Greetings from St. Louis--Gateway to the West; home to the Arch, the Hill and thin crust pizza; and site of the Midwest Regional final on Sunday between Kansas and North Carolina, two of the top three winningest college basketball programs in history.
Here are my observations after a rainy four-hour road trip, east on I-70, with fellow members of Jayhawk Nation and way too many semi-trucks to count:
- The NCAA continues to do all that it can to minimize the fan experience at its events. Last night's games, in the Edward Jones Dome, had a minimalist scoreboard which showed score, total fouls, time and possession arrow. There were no foul totals or score totals by player, and precious few replays.
- As expected, the Kansas fan contingent dominated the 23,964 in attendance. Ohio's small crowd made a lot of noise, as did North Carolina State. The North Carolina fan group continued its tradition of being "wine and cheese" fans, to borrow a Roy Williams phrase.
- Spotted in the Kansas crowd--Sherron Collins, former assistant coach Tim Jankovich (now at Illinois State) and, as usual, Larry Brown.
- The Morgan Street Brewery in Laclede's Landing hosted the Jayhawk pre-game festivities and was packed. The rainy weather kept fans inside which was disappointing--it would have been fun to have spilled out into the outdoor areas of this riverfront entertainment area.
- Look for North Carolina to push the action on Sunday, as is their normal routine, in order to tire Kansas. KU once again will lose the depth battle in this match-up and Williams will try to make fatigue a factor.