College athletics is a small world. College basketball is smaller. (TV news is smaller if you were curious.)
Seemingly, everyone is connected in some form or fashion. It's like a 6 degrees of Jon Calipari or Kelvin Sampson.
Calipari was the coach for Memphis when they lost to KU in the 2008 National Title game. And when KU lost to Kentucky in 2012 National Title game to Kentucky? Yep.
So the Stanford players are at the podium and Canadian native Stefan Nastic was asked about his relationship with Andrew Wiggins. Sure enough, they met back in the 3rd grade.
"I play with his older brother, Nick, on our club team," Nastic said. "So I know their entire family pretty well, from the same area. A great family. Definitely great players."
Stanford knows they are the underdog vs. Kansas, Sunday. They have been the "underdog" all season, or for most of it. The players enjoy it, relish it, like it, whatever adjective you want to use with embracing it. (Another one.)
The Pac-12 is a good basketball conference, they have a number one seed and sent five teams to the tournament. The conference RPI is three, behind the Big 10 and Big 12. And the overriding theme so far has been that seeds don't matter. All teams are equal and have as good of a shot as any of the blue bloods.
Stanford says they are an elite program. Their coach Johnny Dawkins said so.
"For us, Stanford has been to the Final Four before," Dawkins said. "They have been to the tournament a number of times. It would just continue to keep Stanford, you know, where we think Stanford belongs, one of the elite programs in the country."
And that will go up against a storied program like Kansas, who continues to be all over the place. No point guard, no center, three big men but who gets them the ball? KU knows their limitations but they have a high ceiling. It's just a matter of putting the pieces together. Can they get another 25+ performance from Wiggins? Can Conner Frankamp come in and stabilize things a little more? Can Perry Ellis and Jamari Traylor have solid games again?
Stanford is one of the longest teams in the country. Tarik Black said they were NBA tall. KU needs to get them moving and, basically, run around them. Score in transition and shoot. Helps when you make the shots, too.
I would bet KU will see Memphis next weekend. How long after that, who knows? Dayton will be waiting.