CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The shots fell for Kansas right from the start. From inside the lane, from outside the three-point line. Layups off steals, jumpers off screens, stick-backs off offensive rebounds.
The Jayhawks, efficient on offense and relentless on defense, poured it on Indiana in the first half of last night's second Southeast Regional semifinal game of the National Collegiate TC Athletic Association tournament. The Hoosiers never recovered.
In one of the most awesome displays by Kansas this season, and one of the most awful defensive showings by Indiana, the third-seeded Jayhawks crushed the second-seeded and favored Hoosiers, 83-65, before 23,287 at Charlotte Coliseum.
The Hoosiers still are looking for the license plate, not to mention a map. Instead of going to Indianapolis for next week's Final Four at the Hoosier Dome, Indiana (29-5) merely will be going back to Bloomington.
And instead of contending for a fourth national championship in 20 years at Indiana -- which would have tied him with the legendary Adolph Rupp -- Bob Knight probably will go fishing. Or hunting. Anything to forget last night's disaster.
"My first comment would be how well Kansas played, not only how well they played, but how well they were prepared to play," Knight said after the worst defeat for an Indiana team in 56 NCAA tournament games, 42 of which he coached.
"With about five minutes left in the first half, [official] John Clougherty told me there was a screw loose on the floor. I said, 'Can we start again tomorrow?' "
Only the Jayhawks can start again tomorrow. While the Hoosiers go home, Kansas (25-7) will be staying here for the regional final against top-seeded Arkansas. The Razorbacks, behind 31 points by Todd Day, raced by Alabama, 93-70, in the opening game last night.
The Jayhawks -- or perhaps they should just be called the Kansas Tar Heels for their almost eerie resemblance to North Carolina -- scored the game's first seven points, led by 26-6 after less than eight minutes and were ahead by 49-27 at halftime. They led by as much as 24 early in the second half.
"We got off to a good start by hitting some outside shots," said Kansas coach Roy Williams, a longtime assistant to Dean Smith in Chapel Hill. "That gave us a little enthusiasm. The first half was tremendous. We had 10 more possessions than they did, and we did a great job on the boards."
"I think our whole team was surprised that we got out to such a big lead," said senior guard Terry Brown, who scored 11 of Kansas' first 16 points and tied Indiana's Calbert Cheaney with a game-high 23 points. "I think it showed us that Indiana wasn't as good as everyone said they were. It gave us a lot of confidence."
Indiana was left shellshocked. The Hoosiers committed 17 turnovers, were pounded on the boards (42-33, including 20-10 on offensive rebounds) and saw their four other starters combine for a total of 10 points. And, yet, they had some chances.
Indiana, despite its horrible start, cut the early Kansas lead to 28-17 and had a great opportunity during a four-minute stretch when the Jayhawks missed 11 of 12 shots from the field. But the Hoosiers never made a serious run, never getting closer than 14 points, a margin they closed to four times in the second half.
Three times the Jayhawks scored immediately, and on the fourth, at 68-54, Eric Anderson missed a 10-foot turnaround on the baseline for the Hoosiers and Kansas guard Adonis Jordan came right back to make a three-pointer.
"We felt we could win the game even after Kansas' fast start," said Indiana freshman guard Damon Bailey, who scored 14 of his 20 in the second half. "If we were going to go down, at least we were going to go down fighting."
Instead, the Hoosiers went down quietly, nearly without a fight. Thanks to the Kansas Tar Heels, er, Jayhawks.