The KU men’s basketball team won the 1988 NCAA Divison I Men’s Basketball Tournament on April 4, 1988. The Jayhawks defeated Big 8 foe Oklahoma 83-79 in Kansas City’s Kemper Arena. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the 1988 National Champions, we collected everything we’ve ever written about that season: the players, the fans, the students, and the history of one of the greatest runs the NCAA tournament has ever seen.
After a season filled with ups and downs, a 14th straight conference championship and a trip to the Final Four, the Jayhawks fell to the Villanova Wildcats Saturday night in the national semifinal.
KU fans gathered in San Antonio, Allen Fieldhouse, and at watch parties from coast to coast to watch the Jayhawks in the Final Four.
At the Final Four
More than 5,000 Jayhawks started their game day right outside the Alamodome for the pregame party hosted by the KU Alumni Association and Kansas Athletics. The KU band, Spirit Squad and mascots held a pep rally, with food trucks and cash bars nearby.
Back home in Lawrence
Dozens of Lawrence-area bars and restaurants hosted watch parties, but the most popular site for a big KU game remained the same. Thousands of fans flocked to Allen Fieldhouse to watch the game on the video board. Students filled the student section, and threw shredded Kansans into the air for pregame introductions.
Wherever Jayhawks may be
Alumni networks hosted more than 75 watch parties around the country. Many network leaders claimed it was their biggest turnout in years. The Denver Network alone hosted 1,000 Jayhawks at Stoney’s Bar and Grill.
Although we hate to see the season end, the Alumni Association is proud of this team, and we are always proud to be a Jayhawk.
Allen Fieldhouse doors (north, south, and east entrances) will open Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Fans will be able to watch the Jayhawks’ NCAA Final Four game vs. Villanova on the video board.
Members of the KU pep band and spirit squad will be on hand, with the Rally House store, the Booth Family Hall of Athletics, and concession stands on the first and second levels open for fans.
The event is free and open for all ages, with parking lots available at no charge, including the parking garage adjacent to Allen Fieldhouse and the new KU Central District garage. The Fieldhouse will close immediately following the game.
The game will tip at approximately 7:45 p.m. (40 minutes after the conclusion of the first semifinal game, which tips at 5:09 p.m.)
If the Jayhawks win Saturday, Allen Fieldhouse will be open for Monday night’s NCAA Championship game. The game tips at 8:15 p.m. Doors will open at 7 p.m.
Jayhawks, your wishes have been granted: You can watch the the Final Four with announcers who love the Jayhawks as much as you do.
When KU plays Villanova in the Final Four Saturday night, tune in to TNT to watch the Kansas TeamCast. It will feature familiar faces Dave Armstrong, Scot Pollard and Rob Riggle breaking down the action.
TeamCast presentations are telecasts tailored to the schools participating in the Final Four national semifinals. The concept brings local flavor to the game with additional cameras and team-centric replays, custom halftimes, comprehensive team and player storylines and more.
Armstrong, ’83, will serve as the play-by-play announcer, which he’s done for the Jayhawks since 1993. He’s also served in the same role for multiple professional sports teams.
Pollard, d’97, partners with Armstrong as the color analyst. He’ll provide a unique perspective after a four-year career as a member of the Kansas men’s basketball team. Pollard finished his career in KU’s top 5 in rebounds and blocked shots and spent 12 years in the NBA.
Riggle, c’93, rounds out the team by reporting from the sideline on head coach Bill Self and the Jayhawks. (No word yet on how serious the KU actor and comedian will take his job.)
The regular telecast will be available on TBS, with Villanova’s TeamCast airing on truTV. Tip is expected to be 7:49 p.m. CDT Saturday night, or 40 minutes after the conclusion of the Michigan-Loyola Chicago game which begins at at 5:09 p.m.
If Scot Pollard’s enthusiasm in a video he posted to Facebook is a preview, the trio of Jayhawks are sure to have a fun night—as will we!
When the KU Men’s Basketball team sent out the call, Jayhawks delivered.
After hours of pandemonium on Massachusetts Street, thousands of students, fans and alumni made the trek to Allen Fieldhouse to welcome the Final Four team home.
Fans were treated to a replay of the Elite Eight game, reliving Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk’s game-tying basket that sent the game to overtime and Malik Newman’s overtime scoring barrage to clinch a trip to San Antonio.
As the seconds ticked away on the replay, the video board transitioned to a highlight package of the game, mixed with fan videos from social media and the party on Mass Street. When the video ended with the Final Four logo, the crowd roared as the Jayhawks walked in.
With Devonte’ Graham leading the team in while holding the regional trophy, Head Coach Bill Self addressed the crowd first, asking the question everyone was thinking: “Did these guys play like men today, or what?”
Graham, Newman, and Mykhailiuk all spoke as well, thanking the fans for their support, and asking fans to continue that support at the final four.
“I hope all y’all can get to San Antonio,” Graham said, “and hopefully we can win two more for y’all. Rock Chalk.”
With a trip to the Final Four on the line, Jayhawk fans came out in full force. More than 70 watch parties around the country brought Jayhawks together in bars and restaurants from Ann Arbor to Washington, D.C. The game lived up to the hype, with KU defeating Duke in an instant classic. Check out some photos of just a few of the watch parties!
The Richmond ’Hawks wave the wheat at Carolina Ale House.
The Boise Jayhawks had a record turnout, with 35+ fans gathering to see the big game.
The Charlotte Jayhawks were deep in enemy territory, but that didn’t stop them from Rock Chalking it up after a big win over the home state’s Blue Devils!
Washington, D.C. fans fill Mackey’s for big games, but an Elite Eight game calls for a full Jayhawk takeover.
The Tampa Jayhawk Alumni Network is ready for the Final Four.
Seattle Jayhawks celebrate KU being Final Four bound!
The San Antonio Jayhawks were hopeful for a KU win, and now they get to welcome Jayhawks from everywhere to their city.
Keep an eye out for information on pep rallies and other festivities in San Antonio, as well as watch parties in a network near you! Visit our ’Hawks ’n Hoops postseason hub for more details.
The Jayhawks have advanced to the Midwest Regional, and Omaha is ready to host! Before KU fans arrive in Nebraska’s largest city, we reached out to local alumni for their recommendations on places to see, eat and drink.
Ask any Omaha native what to do in town, and you’ll get the same answer first: go to the zoo. Named one of the five best zoos in America by USA Today and Trip Advisor, the Henry Doorly Zoo is a must see for visitors of all ages. Enter the Desert Dome that towers above the grounds, and be sure to see Kingdoms of the Night, the world’s largest nocturnal exhibit, located underneath.
Half a mile south of the CenturyLink Center is the Old Market, an arts and entertainment district sprawling across cobblestone streets. With over 50 businesses in the area, you’ll find a place to shop, eat, or drink the way you like it.
Just like Kansas City, Omaha has preserved their historic Union Station with a museum honoring the history of Omaha and the region. Bring the kids, and let them explore the exhibits, including a 1950s steam engine and train cars. It’s only a half-mile walk from the Old Market.
A hip lunch spot that’s easy to miss, visitors to Block 16 will find a burger Alton Brown calls his favorite in the country, and fries served in ways you’ve never seen before. Think Lawrence’s own Burger Stand with an expanded menu.
While there won’t be any official watch parties in Omaha for KU’s games, the Good Life hosts the Omaha Jayhawk Network for watch parties throughout the season. Standard bar fare and plenty of wings make it a perfect place to watch the games on KU’s off days.
Wichita is the site of first and second round games in the 2018 NCAA Tournament’s Midwest Region. It’s also the largest city in Kansas and home to more than 10,000 Jayhawks. We reached out to some of our alumni to get the scoop on what to do while you’re in town, and they were more than happy to share their favorites.
You might be surprised at just how much there is to do in this bustling midwestern city—and you might even find yourself coming back for another visit.
As Monique Pope, one of our Wichita Network volunteers, put it, “What’s there not to do!”
The museum’s new curator, Dr. Tera Hedrick, is a proud Jayhawk who received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art history from KU. Don’t miss the Monet to Matisse exhibit that showcases 59 masterworks from the Brooklyn Museum collection.
“We’ve taken many out-of-town family members to the art museum, and they’re always surprised at the quality of art—especially the Chihuly glass pieces,” said Elaine Level.
Learn about Wichita’s transformation from a frontier settlement to a cattle town to an agricultural and manufacturing area at this one-of-a-kind museum. Take a walk through history and see over 40 buildings that replicate the late 1800s, filled with a 10,000-piece permanent collection that includes textiles, furnishings, tools, art and more.
This “botanical paradise on the plains” includes more than 18 acres of gardens that change with the season. It features more than 4,000 plants, both native and new to the region. Sculptures, streams, fountains, and waterfalls help create a visually stunning atmosphere.
The top outdoor family tourist attraction in Kansas, the zoo is home to 3,000 animals of nearly 400 species. It has been recognized with national and international awards for its support of field conservation programs and successful breeding of rare and endangered species. Be sure to check out the new elephant exhibit!
On March 16, basketball-themed activities will be featured throughout the zoo. Get $5 off zoo admission through March 25 with your NCAA ticket stub.
Old Town, nestled in the heart of Wichita, is home to over 100 businesses including restaurants, shops, clubs, galleries, museums and more. The charming district includes brick-lined streets and historic lampposts, along with a collection of converted brick warehouses dating back to the mid-1800s.
The 44-foot tall steel sculpture stands at the juncture of the Big and Little Arkansas rivers in downtown Wichita. It is also home to the Mid-America All-Indian Center.
The Keeper of the Plains sculpture was created by Blackbear Bosin and erected in 1974 to celebrate the United States Bicentennial. It is celebrated by Wichitans as one of the main icons of the city. Time your visit for 9 p.m. to see the ring of fire!
Bringing the kids? Check out Kansas’ premier science center, located along the Arkansas River in the scenic downtown Museums on the River district.
The 100,000-square foot facility includes permanent and traveling exhibits, a planetarium, and an 18-hole mini golf putting course. Exploration Park is a free area nearby that includes a wetlands habitat, adventure play yard and picnic groves.
Another kid-friendly option for your off day: one of the largest family-owned zoos in the country, right outside of Wichita. The park has grown into the third largest animal collection in Kansas, and one of the largest attractions in the state.
Enjoy more than 40 exhibits with interactive stations and more than 400 animals. The first day of the 2018 season is March 16.
Where to eat
Wichita is a true foodie town with diverse and authentic ethnic cuisines. Dine on anything from Mexican to Mediterranean to Vietnamese—and everything in between.
Wichita is known as the “Air Capital of the World,” and kids will love watching the planes at Stearman Field, a family-owned and operated airport located just outside the city. Grab some food at Stearman Field Bar & Grill, and Stearman Sky Tours is available if you want to catch a different view of the area.
Coffee fans will love Reverie, which serves premium specialty coffee beverages as well as breakfast and lunch in the cafe. The wholesale coffee roastery opened in 2013 and quickly grew into what it is today.
One of the central tenants of Clifton Square, a collection of boutiques and restaurants in renovated houses, Ziggy’s Pizza offers indoor and outdoor seating with pies that serve two to three. Be sure to stop by College Hill Creamery next door afterwards for a cone!
Connie’s is Wichita’s oldest family-owned Mexican restaurant, celebrating 55 years in business next month. It’s located in the historic NOMAR (North Market) neighborhood in North Wichita, among a long-established enclave of Hispanic-owned businesses.
Craft beer fans will love Central Standard Brewing south of Douglas on Greenwood. With a fun atmosphere on a giant outdoor patio, it’s a popular hangout on warm days, and you can often find a food truck or live music nearby.
Right in the heart of Wichita’s Delano district, right off the Arkansas river, the Monarch offers a wide variety of specialty bourbon cocktails along with plenty of appetizers, soups, salads and sandwiches, all under $10.
Walking distance from Intrust Bank Arena, Public at the Brickyard features a gastropub menu with a local, green focus: their website lists where in the area all ingredients come from. A wide selection of beers continues the trend, with options from breweries across the U.S. with a Midwestern focus.
This speakeasy serves craft cocktails in downtown Wichita. Located beneath the Ambassador Hotel, it prides itself on exclusivity and discretion. The location also has an important historical context: it’s where the 1958 Dockum sit-in took place. The sit-in served as one of the catalysts of the civil rights movement.
Many thanks to volunteers from our Wichita Network for their recommendations! The top two photos in this post are used with permission of the Wichita Art Museum.
The KU men’s basketball season ended abruptly in Kansas City when the Ducks of Oregon ousted the Jayhawks from the NCAA Tournament in the Elite 8. While the road to the Final Four has ended for the ‘Hawks, the accolades keep rolling in, including first-team AP All-American honors for senior Frank Mason and third-team honors for freshman Josh Jackson. That adds to the team’s haul of Big 12 honors, including Player of the Year (Mason), Freshman of the Year (Jackson) and Coach of the Year (Bill Self), in addition to KU winning its thirteenth consecutive Big 12 title. Obviously, it’s been a busy year.
The KU Alumni Association also kept busy connecting fans and alumni for watch parties coast to coast. Nick Kallail, assistant vice president for alumni and career programs, tallied up his attendance at KU basketball gatherings during his first year on the staff, sharing the total with friends and alumni volunteers on Facebook:
Reflecting on an incredible first basketball season with KUAA –
3 home games
4 games in KC
5 road games – Las Vegas, Ft Worth, Norman, Waco, Austin
14 watch parties – LA (3), Denver, Chicago (2), Manhattan Beach, Seattle (2), San Francisco (2), San Diego, Houston, Dallas
And loved every second of it… because of the time spent with so many of you. Heading home!
Nick ended the season with our L.A. Jayhawks, where halftime festivities include a highlight video celebrating our loyal alumni and fans (see below). Similar celebrations took place all season every place Jayhawks flock, from Maine to Seattle, and last Saturday was no different. All told, the KU Alumni Association hosted 68 watch parties during KU’s Elite 8 contest with Oregon in Kansas City.
And throughout the postseason, our staff was able to travel in style, thanks once again to our postseason partner Crown Automotive. The Crown Jayhawk Car didn’t log as many miles as we had hoped, but fans loved seeing it and snapping pics with it when we hit the road to Tulsa and KC.
More awards and recognition will continue to come before Monday night’s national championship game, and we have one more to add, for the Best Fans and Alumni in the Nation, always proud to be a Jayhawk.
The road to the Final Four ended abruptly Saturday with KU’s loss to Villanova in the Elite 8. Time to load the car and head for home, but not before looking back on a great “ride” through the postseason.
Thanks to a partnership with Miles Schnaer’s Crown Automotive in Lawrence, our staff was fortunate enough to drive the Jayhawk Car to NCAA Tournament sites in Des Moines and Louisville for alumni events. I asked the lucky staff members who were beyond excited to drive it what it was like to get behind the wheel of the Jayhawk Car:
“It turned heads quicker than a Wayne Selden dunk!”
“It drove the lane more smoothly than Devonte Graham!”
Ugh. Okay, clearly we’ve still got basketball on the brain, but that’s understandable. The Jayhawk Car–a Scion tC, the sportiest model in the Scion line up–visited the venues and other popular sites during the Jayhawks’ postseason run. The car itself was a popular attraction among fans who asked to take pics with it, including one KU alumnus who asked for a picture sitting behind the wheel (he reportedly wanted to send the shot to wife, hoping to drop a hint). This didn’t surprise the team at Crown, who told us the Jayhawk Car has been popular with fans since it was created.
“The relationship with KU is very important because it is a partnership based on each entity supporting one another,” said Crown spokesperson Randy Habiger. “Miles has had a relationship with KU for over 20 years. The car was his idea, and he envisioned it being displayed at KU events, golf outings, etc., so we wrapped it to be a recognizable icon that it is.”
So recognizable, in fact, that it even attracts non-Jayhawks.
“We’ve even had K State and Missouri fans want their pictures taken with the car,” he said. (We’ll have to take his word for it, since we didn’t spot any during this year’s NCAA Tournament.)
Even though the journey had to end, the partnership made for a memorable March. And while the Jayhawks’ drive to the championship didn’t pan out, it was a incredible season …and one great ride!