Championship Fever Spreads Through Kansas

‘The power of sports: one accomplishment can unite an entire college community’


Ben G. (’23) visits Kansas University as the Jayhawks celebrate their NCAA Championship win.

Just a week after the Kansas Jayhawks were crowned NCAA Tournament Champions, I went on a college visit to Lawrence, Kansas, where school spirit and championship fever was at an all time high. Before I describe more of this electric atmosphere, let’s take a look at this year’s March Madness championship game.

On April 4, the one-seed Jayhawks faced off against the eight-seed North Carolina Tar Heels (UNC).  As a top three ranked team, Kansas (KU) was expected to cruise through the tournament, which they had done thus far; however, the unexpected emergence of the Tar Heels over the last month could not be overlooked. Just in the last few weeks, they had pulled off many impressive wins versus highly ranked teams such as Duke, Baylor, and UCLA. UNC wasn’t the better team in terms of talent and skill, yet they were riding a wave of momentum that was hard to ignore.

The Tar Heels quickly pounced on the Jayhawks as they held a 15-point lead going into halftime of the title game. UNC’s Armando Bacot took over in the first 20 minutes, posting an early double double (which counted towards a new NCAA Tournament record). However, this game was a tale of two halves, as Kansas stormed back after the break to nearly tie the game. After just seven minutes into the second half, the score was 46-45, and it was a back and forth game until the very last minute of action. Down the stretch, it was Jayhawks’ forward David McCormack who hit the go-ahead bucket to put Kansas up by three and seemingly clinch the win. Some late drama and critical errors from KU in the final seconds gave UNC the ball back to send the game into overtime; unfortunately for the Tar Heels, they couldn’t convert. The University of Kansas had finally won that elusive fourth national championship, and celebration followed!

When I arrived in Lawrence, Kansas, and walked down the iconic Massachusetts Street – where the championship parade had taken place just a day earlier – championship signs, shirts, hats, and newspapers filled each store. Later the next day when I went on campus, the energy was so electric and unique. It was interesting to see how school spirit and pride from the recent championship brought all students, teachers, and staff (even my tour guide) together. To me, this atmosphere represented the power of sports – how one accomplishment can unite an entire college community, and leave a lasting impact on a school and its reputation. Basketball has put KU on the map; if it wasn’t for these four impressive titles and consistent postseason success, I believe that this school wouldn’t be nearly as recognized nationally or catch as much attention from prospective students such as myself.

The last stop in my tour of KU was the iconic Allen Fieldhouse, which has served as the Jayhawks’ basketball stadium for nearly 70 years. When I first walked through its doors, I was startled by how small the building actually was. There was truly not a bad seat in the stadium, as rows of chairs were stacked on top of each other, giving an incredibly close and unique view of the court. More than a century of basketball history could be seen on the walls of Allen Fieldhouse. Dr. James Naismith’s – the inventor of basketball and Kansas’ first head coach – Rules of Basketball were on display in one corner, and a piece of the old KU court was hanging up on another wall. In the next room, the 1988 and 2008 title trophies (as well as an autographed basketball from each member of the 2007-2008 team) were sitting in an exhibit.


After the tour was over, our group was taken to the exit through a hallway, with staff offices on the left and right. Nearing the end, I looked over to my left and nearly passed out. Sitting on a reception desk was KU’s 2022 national championship trophy, which they had received not more than a week ago! I was in shock, and quickly ran over to take a picture with this recent piece of basketball memorabilia, with a grin from ear to ear. Much to the anger and dismay of the receptionist, I picked up the March Madness trophy and held it up for a second. After all, this was a once in a lifetime experience, and I was going to take full advantage of it!

 This was one of the best moments of my life, and my love for sports history and college basketball only grew from it. Congratulations to the Kansas Jayhawks on their 2022 Championship!