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KU fans rally behind Jayhawks at Sprint Center

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, March 24, 2013, at 9:33 p.m.

— Even University of North Carolina coach Roy Williams was thrilled for his former Jayhawks.

OK, maybe thrilled is a little strong.

“Congratulations to Kansas,” Williams said Sunday after his Tar Heels lost 70-58 to KU at the Sprint Center. “They’re a No. 1 seed for a reason.”

KU will take that top seed to its 30th Sweet 16 and sixth in 10 years under coach Bill Self. The Jayhawks will play Michigan on Friday in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Michigan, a fourth seed, will be KU’s toughest match so far in the tournament.

“We want Michigan,” KU senior point guard Elijah Johnson said. “Michigan is one of the best.

“We wouldn’t feel right about winning the championship if we didn’t beat the best. That would be false advertising.”

Michigan advanced to the regional semifinal for the first time since 1994 by defeating No. 5-seed Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday. The Wolverines finished fourth in the Big 10 regular season.

For the Jayhawks to defeat North Carolina, they had to rally from a nine-point halftime deficit.

Great Bend resident Sharon Damon had courtside seats for KU’s victory. During the Jayhawks’ furious second-half rally, Damon screamed out, “Mama doesn’t like to lose!” and drew laughter from the group around her.

“The fans got it together and got them coming back,” Damon said of the pro-KU crowd at the Sprint Center. “They’ve been a second-half team all year, and they were again tonight.

“It was a little tense there for a while, but they pulled it off.”

Contributing: Tony Adame of The Eagle

Reach Rick Plumlee at 316-268-6660 or rplumlee@wichitaeagle.com.

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