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Final Four Notebook

Really good at rallying

Jayhawks refuse to lose faith while facing a deficit

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / April 2, 2012
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NEW ORLEANS - Sometimes they don’t appear interested. Sometimes they look flat. Many times they look like a team that can just as easily be blown out of a game as blow another team away.

Yet, we are down to the final game of the 2011-12 NCAA basketball season and the Kansas Jayhawks are still here, 40 minutes from winning a second national championship in five years.

Kansas will be in Monday night’s title game against Kentucky at the Superdome because it beat Ohio State, 64-62, on Saturday night after trailing by 13 points on five occasions.

The Jayhawks needed similar second-half comebacks against North Carolina State and North Carolina in the Midwest Regional semifinals and final.

A week earlier, they had to overcome a 6-point deficit to beat Purdue.

In five games in this NCAA Tournament, Kansas has been behind at halftime four times, leading only in an opening win over Detroit.

If the Jayhawks are trailing Kentucky at halftime on Monday night, they could be in trouble, since the Wildcats are 31-0 this season when leading at the break.

“The guys somehow find a way to win,’’ said Kansas coach Bill Self on Sunday. “They’re finding a way to win on the biggest stage. You look at our last four tournament games. Purdue had us down and out. N.C. State, a one-possession game. Carolina is a one-possession game. Ohio State had us down and out.

“It’s remarkable to me to see how much these guys have matured, grown, trust each other. It’s been a blast to watch from the sidelines.’’

Laying down the law

A day after raucous celebrations led to more than two dozen arrests, police said Sunday that they are ready to control crowds near the University of Kentucky’s campus when the Wildcats play for the national championship.

Lexington police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said several hundred officers will be out in force on Monday to help keep order.

“We’re prepared,’’ she said. “We expect a majority of people to obey the law.’’

Police plan a few adjustments from Saturday, when thousands of fans spilled onto streets after Kentucky defeated cross-state rival Louisville. Fans torched couches and overturned a car before setting it ablaze.

Roberts said police did a good job of getting rowdy fans under control. Officers arrested 27 people on minor charges, such as disorderly conduct and alcohol intoxication.

Police who had braced for the possibility of postgame violence resorted to pepper spray, though large amounts weren’t needed before officers ultimately began dispersing the throngs.

Coming up empty

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor is 0 for 20 on 3-pointers in the tournament, which is startling since he made almost 40 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc during the regular season. “I’m definitely due, man,’’ he said. “I think the basketball gods are with me [Monday]. I’ve got to make one. I can’t leave like this.’’ . . . Kentucky will be playing in its 11th national championship game, but the Wildcats have not won a title since 1998.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Mark Blaudschun can be reached at blaudschun@globe.com.

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