Our View Editorial
Like most every Kansan, we were jumping for joy Monday night with the University of Kansas' thrilling overtime victory over Memphis in the NCAA basketball championship game.
It's been 20 years since KU last brought a national title home to the state of Kansas and it certainly feels good. Of course, nestled in Douglas County near KU's Lawrence home, we'd like to think we can take even greater pride in the team's championship. We do.
The national spotlight is once again shining on the KU Nation and it feels good to bask in it. We're also proud of how the Jayhawks - and, regardless of affiliation, we're all Jayhawkers - have represented our state through the title run.
Through the massive celebrations on Massachusetts Street in Lawrence both after Saturday's semifinal win over North Carolina and Monday's title romp, there were no reports of any senseless damage as occurs in many places after championships. And, that's despite an estimated 60,000 people crowding the downtown location.
But, most of all we're pleased with the incredible string of victories that KU put together. The dramatic win over Cinderella Davidson was huge. To beat former KU coach Roy Williams' Carolina Tar Heels was too.
As big as those were, though, Monday's thriller topped them easily. Down nine points with two minutes to go seemed insurmountable. But, Memphis choked at one of basketball's most important fundamentals - hitting free throws. That opened the door.
Mario Chalmers kicked it in.
In KU's storied tradition, one item that's been missing is hitting the buzzer-beating shot to win the game. Chalmers erased that by drilling the biggest three pointer in Jayhawk history. Memphis was done. KU cleaned it up in overtime to secure the title.
That started a celebration that will likely last for quite awhile. It did in 1988. First there were celebrations in San Antonio, site of the title game, for the large KU contingent to witness the game. Of course, that paled in comparison to the 40,000 that jammed the streets in Lawrence at the same time.
Topeka greeted the Jayhawks when they flew back from Texas to Forbes Field. Yet another bash was later Tuesday afternoon where 25,000 fans filled half of Memorial Stadium.
There will be more. The jury is still out on whether there will be a parade. We hope so. For many, that was the crowning moment of the 1988 title in Lawrence and it should be again.
Rock Chalk Jayhawk - to all.