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Haase is a top gun

Michael Traum

Ironically, Jerod Haase and his Kansas roommate C.B. McGrath were relaxing while watching the movie “Top Gun” in their Lawrence, Kan., apartment on Sunday night.

It had been quite a day.

The Jayhawks began early with an emotional, lopsided win over Missouri, avenging their only loss of the season in grand fashion. With it came their first conference tournament title since 1992 and an exclamation point as the best team in college basketball.



Later, the group joined Coach Roy Williams to watch an NCAA Tournament pairings show. There, the nation-wide respect was solidified as the selection committee awarded top-ranked Kansas a No.1 seed in the Southwest Region and a first-round dancing date Thursday with Jackson State’s Tigers.

“It’s pretty awesome,” said Haase of the Big 12 tourney win. “It’s eluded us for a few years. We had to play well to win it. It’s nice to finally get one.”



The team celebrated with a boisterous net-cutting ceremony and a kind of dance which could only be described as, well . . .

“It’s our way of acting goofy. This has been our goal from day 1. Besides, it’s the only dance that I know how to do,” Haase said.

The team only has a couple of days to revel before it’s back to business.

Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament winner Jackson State, one of only two teams in the show with a losing record, shouldn’t pose much of a threat to the mighty Jayhawks.

But Haase, who in his career has never ventured less than into the tournament’s round of 16, knows that no one can be overlooked.

“Our bracket looks good. But we’ve respected everybody this year. This team has done a great job of concentrating on the task at hand and not worrying about the things we can’t control,” Haase said.

“We’re finally at the doorway of the NCAA Tournament. We’re not putting too much pressure on ourselves. But we won’t be satisfied unless we win the next six games. We’re confident and we’ll go in with a lot of energy.”

When the country’s “Top Gun” is playing with that kind of purpose, even Tom Cruise would have a tough time shooting them down.


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