a total loss for Jacksonville Coach Bob Wenzel, whose team bowed out at 21-10. His wife, Neva, gave birth to their second child, Michael Edwin, earlier in the day.


Georgetown was pushed to the brink by unheralded Texas Tech, which owned a mediocre 11-13 record just four weeks ago. Still, with 12 minutes remaining, the Red Raiders had the Hoyas down 51-44. But 24-7 Georgetown came back to take the lead on Ralph Dalton's three-point play with 2:08 left and then salted the game away on Michael Jackson's four points in the final minute.


"This may help us a little, but closing a game depends a lot on getting the right basket at the right time." said Georgetown Coach John Thompson.


The Hoyas match up Saturday at 12:11 p.m. against Michigan State, which needed some clutch play of its own to live to see another day.


The Spartans, 22-7 on the year, trailed Washington by 10 points at the half. But they also had an ace up their sleeve in 6-foot-1 senior guard Scott Skiles. Skiles scored 31 points, including a pair of free throws with :02 showing on the clock, as the Spartans came back for a 72-70 victory.


"I wanted to take the shot at the end and I don't think that's any secret." said Skiles, who was fouled on the play, leading to the winning free throws. "When you average as many points as I do you have to be crazy not to want to take the shot."




Second Round


DAYTON, Ohio (AP)– Temple coach John Chaney has seen enough of number one and number two teams in the NCAA Tournament's second round.


Next year, for a change, he would like to see a number 16 or 19 or 23- anything but the first or second best team in the country. That has been Temple's fate in the last two tournaments, facing then top-ranked North Carolina two years ago and Georgetown last year.


For over 15 minutes on Saturday afternoon, Temple (25-6) taunted its fate, leading Kansas (33-3) until Ron Kellogg's 15-foot jumper put the Jayhawks ahead for good, 17-16, with 4:18 left in the first half on the way to a 65-43 win in the Midwest Regional.


"I knew going in that if they got to running on us we don't have the fingers to plug the holes," Chaney said.


Shortly after the half, one that saw Kansas lead, 26-21, the dam broke. No one knows exactly the moment it happened but Chaney admitted it may have been when he was assessed a technical foul with 12:47 left and the Owls down, 33-26.


Ramon Rivas was called for a blocking foul and official Jim Howell hit Chaney- 80 feet away and on the other end of the court- with the technical. Calvin Thompson hit the two shots, Cedric Hunter hit a 13-foot jumper and Temple suddenly found itself under water. It spent the rest of the game treading upstream.


"That possibly could have been (the turning point)," Chaney said. "I think the ref that called it masterminded it all the way.  How? By the way he called the game.


"I think coaches should stop talking about officials from now on. I think we should hold truths to be self-evident."


Chaney felt the Owls were "prevented from going into our offensive sets because they (the Jayhawks) were hand-checking every time down the floor."


Whatever interpretation you believe, Chaney's or the officials', the fact that the Owls were never in the game after the technical was self-evident.


They were in it at the beginning, though, because of what enabled them to get this far- good defense and good patience on offense in the first half. Temple more fell into than exploded out to an 11-4 lead, quieting the mostly pro-Kansas crowd of 13,260.


Rivas posted Danny Manning down low 12 seconds into the game for a 2-0 lead; Eddie Coe hit a 14-footer to make it 4-0 and Nate Blackwell an open jumper from the top of the key to make it 6-0.


At 16:20, Howard Evans hit a 20-footer to make it 8-2 and Rivas hit one of two foul shots to make it 9-4 (15:03) before Perry posted 7-foot-1 center Greg Drieling down low to make it 11-4


Kansas, the number one seed in the Midwest, was in a position it's not accustomed to, facing adversity, but it was the kind of test that head coach Larry Brown felt his team passed.


"We didn't panic when we got behind and that was a big factor," he said "I was fearful of getting behind Temple because it is such a disciplined ballclub. You look at their stats and they don't average nine turnovers (a game) the whole year so I was pleased to see at halftime when they had nine.”


"I thought our five-point lead (26-21) at that time was a big one because of the way we started. We've had a lot of easy games recently and I know we're going to have tougher ones down the stretch so I know that them jumping all over us may have helped us "


When Temple fell nine down after the technical, the jumpers the Owls contested in the beginning were left open and started to fall in bunches for the Jayhawks. Thompson, Danny Manning and Ron Kellogg took advantage of an open perimeter in the second half to all lead Kansas with 14 points.


On the other hand, Nate Blackwell, Temple's improving 6-foot-4 junior guard, finished with 14 points in 40 minutes- all coming only two days after suffering a contusion in his knee in the opening round win over Jacksonville. ("He went to Indianapolis on Friday," Chaney said. "I think it was to get a new knee.")


He will now have all summer to get his old one back, knowing that he returns along with Evans, Rivas, Perry and first sub Derrick Brantley.


"What we're going to have to do," Chaney said, "is that we're going to have to bulk up and figure out a way to compete against teams with the power that they have."


They will have to do that, knowing, if history repeats, they will face the number-one or number two team in the country next year- in the second round.




Regional Semifinal


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)- It was a game that had everything- dramatic rallies by both teams, clutch shooting, courageous performances, even a technical foul that appeared at the time to be decisive.


Sadly, it also had some mechanical breakdowns.


Kansas, the top seed in the Midwest Regional, held off Michigan State 96-86 in overtime Friday night, advancing to the regional final on Sunday against North Carolina State, a 70-66 victor over Iowa State.


Michigan State Coach Jud Heathcote, clearly drained by the bitterly fought game, pulled no punches when it came to assessing the reasons for his team's loss.


"I thought there were a lot of weird calls in the first half," he said. "We had both starting guards on the bench with three fouls. We haven't had any guard on the bench with three fouls in the first half all year long.”


"I thought it was a phantom-call game. The officials called some fouls you just didn't see, and they ignored some obvious ones, too. I was very disappointed with the NCAA officials at this level."


But above all, Heathcote was incensed at a malfunction of the game clock, which Heathcote claims resulted in 10 extra seconds of play, allowing Kansas to tie the score and force the overtime session (video).


The malfunction came with 2:20 left in regulation. "If those 10 seconds had run off as they should have, the game would have been over," he said. "It's extremely disappointing to have a clock malfunction in an NCAA game."


Heathcote argued vehemently that the time should have been deleted from the clock. But Dick Schultz of the NCAA Basketball Committee said neither the game officials nor the clock operator were aware of the exact time in error, so no adjustment could be made. CBS television clocked the actual time missed as 15 seconds in subsequent replays.


"It was just guesswork (how much time had elapsed) so it was just one of those uncorrectable errors," Schultz said.


More than the clock, missed free throws down the stretch proved to be the Spartans' undoing.


"We led the nation in free-throw percentage all year," Heathcote said. "Maybe it just caught up with us tonight."


Three missed MSU foul shots in the final 1:49 of regulation allowed Kansas to get back in the game, pull into an 80-80 tie, and ultimately win.


Michigan State, which trailed 46- 37 at the half, capitalized on Kansas foul trouble to move to a 66-63 lead with eight minutes left.


The Jayhawks, 34-3, appeared doomed when Ron Kellogg, their second-leading scorer, fouled out with 1:49 left. He joined top scorer Danny Manning, who exited with 2:21 remaining, on the bench.


Kansas Coach Larry Brown was assessed a technical foul following Kellogg's foul, and MSU guard Scott Skiles went to the line. Skiles, a 91 percent free-throw shooting during the season, missed the first of a one-and-one situation. He then made both technical free throws, boosting MSU to a 78-74 lead.


Barry Fordham's baseline jumper made it 80-74 with 1:06 left. But the Spartans couldn't convert on two more free-throw attempts that could have wrapped up the game.


Cedric Hunter cut the deficit to 80-76, and MSU's Larry Polec subsequently missed a free throw with 27 seconds remaining. Calvin Thompson's basket made it 80-78, and freshman Mark Brown of Michigan State missed another free throw with 19 seconds left.


Archie Marshall's tip-in with nine seconds to go forced the overtime (video).


Thompson, who finished with a game-high 26 points despite painful cramps, had eight in the overtime period to spark the Jayhawks.


"We overcame a lot of adversity with foul problems and my technical," Brown said. "I'm as proud of this team as I can possibly be."


Thompson took charge toward the end of regulation and in overtime. His three-point play broke an 84-84 tie in overtime, and he added two more baskets to make it 91-86 with 1:00 left.


"Cedric (Hunter) asked me if I was ready to go, and I said, 'Come to me,'" Thompson said. "I didn't want our season to end right there. I was very emotional tonight."


Skiles had 20 points to pace Michigan State, which finished the year at 23-8.


In the earlier game, North Carolina State got 22 points from freshman forward Charles Shackleford and 20 from sophomore center Chris Washburn to hold off Iowa State.


The Wolfpack led by as much as 13 points in the first half before the Cyclones made it close. Back-to-back baskets by ISU's Jeff Hornacek tied the score at 47-47 with 13 minutes left, but the Cyclones then missed two shots that might have seized the momentum.


Guard Gary Thompkins missed a short jumper, and reserve center David Moss, rebounding the miss, failed on a follow.


North Carolina State, given a needed reprieve, answered with the next five points, and ISU never recovered.


"That was a crucial period of the game," Cyclone Coach Johnny Orr said. "We had two chances to go ahead, and we missed both shots. If we had gone ahead, it would have helped us."


Key baskets by Bennie Bolton, Ernie Myers and Shackleford down the stretch powered North Carolina State, 21-12, into the regional final.


Iowa State ended the season at 22-11.  Jeff Grayer and Sam Hill had 21 points apiece for ISU.





Regional Final


By Harold Bechard

Salina (KS) Journal

Sports Editor


KANSAS CITY, Mo.- A five month dream became reality for the Kansas Jayhawks here Sunday afternoon. On Oct. 15, when the Jayhawks opened the basketball season with a midnight practice, thousands of KU fans showed up wearing "Destination Dallas" sweatshirts.


"l hated it," said KU head coach Larry Brown, referring to the slogan which proclaimed the site of the 1986 Final Four.


But the Jayhawks didn't buckle under the pressure placed on their collective shoulders by their fans. Thirty-five wins later, Kansas will be going to The Final Four.


The second-ranked Jayhawks accomplished their goal with a come-from-behind 75-67 victory over North Carolina State in the Midwest Regional finals played before 16,800 fans in Kemper Arena (video). The victory gave the Jayhawks a 35-3 record and qualified them for The Final Four for the first time since 1974.


"I'm kind of feeling funny right now," said Brown, who was given the honor of cutting down the final strand of net to the delight of the partisan KU crowd. "I thought I'd feel much more excited, but I'm more relieved than anything."


Brown was also relieved that superlative sophomore Danny Manning took charge of the game in the final 8 1/2 minutes when it looked like the Wolfpack was ready to short-circuit KU's trip to Dallas.


With 8:53 remaining, N.C. State led 57-52 after a two-pointer by guard Ernie Myers. N.C. State head coach Jim Valvano was shaking his fists in delight and the Wolfpack bench was celebrating.


But Manning put a quick end to N.C. State's travel plans to Texas. The Big Eight Player of the Year  took over with 10 consecutive points in a four-minute span.


Here's the damage Manning caused the visitors from the ACC:


• At the 8:46 mark, the 6-11 forward forced in a tough 10-footer to pull the Jayhawks with three points (57-54).


• After a Wolfpack turnover, Manning drove for a layup at the 8:14 mark. Time out, North Carolina State.


• Nate McMillan was called for an offensive foul and Manning, missing a six-footer on the baseline, followed the attempt with an offensive rebound at the 7:34 mark to give Kansas the lead (58-57).


• Another N.C. State miss was followed by a 15-footer from the baseline by Manning to give Kansas a 60-57 lead with 6:27 left. The crowd is now in a frenzy.


• Chris Washburn of N.C. State slowed the momentum for a moment with a free throw at the 6:12 mark, but Manning, followed up a Ron Kellogg miss with 5:53 remaining to give the Jayhawks a 62-58 lead.


"After we got that five-point lead, we just broke down defensively," said Valvano, whose team ended the season 21-13. "I felt very good and very confident with the 57-52 lead, but the next three possessions were absolutely crucial and Danny Manning just made some great shots."


With the Manning Show at an end (Manning ended the game with 22 points and 6 rebounds), it was time for KU's other big man- 7-1 center Greg Dreiling- to take over. And the Wichita native did just that.


Dreiling exploded from his recent slump with nine straight points and six rebounds in a four-minute stretch to carry the Jayhawks to a 71-63 lead with 42 seconds remaining.


Dreiling, who ended the game with 19 points and 12 rebounds, started things off by putting in a pair of offensive rebounds and then wrapped it up with a six-foot hook in the lane and three free throws. Dreiling's final five five points came after N.C. State had cut the KU lead to three (66-63) with 1:49 remaining.


"I'm proud for Greg. We all knew he'd play well today," Brown said. "I thought he had his finest moments out there."


Calvin Thompson, Mark Turgeon and Kellogg put the lid on things with four free throws in the final 35 seconds.


"First of all, I want to congratulate Larry Brown and Kansas for its trip to the Final Four and for a great basketball season," said Valvano, whose team has been to the final eight three of the last four years.


"They just played great down the stretch. Their veteran players did a fine job."


Manning and Dreiling were joined in double figures by Kellogg who had 12 points. Cedric Hunter, forced to play all but one minute at point guard because of an N.C. State size advantage, had but five points but produced nine assists and two steals.


North Carolina State was led by its rugged inside twosome of Charles Shackleford and Chris Washburn. Shackleford scored 20 points and Washburn added 17, but the two combined for just four points in the final nine minutes as KU's fierce man-to-man defense paid dividends.


Kansas will meet No. 1 Duke Saturday afternoon in Dallas, with the winner advancing to the championship game Monday against the LSU-Louisville winner.


"I told the kids it's a special thing to get there (The Final Four). It doesn't happen to everyone," Brown said. "I think it's great for the university. I'm proud."


Manning, Thompson, Shackleford and Washburn were joined on the all-tournament team by Michigan State guard Scott Skiles. Manning was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.





National Semifinal



DALLAS (AP) - Freshman Danny Ferry scored on a rebound with 23 seconds remaining to break a tie and help top-ranked Duke defeat No. 2 Kansas 71-67 Saturday for its 21st straight victory and a berth in the NCAA championship basketball game.


In running their record to 37-2, the Blue Devils became the winningest team in NCAA history, surpassing the 1948 Kentucky team. In Monday's title game, they will take on Louisville, an 88-77 victor over Louisiana State earlier Saturday.


Ferry's basket, after Mark Alarie had missed a 20-footer with five seconds left on the shot clock, broke a 67-all tie.


After Ferry's goal, Kansas' Ron Kellogg was charged with an offensive foul with 11 seconds left, but Ferry missed the front end of a one-and-one. Kellogg then missed a 25-footer and Duke's Tommy Amaker grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He then sank two foul shots for the final margin.


Kansas, 35-4, had its 16-game winning streak broken because it got only a combined 10 points from 6-foot-11 sophomore Danny Manning and 7-1 center Greg Dreiling.


Dreiling had six points before fouling out with 5:41 remaining. Manning, who entered the game with a 17.1 point average and was the MVP of the Midwest Regional, played only seven minutes in the first half because of foul trouble and scored only four points before fouling out with 2:47 remaining.


Johnny Dawkins. Duke's All-American guard, led the Atlantic Coast Conference champions with 24 points, followed by David Henderson with 13 and Mark Alarie with 12.


Kellogg, a 6-5 forward, paced the Jayhawks with 22 points, and Calvin Thompson, a senior guard, and Archie Marshall, each added 13. Marshall, a reserve, left the game with an injured knee after his driving layup put Kansas ahead 59-55 with, 8:10 remaining (video).


Henderson, one of four seniors who make up the nucleus of the Duke team, hit five of six free throws and Amaker one to put Duke ahead 61-59 with 6:25 left. Dreiling's two free throws and consecutive baskets by Kellogg and Manning, his first since the first basket of the game, put the Jayhawks up 65-61.


But Dawkins hit a jumper and Alarie scored inside to pull Duke even at 65-all. Manning picked up his fifth foul on the play, but Alarie failed to convert the free throw.


Thompson's basket and a rebound by Dawkins tied it again at 67-67 with 1:49 remaining.


Duke Coach Mike Kreyzewski said Alarie kept "Manning out of the ballgame. He showed he could cover such a great offensive-player and do so well. Manning wasn't the factor we thought he'd be."


"It was a terrific game," Krzyzewski said. "You know, sitting on courtside you can just feel the emotion, hear the bodies banging. Rightfully so, we won it with a loose ball, taking that ball off the floor and scoring."


Asked why he brought in Ferry at the end, the Duke coach joked, "To pick up a loose ball."


Duke, which was eliminated in the second round of the NCAA playoffs the past two seasons, led 36-33 at halftime, and a jumper by Henderson and two free throws by Jay Bilas gave the Blue Devils their biggest lead at 40-33.


After Alarie's jump shot gave Duke a 45-40 advantage, the Jayhawks got back into the game with an 8-0 run with Kellogg contributing two baskets and Marshal hitting a layup for a 48-45 Kansas advantage.


Dawkins, who had scored 15 points in the first half, didn't get his first field goal of the second half until 11:06 remained. He then hit another jumper to pull the Blue Devils to within 54-53.


Kansas, the Big Eight champions who lost to Duke by six points in the Big Apple NIT title match at the beginning of the season, went up by four points before the Blue Devils got back into the game with their free-throw shooting.


Kansas, which last reached the Final Four in 1974, when it finished fourth, jumped to an 8-2 lead. But Duke ran off the next 11 points. The Jayhawks never led again in the first half as Manning and point guard Cedric Hunter went to the bench with foul difficulty.


Marshall tied it at 17 and again at 31, but a 3-point play by Bilas and two foul shots by Henderson put Duke ahead at intermission.


This is the fifth time Duke has made it to the Final Four, the last time in 1978 when the Blue Devils lost to Kentucky in the title game. But the Blue Devils have never won a title.




National Championship


Sports Illustrated

April 07, 1986

Alexander Wolff


The plot was hatched in Room 1839 of Dallas's Fairmont Hotel, where Pervis Ellison was sequestered. Louisville coach Denny Crum had declared his 6'9" freshman off-limits to the media, figuring it best to shelter underclassmen from all the hoopla surrounding the NCAA Final Four. Ultimately, Ellison would thrive in the spotlight, dominating a championship game as no 18-year-old had before.


Here was the rule: no press, not even any incoming phone calls allowed. So Ellison and his roommate- also classmate and teammate- Kenny Payne would sit around and talk. They'd wrestle a little on the floor. And sometimes they'd play host to Pervis's mom, Emily. "I asked Mrs. Ellison," Payne says, "not to let Duke abuse Pervis."


Oh, Ellison ventured forth now and then. Once he rode the elevator to the hotel lobby. The doors parted, but the red sea of Louisville supporters before him did not.


"It's Pervis!" one fan shouted, pointing at him.


Ellison spun on his heels, and took the lift right back up again.


But in the wee hours of each morning, Ellison had a way of popping upright in bed and saying, "Kenny, we're gonna get us a ring." And sure enough, Louisville owed its 72-69 victory in Monday night's NCAA championship game over Duke and all its high-toned seniors to the retiring freshman with a gleam in his braces. Ellison scored 25 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and figured in just about every big play in Louisville's rousing win. "Just keep throwing it inside to me," he kept telling teammates as he ran back on defense during the second half.


Despite Duke's designation as a "yuppie team"- while the Cards' Milt Wagner carried a Sanyo stereo to practices, Blue Devil star Johnny Dawkins toted a Louis Vuitton briefcase- Louisville may have had the game's most upwardly mobile player, in any sense. Ellison is from Savannah, Ga. He likes roast duck, plays the piano, tuba and trombone- "anything," he says, "in B-flat"- and has been spotted fastidiously ironing his pants in the locker room after games.


Even before Louisville began preseason practice last fall, Crum knew that Ellison would be his starting center. Playing in a man-to-man, up-and-down style at Savannah High, he had developed startling open-court skills and precocious basketball sense. Someone asked Louisville's Herbert Crook when he knew how good Ellison was. "On October 15," Crook said.


Before unleashing his inside skills to take the game from Duke down the stretch in Reunion Arena Monday night, Ellison had kept the 'Ville close in the first half with a steal-and-dunk, and a pull-up, fast-break jumper. By game's end, Ellison had been so impressive that some were proclaiming the beginning of the Ellison Era.


"Ellison was magnificent," said Mike Krzyzewski, coach of the Blue Devils.


A coach reaches the NCAA final with players from Mercer Island, Wash.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Bowie, Md., and Rolling Hills, Calif. the same way he gets shu-SHEF-skee out of K-R-Z-Y-Z-E-W-S-K-I: by working hard at it. Duke's nucleus of four senior starters had gone 11-17 as freshmen; this season their 37 wins (against three losses) set an NCAA standard. "I keep hearing about Cinderella," Krzyzewski said. "To me, our guys are Cinderella, only the ball is four years old."


When the game clock showed 4:13 on Monday, it seemed as if it might never strike midnight. Duke led 63-60 at that point, and Crum called timeout. He normally eschews timeouts. He had passed on one when Duke burst out to a 15-8 lead- 11 of those Blue Devil points by Dawkins on the way to 24- and he didn't call one after the Devils stretched a three-point advantage at the half to a six-point lead with 11 minutes remaining. "Timeouts aren't the answer to everything," Crum says. "I like to let the players work things out for themselves."


But here he called one, and on the bench he set up something Louisville calls Swing 'Em. It was a play designed to clear four Cards above the foul line and isolate Ellison in the low post against Jay Bilas, where the other members of Duke's superb defense- most notably forward Mark Alarie and guard Tommy Amaker- couldn't provide any help. Studying a videotape of the ACC championship game on the day of the final, Louisville assistant coach Wade Houston noticed that Georgia Tech had used a similar set successfully against the Blue Devils. And here it worked perfectly for the Cards, with Crook finding Ellison, who pinned Bilas on the block and laid the ball in.


With guard Jeff Hall dogging Dawkins man-to-man in the Cards' 1-3 zone, David Henderson tried vainly to take command as his All-America teammate had done in the first half. But, barging through the Louisville zone, Henderson committed his fourth foul and would miss three shots in the last 2 minutes. Wagner, who hadn't scored a field goal for the first 34:28, hit a backdoor layup on another pass from Crook. Dawkins, who hadn't hit a field goal over the last 15:25, answered with two free throws with 3:08 left. Then forward Billy Thompson sank a hanging jumper in the lane to put Louisville up for good, 66-65.


The game's next bucket came after another Crum timeout, called with 48 seconds left and the 45-second shot clock down to 11 seconds. Hall lofted an airball just right of the rim. But Ellison cradled the ball and laid it in. Louisville led 68-65 with 38 seconds left. "Jeff," Ellison said, "told me it was a pass."


Ellison would make good on both ends of a one-and-one 11 seconds later to finish the job for the Cards. "They have the ability to win in five minutes," LSU's Derrick Taylor had said of Louisville after experiencing a similar deadly Louisville spurt in Saturday's semifinal. "In fact, they did win in five minutes." Well, this time the Cardinals won in four minutes, earning the championship rings that Bill Olsen, Louisville's athletic director, had been confident enough to have the players fitted for two days before the Cardinals left for Dallas.


"Three more, man," said Charles Jones, the former Louisville center (class of '84), as he went from freshman to freshman in the locker room. "You'll almost have enough rings for one hand."


The Cards had earlier received alumni encouragement from Rodney McCray, a member of Louisville's 1980 championship team, who had prepared a three-minute video that was screened before the semifinal. The gist of his message: It's a 'Ville tradition to reach the Final Four, what with six appearances in the past 10 seasons. "But while we should be thankful to be here," as Ellison later recounted, "we hadn't come off with the championship yet. And Rodney was telling us that would be something new."


Despite Louisville's stunning improvement- after a 19-18 season, it went 32-7 this year, winning 20 of its last 22 games- Crum joined such luminous clipboard carriers as Jim Dutcher, the Minnesota coach who quit in January after three of his players were arrested for sexual assault, in receiving exactly one of the 192 votes cast by sportswriters in the Associated Press Coach of the Year balloting. One is also the number of four-year Cardinals that Crum has failed to guide to at least one Final Four in his 15 years at Louisville. Let's hope the electors were trying to make the point that Crum isn't Coach of the Year, but maybe Coach of the Last Fifteen. (Crum voted for Krzyzewski in the coaches' own Coach of the Year balloting; Krzyzewski abstained. "They don't let Polish coaches vote," said Coach K. "Besides, I take offense when I'm asked to mark an X.")


Perhaps Crum is overlooked in these popularity contests because he does so little in extremes. He doesn't overcoach, overprepare or overreact. This season alone, he had one player blithely skip a practice ( Wagner), another bolt a game early (Mark McSwain) and a third skip a game altogether (Kevin Walls). In each case his reaction was that of a guy who likes, as Wagner says, "to listen to that Kenny Rogers stuff."


Crum's only real passion is for the novels of Louis L'Amour, author of 100-plus Westerns. "I get so involved in them that they can take my mind off anything," says Crum, who owns many of L'Amour's books. "I've read each one at least twice." Like Crum, L'Amour produces consistently, and like Crum's team, he features rugged individualists who band together to get the job done.


Louis L'Amour, Louisville l'amour. You have to love the 'Ville and its Card-carrying freshman Ellison. Reserve some space on the shelf for the next title.


This was a legends-once-removed Final Four in which John Wooden, Dean Smith and Bob Knight met by proxy. Each had a protιgι leading a team: Wooden, Crum; Smith, Kansas's Larry Brown; and Knight, Krzyzewski. And if no one from Minot (N. Dak.) State Teachers College or anywhere else was stepping eagerly forward to claim LSU's Dale Brown as a disciple, no matter; Brown was passing himself off as a whole different breed of believer. "David and Goliath isn't a Greek myth," he said on the eve of the Saturday afternoon semifinal with favored Louisville. "It's a Biblical truth."


Brown's Tigers certainly seemed David-like at halftime Saturday when they led the Cards by eight. LSU had out-scrapped and outhustled the 'Ville. Forward Don Redden, whose head fake could lure a mesquite stump out of an arid riverbed, kept the Cards constantly off balance, and at one point 6'6" Ricky Blanton growled so loudly at Ellison that Never Nervous Pervis was rattled into a bad pass.


At halftime Crum was particularly irked at Wagner, who had gone a tepid 2 for 6 with four turnovers. "Coach is smooth," said Wagner. "Cool Hand Luke. He don't throw no chairs, but he gets his point across. He said, 'You're my senior leader and you're playing like a freshman.' We took his advice and took it to our knowledge."


And took it to LSU. Over those five minutes that Taylor referred to, the Cards went on a 17-1 run. Wagner had four hoops in that stretch, including three long jumpers, while Louisville's press began to take its toll, forcing LSU to shoot sooner than it would have liked. "We couldn't get into a rhythm after we beat their press up the floor," said Brown when the 88-77 loss was over.


Like LSU, Kansas looked terrific early, charging out to an 8-2 lead over Duke. But then the Jayhawks' Ron Kellogg launched an air ball, which only got the notorious Duke student section into the game. The Blue Devils grabbed the lead before Kansas scored again, on a hook shot by 7-foot Greg Dreiling. As for 6'11" Danny Manning, the Jayhawks' star forward spent much of the first half on the bench because of foul trouble and sank only one field goal against Alarie all night.


Final Four week began inauspiciously for Manning. When Kansas checked into Dallas's swank Adolphus Hotel, Manning espied the well-stocked pantry in his room and gobbled a jar of cashews without realizing a $10 charge would be posted to his account. Come Saturday, Alarie similarly devoured Manning. He kept the Jayhawk soph from getting the ball-and thus his favored flick-jumper- and helped goad Manning and Dreiling into the very foul trouble that Larry Brown had said his team would have to avoid to win. Said Duke's David Henderson, "You can tell when an impact player isn't having a big impact."


Manning's only other field goal- it came over Jay Bilas after Alarie was caught in a switch- put Kansas up 65-61 with 4:25 left. "We don't worry at a time like that," said Alarie. "We pick ourselves up and execute more sharply." Dawkins threw in a jumper from the top of the key, Alarie forced a Manning miss and Duke controlled, with a chance to tie. Alarie took Henderson's whip pass, dunked the ball and at the same time drew Manning's fifth foul. Duke was even at 65, and Manning joined Dreiling, who'd fouled out three minutes earlier, on the bench.


The Blue Devils now knew they would have their way in the paint. Moments later, with the score tied at 67, Danny Ferry slapped both palms to the floor, as Dookies- even freshmen Dookies- do to remind themselves to give ground grudgingly, and then he snatched an errant Thompson shot.


With :58 left, Duke caucused. "I told them to take the first available good shot and then hit the boards," said Krzyzewski. Alarie's long jumper from the left side bounded off the rim and into the lane where Dawkins was again loitering. "Or that's what they tell me," shrugged Dawkins, who can't remember tipping the bouncing ball. "It all happened so fast." The ball ended up at the feet of the 6'10" Ferry, who bent over, picked it up and laid it into the basket: 69-67 Duke.


In a minute and a half Ferry, the freshman among seniors, had slapped the floor, cleaned the floor and hit the floor, all in the service of what became a 71-67 Duke win. "A great feeling," Alarie said. "But then, we're not supposed to have fun. It'll ruin our image."


On Monday, though, it was Louisville that had all the fun.