WATCHING HISTORY — ALMOST
Northern Iowa players were still in the Ford Center when No. 1-seeded Kansas was struggling against No. 16-seeded Lehigh late Thursday. At one point, the Jayhawks trailed 12-4 and eventually went on to a 90-74 victory.
The Panthers remained in the arena for the first half before returning to their hotel.
“We just wanted it to kind of be a close game, I guess,” UNI forward Adam Koch said. “It was fun to be able to watch it. I wouldn’t say were were pulling for (Lehigh). It’s exciting to get the opportunity to play Kansas, but at the same time, it would have been a pretty historical upset if Lehigh would have pulled it out.”
No. 1 seeds are 104-0 all-time against No. 16 seeds (since 1985).
DON’T LOOK AT ME
When asked who Fredette reminds them off, KSU’s Pullen looked at teammate Curtis Kelly, who plays forward.
“I don’t know. You guard the guards,” Kelley said, looking back at Pullen and drawing laughter. “What are you looking at me for?”
Pullen compared Fredette to Washington State guard Klay Thompson, who had 22 points earlier this season against the Wildcats.
“He has a real mentality to score the ball,” Pullen said of Fredette, who had 37 points in a double-overtime victory over Florida in Thursday’s tournament opener. “Klay is probably the only person we faced that really used screens like that. (Oklahoma State’s) James Anderson is a flat-out scorer.”
MARTIN REACHES OUT
When BYU coach Dave Rose was diagnosed with pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor cancer last summer, one of the first people in the coaching profession to call him was Kansas State’s Frank Martin.
Martin, who had pancreatitis (the swelling of the pancreas) a few years ago which for a couple of weeks was feared to be pancreatic cancer, admitted it hit home when he learned of Rose’s disease.
“I’m laying in the hospital bed, and I looked at my phone and searched to see what it is, and I found out, I believe, it’s 4 percent of the people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive it,” Martin said. “I lived with that fear for 10 days, but the good man upstairs didn’t give me that disease. When I heard coach Rose was battling that, it kind of hits close to home, someone you know actually is going through it.”
Rose, however, has had clear cancer scans since the fall and has been able to keep coaching. “His was a tumor that I believe happens to 2 percent of the people who have pancreatic cancer that can actually get cut out,” Martin said. “God is good to good people. I’m sure he’s taking care of him.”
Kansas center Cole Aldrich is running away with the school’s single-season blocked shots record. The junior center has 123 rejections this season including his five-block performance against Lehigh. Aldrich is also third on the school list with 94 blocks last year.
Today’s meeting is the second time Kansas and Northern Iowa have met in men’s basketball. KU knocked off UNI 94-60 in 1973 at Allen Fieldhouse.
NO DEJA VU, SAYS KU
Farokhmanesh hit a deep 3-pointer to give the Panthers a 69-66 first-round win over UNLV.
Kansas forward Marcus Morris is hoping he doesn’t see anything like that when the Jayhawks face UNI.
“That was a big-time shot,” Morris said. “He’s a big-time player to shoot it from that deep. Hopefully it won’t come down to that with us because he’s a clutch player and he did it once so he can do it again.”
Tyshawn Taylor isn’t surprised by what he’s seen in the first two days of the tournament.
The Kansas guard has watched No. 3 seeded Georgetown and No. 4 seed Vanderbilt fall and he doesn’t want to see the same happen to the top-seeded Jayhawks.
“I’m not surprised at all because it’s March,” Taylor said. “Everybody who is playing deserves to be here. I’m not expecting anybody to lay down.”
Compiled by Brandon Chatmon, Jake Trotter and John Rohde