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Big 12 Champs: KU 'euphoric' after 74-65 win over Texas Tech, but Jayhawks still hungry for more

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) shows off his piece of the net to the fans following the Jayhawks' 74-65 Big 12 Tournament championship win over Texas Tech on Saturday, March 12, 2022 at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City.

Kansas City, Mo. — For a full 40 minutes on Saturday night, the sixth-ranked Kansas men’s basketball team pushed and pounded a physically imposing Texas Tech team for every inch it got during a 74-65 win in the Big 12 championship game.

And for the next 40 minutes, the Jayhawks were too happy to feel a single one of the bumps and bruises they collected during the hard-fought game that validated their regular season conference title.

“I am on a euphoric high from winning,” said KU big man David McCormack, who led the Jayhawks with 18 points and 11 rebounds in Saturday’s win.

Confetti fell. Kansas players climbed the podium. And the Jayhawks, as a group, collected two more trophies following Saturday’s win — one for the team title and one belonging to tournament MVP Ochai Agbaji.

These types of moments, of course, have been commonplace throughout Kansas basketball’s rich history. But it had been four years since the program celebrated this achievement in this building, and only a couple of players on this roster were there for that one back in 2018.

Never was that more evident than during the customary net-cutting ceremony on the court at the north basket.

After trying to figure out what order the players would climb the ladder in — freshmen went first, with Zach Clemence leading off — a couple of KU veterans even had a tough time figuring out exactly what to do.

As he grabbed the scissors from freshman guard Bobby Pettiford, Agbaji asked a simple question: “What do I do?”

He soon figured it out and, at the top of the ladder, after clipping his keepsake, showed it off to both sides of the area with a big smile and a gesture of joy and approval.

“I’ve cut down nets in high school,” said Agbaji, who scored 16 points in Saturday’s win, grabbing seven rebounds in 38:19 minutes of playing time. “But this one’s different.”

The same was true for senior guard Remy Martin, who played arguably his best game as a Jayhawk on Saturday, finishing with 12 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals and zero turnovers in 26 minutes.

“I don’t think we would’ve won the game without Remy,” Kansas coach Bill Self said on the court after the win. “I thought he was great.”

As he left the T-Mobile Center locker room with his sunglasses on and his piece of the net tied to his hat, Martin was asked to recall the last time he participated in a net-cutting ceremony.

“Never,” he said. “I’ve never cut nets, and I’m planning to cut a couple more.”

Related document

Box score: Kansas 74, Texas Tech 65 ( .PDF )

Forced into action a little more because of two quick fouls on KU point guard Dajuan Harris Jr., Martin showed that his production and improvement that splashed during the first two days of the tournament was no fluke.

Against one of the nation’s toughest defenses, on one of college basketball’s biggest stages, Martin enjoyed moments where he absolutely took over.

He scored the final 10 points of the first half for Kansas, which led by one (37-36) at the break. And he was a key part of pushing the pace and keeping KU (28-6) in attack mode from start to finish.

Martin, who has said throughout his time with the program that his main priority was winning, admitted after Saturday’s victory that he was “happy I got to contribute a little bit more today.”

“It means a lot just for the simple fact of him trusting me,” Martin added of Self’s decision to play him his highest number of minutes since Dec. 18.

After the first round of on-court celebrations had subsided, Self doubled down on just how big this tournament was for Martin.

“I don’t know that I anticipated him playing that many minutes,” Self began. “But now that he has, it will certainly give me more confidence to know that we can go that direction and ride with it.”

Added Agbaji of his roommate Martin: “He was great. This was his tournament, I think. He played so good.”

Operating in sync from the opening game of the season through Saturday’s tough win over Texas Tech (25-9), Agbaji and Self both emphasized how much of a team effort their latest victory was.

“We had a whole team step up,” Self said. “It’s always sweet to win (and) these guys deserve it. I thought this tournament was the best we’ve played for a while. We’re a different ballclub than we were a couple months ago.”

The team’s toughness has a lot to do with that reality, and Self, who never tosses that word around lightly, went to it repeatedly in the aftermath of Saturday’s victory.

He talked about Jalen Wilson being the team’s best player in the second half, scoring all 12 of his points in the final 20 minutes, with most of them coming off of what Self called “power ball.”

He talked about Martin’s speed and quickness creating a different dimension and offered, as his best example, the play where Martin jumped into a passing lane after a Kansas bucket and forced Texas Techc forward Kevin Obanor to hesitate and then step over the end line giving the ball back to Kansas, which led 66-60 at the time. Wilson followed with one of those tough buckets on the ensuing possession and the four quick points essentially sealed the victory.

Self also praised McCormack for his gritty performance, saying, “He put us on his back last week when we beat Texas in a brawl and today he basically did the same thing in a pretty physical game, as well.”

“I’ve coached them pretty hard and been on their butt all year long,” Self said on the court during the celebration. “But I think they’re playing to a toughness level that we haven’t played to all year long.”

With that has come newfound confidence and an even greater sense of togetherness.

While Saturday’s win — and the celebration that followed — was big for so many people in this program, those who spoke after the victory made it clear that no one in the Kansas locker room viewed their latest achievement as the top of the mountain.

Far from it, in fact.

“In the locker room, when we walked in, the first thing we said is ‘six games,’” Braun said Saturday night. “So we’re already set on our next goal. We’ve got six games left to accomplish our goal and that’s what we want to do.”

Added Agbaji: “I think it started on the podium even before that. We were like, ‘We like this feeling, let’s do it again,’ that kind of stuff. So we were enjoying the moment but also knowing that we want more.”

After enjoying the tournament title for a few hours Saturday night, Self said KU’s focus would shift to the next step in the journey on Sunday.

Along with the rest of the college basketball world, the Jayhawks will learn their postseason path during the NCAA Tournament Selection Show at 5 p.m. Sunday on CBS.

Most projections have Kansas as one of the four No. 1 seeds, and Self and the Jayhawks believe they have earned that.

“I’m not an expert,” Self said. “But there’s no way we’re not a 1 seed. I don’t know where we’ll go. I’d bet we’ll be in the Midwest, but who knows.”

Added Agbaji: “I believe (we are). I think we should (be). But that doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things. We’ve just got to be ready to play one game at a time. … We have more trophies to chase. These guys know it. We were saying it on the podium. We’ve gone 2-for-2; we’re trying to go 3-for-3.”

Comments

Barry Weiss

Monster game by D Mac! Tech is a premier defensive team, so beating them is a great way to go into the NCAA's.

Another good game from Remy. I'm sure Rodney will come on here and complain that he missed a defensive assignment some where, but the fact is Remy brings great energy to the team. He can break down a tough defense like Tech similar to the great Tyshawn Taylor. Go Remy, some of us believe in you! B12 Champs!!!

6 months, 4 weeks ago

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Rodney Crain

Thanks for the call out Barry. Always a pleasure to respond to your post.

If Remy won the Wooden Award, the MVP of the NCAA Championship, Scored in double digits, zero TO's, 10 assists. - for every remaining game, he would still suck on defense!

He does not know what he is doing on that side of the floor. He just doesn't. As Matt said - for better or worse, till the end of this season, this is the best we will see from him. Maybe some offense, but he will still leave his man, over and over. He can't help himself.

My tally - he misplayed 7 D assingments, he fouled in the lane when we wanted the clock to run near the end of the game. He is just not a smart player on D.

He played well on offense the last two games. TCU we were up and in control from the opening tip. Tonight we controlled the last 4 minutes. Low risk when we are leading but Self will have a very short leash for him like he has had all season.

6 months, 4 weeks ago

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Joe Ross

"Another good game from Remy"?

I stopped reading the comment at that point.

He had a good one yesterday, though...

6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Rodney Crain

Thanks for clearing that up??? We were all wondering that Joe.

6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Rodney Crain

Congrats to our Jayhawks. Great win. Well deserved and it looks like we are peaking, at JUST the right time.

6 months, 4 weeks ago

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Blake Brown

Yahoo! Wanted it more. We're a lot tougher now and the Big Xll contributed to it. 3 pretty good games in 3 days. Keep it going Jayhawks.

6 months, 4 weeks ago

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Kit Duncan

Way to go Jayhawks! Hard fought, well deserved win!

6 months, 4 weeks ago

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Garry Wright

Great win and it put us only two all-time wins behind Kentucky. Depending on how the Big Dance pans out, we might even catch or pass them this season.

6 months, 4 weeks ago

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Rodney Crain

Most wins again?

Really?

Garry if you would be so kind, let me know when the t-shirts and hats come out when we reach most wins. I will need the ones that have an * on mine of course.

6 months, 4 weeks ago

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Brett McCabe

Rodney, again. It is a thing. Most wins is most wins. If you want a t-shirt with highest win percentage, go get one. And people will make fun of it. Because it sounds like you are from KSU, making up stuff to make you more relevant.

6 months, 4 weeks ago

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Rodney Crain

Brett, again it's not. I can see why you would think that.

6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Garry Wright

Rodney, it's your privilege to respond however you want to concerning who has the most wins. For me and many KU fans, it's a big deal. We were in a tight race with UK to be the first to win 1,000. They just barely beat us to it. We were 52 wins behind them towards the end of the Ted Owens era. Since then we have been gaining on them and are now only two wins behind them. That's quite an accomplishment. And I'll be very happy when we pass them. You can buy whatever t-shirt pleases you. We need all KU fans to be happy.

6 months, 4 weeks ago

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Rodney Crain

Put another way - if you could true up the games UK has played to match us (we have played 150 more games), or if you added 4 more seasons (we have played before them), either one you want, we are trailing them by a lot more games. We would be 114 wins behind them in games played (their winning % is 76%+, ours is 72%), if you added 4 more years to their W/L (when they started, less games played then) around 30 wins behind them.

It would at least be Apples to Apples then to KY.

If you do that though with North Carolina too (73.5%), they would be 2nd and we would be 3rd. They are currently 3rd.

6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Rodney Crain

I stand corrected. Unicorns do exist.

For every "other" school, including the other bluebloods, no one cares about this mythical stat.

I say mythical because, we played 150 more games than anyone else during 4+ more years. You cannot win a race with a head start over eveyone else.

It is what some KU fans hold sacred, when they are frustrated that we do not have as many National Championships as Duke, UCLA, NC, and Kentucky.

6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Len Shaffer

So if I understand you correctly, Rodney, no record in sports should count unless it's by percentage?

In other words, the home run record shouldn't be for who has the most home runs, but who has the most home runs per game (or the fewest at bats per home run)?

Same for hits, doubles, etc. in baseball, and scoring, rebounds, etc. in basketball???

Rodney, I have a suggestion: why don't you get everyone to throw out all of the old record books and create your own? I'm sure they'd be best sellers.

6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Rodney Crain

Lee when you get it wrong you really get it wrong. WOW this is funny on many levels lol.

Your list is personal achievements? What "someone" has done. Most wins is a "team" record or we have done. Someone's record is within a sport, thus personal records are equal. Somewhat... see below.

Also you list baseball as your examples, there are * asterisks on a lot of personal records in baseball, you know steroids? That Barry Bond thing. Cheating. Not sure you thought this through.

Also in baseball they talk about how Maris hit 61 in 154 games vs.162 what bonds played. Bonds hit more home runs 73, while cheating with steroids(alleged) and playing in more games. There is a lot of talk about records in baseball. Oh one last thing, no one in baseball really talks about most wins.

From your post it is obvious you not only do not understand me, I think this might have gone over your head. Baseball was the wrong sport to counter my posts with. You kind of proved my point actually, in a roundabout way, so thank you I guess?

You should not claim most wins, without noting that you have played more games for longer. Another way you should say it is we have the most wins, but we played 150 more games to accomplish it. PS- you have to count when you lose to compare total games. (shhh - we have lost more than most of the top win schools. Shhh no one likes to bring that up in these posts. Keep that between us).

6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Brad Watson

Remy was my MVP....he was just off the charts with his leadership and his skill level...now I see why he was preseason pick for player of the year...if he plays like he did tonight going forward....this team might be able to do something special...David's play was incredible...but the two man game between Remy and Wilson was the difference in the game.during that stretch in the middle of the 2nd half....Great job by all....Congrats on finishing it off in style against a great opponent....get your rest...shoot a lot of free throws and get focused for next week!!! "94 ft. of Hell"!!!!!

6 months, 4 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

What an unbelievable championship game! The Jayhawks executed their game plan as well as they could against such a stingy Red Raider defense. Remy Martin and David McCormack picked excellent nights to have big games. The game was a joy to watch, as the team came together and worked together and showed that they truly are the best in the Big 12!

ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!

6 months, 4 weeks ago

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Steve Zimmerman

Congrats KUMBB team! This season has been a roller coaster for Martin - but agreed with other posts on Martin's superb performance tonight - regardless his flaws on defense, as Rodney always complains about - at least he contributes in other areas: steals, rebounds, taking charges, other than scoring & creating shots for others. He's our Yurugu that sometimes even makes coach BS pulls his hair.... :D !!!
Let's hope we will only see good Martin from this point on.
ROCK CHALK!!!!

6 months, 4 weeks ago

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Lee Short

Garry Wright, thanks for noting the wins by KU. Most fans would have the same interest0 following this stat. The value of this stat has been cogently laid out in the past. If someone doesn't like the stat, great. No one says they have to. Most Kentucky and Kansas fans, however, do care about it. And, this is a fan page. Announcers, realizing this, have probably mentioned it to national TV audiences at least a dozen times.

Barry Weiss, Bryce Landon and Steve Zimmerman, whereas I have observed Remy having several defensive miscues and even seemed lost sometimes, I agree with the spirit of what you guys are saying. Although he didn't start the game, you can see why Self left him in for 26 minutes. Good call by the HOF coach.

6 months, 4 weeks ago

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Rodney Crain

Lee, just to clearify, most fans at KU only would care.

6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Shannon Gustafson

Yeah, I'm sure no recruit would find any value in someone telling them they could play for the winningest program of all time. They'd surely want to know how the winning percentage compared to other programs, strength of schedule during each season, head to head records, etc. before deciding whether there was any value in the statement. Sounds reasonable for a 16-17 year old kid.

6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Rodney Crain

Or, try to stay with me Shannon, they want to know that playing here helps them get drafted to play in the NBA. Wins vs. Millions of dollars hmm which one means more? Or, this is another counter point Shannon, If you come here you are gonna to win now which means championships, and play in March Madness every year. Wins vs. Rings. Or, sorry Shannon I know this is a lot to read, Come here and be an All American, a Wooden finalist, a name on a banner in the rafters. Banner vs, wins. Or, I know this is overkill Shannon but you are confused, Play in the best home court in the Nation on national TV repeatedly. Wins vs. Fame. Or sorry I know your head is hurting but this is the last one, you are gonna to play with other great players, live in a very nice place, and get excellent coaching. Wins vs. Elite team, coaches, and comfort.

See a common thread here? It is about what is important for them "now".

Shannon "most wins" if a teenager even cares about it, does not compare to Money, Championships, nor Fame. It never will.

It's a throw away line for an announcer who wants to hype a blueblood before the game on TV.

This was fun, keep trying Shannon, one day you will get it right.

6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Mallory Briggans

Why are some surprised by Remys performance today .its always been there the points we got from Remy were probably the difference in the game ,i doubt very seriously that Harris would have given the scoring punch Remy did. Self kills me complaining about not having a bench when you have Remy JCL and Yesufu very capable players siting on the bench .

6 months, 4 weeks ago

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Brad Watson

Remy was a different player tonight than he has been all year...if he continues to play like he did tonight...this team might be able to do something special...he was sensational tonight and my MVP!!!

6 months, 4 weeks ago

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Chad Smith

man, great game by the hawks. very happy with the W. tech is a legitimate squad. KU showed a pulse on D and rebounded, made hustle plays, got out in transition when they could and moved the ball well for the most part on offense and nearly everyone contributed that played. great team win. the only thing....no Mitch NO!!! please heal up, we are going to need Grandpa Mitch!

6 months, 4 weeks ago

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Luke Smith

Not to burst the D Mac bubble, but he was almost a wash. He was part of at least 10 turnovers and gave up as many points as he scored. Remy is a basket case but he willed us to a win tonight. He had key plays on both sides. JW also. He had some open court problems but he was grinding inside. It was pretty loud in there tonight. ISU and TTU fans were not happy.

6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Dirk Medema

Knew there was going to be a complaint when Remy fouled in the last minute. JWil did also, though we don’t have a missed assignment count on him or the others. Maybe no one else missed an assignment. I think the team leading 3 steals is also a D stat.

DaJuan was having an off night, and Joe was pretty vanilla as well. Coach played Remy today because he was leading the team. It’s been a season long development process, but that’s why Coach is HOF with a lifetime contract.

Really cool that this is Remy’s first championship. We expect them as some sort of entitlement. Super happy for him. Probably means a lot more.

6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Rodney Crain

If only Remy played D like JW. Oh those would be happy days.

Remy is a clear and ever present D Liabilty. JW is not.

6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Dirk Medema

Also checked actual stats (vs hearsay) regarding the alleged “short leash”. Remy played 20+ mpg and 30+ in many games until he was injured.

Just like David, Coach knows and has publicly stated, that he needs to maximize the performance of those 2 for the team to reach full potential. They get a lot more leash than others because of it.

6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Rodney Crain

Except when they don't get a lot more leasg Dirk. Early Remy was being pulled, sometimes after one possession, scolded then put back in. This happened often with him. There's video of these games, you should watch it.

DMac has beed inconsistent for most of the season. Seamed we did fairly well without missing either of them too much. DMac was likely a question mark each game, due to his injury as Self mentioned. Remy, has been terrible all year on D.

6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Rodney Crain

its late sorry about spelling

6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Dirk Medema

Pulled and put right back in to the tune of 20+ & 30+ minutes a game sounds like teaching and a long leash vs others on an actual short leash that are subbed out and sit. But maybe in bazaro world that’s not the case.

6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Rodney Crain

Your wrong, It's a short leash when the player is a senior, who plays like a freshman. He does not play smart on D, he is takes questionable shots out of rhythm, and at least 2-3 times a game he you will see him confirm with his famous "I do not know what to do hands up" shrugg that he has no clue what he he is doing. Short leash. Very short leash.

6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Robert Lofthouse

What I saw last night was a team effort. Never gave up. Never got discouraged. Kept fighting for loose balls. No hesitation. If they were perfect, they'd be undefeated. But they're not, and they enter the big dance with high expectations, double-BIGXII Champs, a tremendous amount of energy, a lot of interchangeable players working together for a common goal. They are battle-tested and somehow find a way to win. As Bill Self stated, they believe they are a talented team. Their play underscores that belief. Playing like they did in the regular season stretch run and through the BIGXII tournament, this is a final four caliber team that appears to be peaking at the right time. Only time will tell, but the ride, for this fan, is well-worth it!

6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Mallory Briggans

GOOD MORNING ! I slept well after us winning , my only downer was I bought a bottle of wine to celebrate but my wife threw my corkscrew away and didnt tell me ( she thinks i drink too much ) so it sits unopened this morning ................anywho I saw a comment that the alltime win total only matters to Kansas fans ..........well i check out the Kentucky homepage as well from time to time Kentucky also keeps track and reports it to their fans as well ...............so i guess it matters to Kentucky as too .................

6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Rodney Crain

They seem to be focused on wanting to catch UCLA in NCs/

6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Andy Godwin

As posted previously, the best thing to come from the Big 12 tournament after winning of course, was it gave Self time to let Remy Martin play some meaningful minutes. Dajaun Harris is my favorite point guard because of his defense and all-out effort, but it became clear during the game that TTU was playing 5 on 4 and would let Harris shoot at will (finished 0-3 from 3 and zero points). It also become evident that the point guard position needed to provide some scoring for KU to win. Martin, who was the first player off the bench to replace Harris missed his first two 3-point attempt and then Yesufu went 0-2 raising concern that the offensive production from the point guard position would drag the team down. Martin hit his next two 3-point attempts and finish with a much needed 10 points in the first half. His role changed in the second half when he dished out all 4 of his assists. Clearly a great team effort. David fought through contact from 2, 3 and even 4 Red Raiders (5-10 from the field and 8-9 from the line), Jalen Wilson scored all 12 of his points in the second half, Braun went 8-9 from the line to finish with 14 points, and all while KU’s best player struggled with 5 turnovers but still finished with 16 point and 7 rebounds. If KU can become more of a threat from the point guard position, teams will have a harder time keying on Agbaji. Here is hoping McCormack can continue to fight through the pain, that Lightfoot is not out due to a knee injury, and that Martin can provide an offensive punch when needed. Lastly, the fans were great. I think that was the loudest KU game I have heard at the T-Mobile Center. Rock Chalk.

6 months, 3 weeks ago

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