Jayhawks have grown up since they played Spartans Print
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Tuesday, 24 March 2009 21:59
NCAAB Headline News


 LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -Michigan State's coaches and players will have no trouble picking it up on film. The Kansas Jayhawks have done a lot of growing up since they visited East Lansing 11 weeks ago.
In many ways, they hardly resemble the hesitant young bunch who let the Spartans go on a 19-1 run and absorbed a 75-62 shellacking on Jan. 10 at Michigan State.
Plus, the rematch on Friday night will be in Indianapolis, not East Lansing. And it will be the third round of the NCAA tournament, not the final non-conference game before the young Jayhawks got their act together and made a successful defense of their Big 12 regular-season championship.
``We played them the first time and we stunk offensively,'' coach Bill Self said Tuesday. ``We were a really bad offensive team. I think they had us down 37-18. And that's after we got off to a good start.''
points that night, but had only five points and six turnovers in the first half.
``Now we're older,'' said Self. ``I think this team will be more confident.''
One thing that hasn't changed much is Collins. He's still the point guard and leader of the defending NCAA champions.
``I think we weren't ready to play in that environment. We were still young, still trying to find our identify,'' said Collins, who scored 25 points in Sunday's 60-43 second-round victory over Dayton.
``But now I think we'll be ready for them. Them beating us is total motivation for us to come out and play like we never did before. This is the time of year your playmakers are going to make plays and everybody you expect to play well has to play well.''
Against Dayton, the Jayhawks did not exactly flash the maturity and growth they believe they've achieved since January. Cole Aldrich, the 6-foot-11 center, had a triple double with 13 points, 20 rebounds and 10 blocks, to go with Collins' 25 points.
But the three other starters did not do so well.
``We had three starters combine for two points, and that can't happen (against Michigan State),'' said Self.
As a team, the Jayhawks were given Monday off. But Self did reveal he had three players come in for a visit.
``Let me put it to you like this - I'm not concerned that will happen again,'' he said.
the fact we won the league,'' he said. ``No one can take that away from us. Nobody can take away the fact we're in the Sweet 16.
``So if they can't take that from you, there's no reason to try to hold onto it. We've just got to get to where we're in the aggressive mode all the time.''
 

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