Blair Kerkhoff has been with The Star since 1989. He was recognized Monday at the Final Four in Houston as part of the latest United States Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame class. Here’s part of Vahe Gregorian’s presentation as Kerkhoff was inducted.
North Carolina coach Roy Williams felt like he had to get these Tar Heels to the Final Four. His point of reference for disappointment is the 1997 Kansas team, which was 34-1 and ranked first in the nation before losing to Arizona in the NCAA Tournament.
Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield was the Big 12 player of the year as a junior, and that wasn’t good enough. He improved in several areas and returned to become one of the nation’s top players and has led the Sooners to the Final Four.
On the basketball court, North Carolina and Syracuse advanced to the Final Four. Off the floor, they failed to run clean programs in the eyes of the NCAA. Hall of Fame coaches Roy Williams and Jim Boeheim are dealing with the clouds over their programs.
The NCAA has been playing wait-and-see when it comes to religious freedom laws or constitutional amendments running through statehouses. But the organization signaled a stronger stance on Thursday if that includes a site ban, hoop-loving states like Missouri and North Carolina could feel the impact.
The Star's Sam Mellinger, Blair Kerkhoff, Jesse Newell and Vahe Gregorian discuss the Kansas Jayhawks' 64-59 loss to the Villanova Wildcats in the NCAA South Regional final Saturday night in Louisville, Ky.
Kansas had an early lead, and then the Jayhawks didn’t because it became careless with the ball, committing eight turnovers in a six-minute span. That cost KU the lead, and it mostly played uphill from there.
Sam Mellinger, Blair Kerkhoff, Jesse Newell and Vahe Gregorian preview the Kansas-Villanova NCAA Tournament South Regional final basketball game (about 7:49 p.m. Central time Saturday on CBS) in Louisville, Ky.
The Star's Blair Kerkhoff, Jesse Newell, Vahe Gregorian and Sam Mellinger recap Kansas' 79-63 victory over Maryland on Thursday in the NCAA Sweet 16 in Louisville, Ky. Video by Shane Keyser, firstname.lastname@example.org
Oregon meets Oklahoma in a West Regional final (5:09 p.m. Saturday on CBS) that pits to top two-seeded teams and coaches who are great friends and former Kansas State coaches. The Ducks’ Dana Altman followed the Sooners’ Lon Kruger in Manhattan after Altman had served on the Wildcats’ staff.
Maryland basketball coach Mark Turgeon wasn’t a major college prospect out of high school in Topeka. But he grabbed a scholarship offer from first-year KU coach Larry Brown and the Jayhawks’ fortunes started turning in 1983.
The first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament are over and six ACC teams are headed to the Sweet 16, a record for the event. Both top seeds, North Carolina and Virginia, are alive but the biggest surprise is No. 10 seed Syracuse.
The Big 12 has had rough go of it in the Big 12 Tournament since Kansas played for the 2012 national championship. And this year’s tournament started miserably with four first-round losses. But victories by Kansas and Iowa State on Saturday reversed the trend, and an Oklahoma victory on Sunday could put three conference teams in the Sweet 16.