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Published: Sun, March 19, 2017
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

KU fans pack BOK Center for Jayhawks' first practice at NCAA tourney

KU fans pack BOK Center for Jayhawks' first practice at NCAA tourney

KNOWING HOW TO WIN: UC Davis coach Jim Les is the first coach in NCAA history to win games in four different postseason tournaments. "You know, I don't fear anybody, but I respect everybody, and I feel like the way we play defense we can make any game a game". "When that ball goes up on Friday I'm not going to be thinking about what seeds [we are facing] - we're going to be playing basketball, competing at basketball, and like I said, the chips will fall where they may". "We got some really good practice in". Even the backups would probably be the top dogs on UC Davis team. "But if we end up playing them, then it's all business". So we can't be looking past any teams.

"It's something that I've always dreamed about and now it's happening", he said.

"It still hasn't sunk in what we're doing, " said Chima Moneke, a junior-college transfer who averaged 14.4 points for the Big West champion UC Davis, a school of 35,000 students west of Sacramento.

Jackson did explain that he feels like he "made a couple mistakes that could have been avoided, small mistakes" but said there's nothing he can do about it now.

"For this being my first time and a lot of my teammates' first time, the experience from leaving school to getting on the plane to getting off the plane was just tremendous, " said Patrick Cole, a senior guard who led NC Central (25-8) with 19.5 points per game.

Jackson is able to try to do those things thanks to the end of his one-game suspension, which was announced before the Big 12 tournament after it was revealed he was cited for backing into a vehicle on campus in February after not reporting the incident to police. "And I'm just trying to be leader and lead our younger guys, especially our freshmen".

Asked what he learned from his involvement and the aftermath of a December dispute at The Yacht Club with a member of the women's basketball team, Jackson pointed to his evolving maturity. And that bond and that resiliency to keep that going and keep this group together is what really motivates them, I think. A lot of us have been looked over our whole lives. I had moments where I thought I was never going to make one again. But with Wichita State's convincing win over Seton Hall a day earlier, the little guys went 2-2 in the first round. "I have every reason to believe that he'll handle everything very well".

Before coaching, Les was a standout at Notre Dame and at Bradley and was the 70th overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft, selected in the third round by the Atlanta Hawks.

"I think he's handled it great", Mason said.

"Josh is a great kid". We tell him to focus on the things he can take care of and that's exactly what he does.

"And we're just proud of how far he came so far throughout his year, and we're just focused on today and we're not really anxious about anything off the court".

"I think my greater value to them is having been a player and all the things I've experienced just helping them deal with their mindset", he said.

UC Davis slipped past North Carolina Central 67-63 in a matchup of 16 seeds.

The Kansas Jayhawks (28-4) are ranked No. 3 in the nation, but they are no lower than No.1 in their minds.

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