Shortly after 2
a.m., Manning took a call on his cellphone. "I got him! I got Manning!"
shouted the young caller to his friends before hanging up. After the guy dialed
Manning's number two more times in the next five minutes, the other coaches
chuckled. "Danny Manning! Danny Manning!" they teased.
ON MONDAY night,
however, Self and his staff were all business, and their game plan accomplished
something UCLA's couldn't two days earlier, obstructing the Tigers' fearsome
drives with a sagging man-to-man defense. Although Kansas didn't shut down Rose
and Douglas-Roberts (22 points), the Memphis backcourt couldn't match its usual
efficiency, shooting a combined 14 for 33. "I think I did a pretty good job
on [Douglas-Roberts]," said Rush. "In the second half I tried to buckle
down and sit down on his left hand. Then my team helped me out, too."
When it was over,
as confetti cannons belched and chants of Rock Chalk, Jayhawk echoed through
the Alamodome, Rush and Manning, player and assistant coach, met at half-court
for a long embrace. Talk about your college hoops flashbacks. On a glorious
spring night 20 years ago in Kansas City, a transcendent number 25 in Kansas
blue (Manning) led the Jayhawks to a national title. On Monday night in San
Antonio, another number 25 in Kansas blue (Rush) helped take over a
championship game that appeared lost and put KU back into the history books.
The calendar may be different, and the uniform shorts a little longer, but that