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FINAL FOUR NOTES

Kansas' Rush saw Memphis coming

April 06, 2008|Chris Dufresne and Robyn Norwood | Times Staff Writers

SAN ANTONIO -- It's Kansas against Memphis for the NCAA title on Monday, and Kansas players said they weren't surprised.

"I definitely expected this matchup because Memphis is a great school," guard Brandon Rush said. "They've got a great team. They get up and down the floor like North Carolina does and we do. Yeah, I definitely expected this, big-time."

In a twist, Rush is playing for the NCAA championship because he tore his anterior cruciate ligament. He had declared for the NBA draft last year, then withdrew because of the knee injury. He underwent surgery last June.

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"It definitely means the world to me. This was one of my goals since I've been back at Kansas, during my whole rehabbing thing," said Rush, a brother of Kareem and JaRon Rush.

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North Carolina guard Ty Lawson was duly impressed by the Kansas running game.

"That's the first team I've seen since I've been here that came running back at me downcourt," he said.

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Kansas Coach Bill Self, on North Carolina's going from trailing by 28 in the first half to down 17 at the half to trailing by four in the second half to losing by 18.

"Momentum just switched jerseys," he said.

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Memphis Coach John Calipari said after defeating UCLA he wasn't going to watch the Kansas-North Carolina game.

"I'm going down to the River Walk and do a power walk to use up some energy and then figure out who the heck we're playing on Monday," he said.

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The nine blocked shots by Kansas tied the NCAA tournament record in a semifinal game. . . . Kansas is making its eighth appearance in the NCAA championship game. The Jayhawks won the title in 1952 and 1988.

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chris.dufresne@latimes.com

robyn.norwood@latimes.com

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