Kings rookie Frank Mason received virtually every major college basketball award a year ago after completing his fourth season at Kansas. But the Jayhawks’ failure to advance beyond the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament in either of his final two seasons still stings.
This year, he is hoping for payback.
Kansas meets Villanova in the later Final Four semifinal Saturday in San Antonio, following the game between Michigan and upstart Loyola-Chicago.
“I think this (Jayhawks) team is better than we were,” Mason conceded Thursday before the Kings' game against the Indiana Pacers. "They're definitely playing a lot better than we did at this time last year. So, yeah. They’re better than we were. Last year we lost to Oregon in the Elite Eight, and the year before that? Villanova. So this is a grudge match. We gotta get them back.”
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Because the Kings were playing at the same time Kansas and Duke were going into overtime Sunday, the backup point guard relied on members of the support staff to keep him informed.
“The guys were coming up to me saying, ‘Hey, Frank, you’re down two. You’re up two. You’re up three. You won!' As soon as the game was over, I took off and hurried home and watched the (tape).”
His prediction for the other game?
“I’ll take Michigan,” he said, “but I don’t feel strong about it. I could be wrong.”