INDIANAPOLIS -- Kansas forward Richard Scott has had so many problems with shin splints and other assorted leg injuries that his coach, Roy Williams, has taken to calling him "Fred Sanford," after the cantankerous junk dealer character played by Redd Foxx in the sitcom "Sanford and Son."
But Scott was anything but cantankerous in helping the Jayhawks fight off North Carolina, 79-73, to advance to tomorrow night's national championship game.
In the biggest game of his career to date, Scott, a 6-7, 215-pound freshman from Little Rock, Ark., had 14 points and six rebounds, just missing career- highs in both categories.
Scott, who re-sprained his right ankle during practices Friday, was the key early for Kansas, hitting three baskets inside to sustain the Jayhawks during an early North Carolina run.
"Coach was telling us to take it to the big guys, so I was listening to coach and doing the best that I could."
"Richard came out and worked hard," said senior center Mark Randall. "He kept pounding the boards and that switched the momentum. That's was what he [Williams] was talking about."
"He likes that challenge of scoring against a really big team," said Williams. "He's quite a competitor."
Scott, who has shot 58 percent from the floor in the tournament, said he was overwhelmed by the prospect of Kansas playing for a national championship.
"We weren't thinking about getting this far. We were just thinking about getting through the season."
* Duke center Christian Laettner had more to think about than stopping Nevada-Las Vegas in last night's second semifinal game in the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament at the Hoosier Dome.
"My job is to keep Bobby away from the junk food and out of the bathroom," Laettner said of point guard Bobby Hurley. "I know he's going to have a great game."
Hurley's celebrated case of the runs before last year's 103-73 championship defeat to the Runnin' Rebels in Denver led, in part, to Duke's demise.
In that game, you might remember, Hurley was -- uh -- eaten up by UNLV guard Anderson Hunt, who was named the Final Four's MVP. This year Hunt is hurting with a bad shoulder and Hurley is fit.
But Hurley shouldn't worry about getting sick again. Seems that McNeil Consumer Products, maker of Imodium A-D (Anti-Diarrhea), sent the teams from Duke and UNLV some caplets for last night's game.
* Mike Maddox is the only member of this year's Kansas team to have played with the Jayhawks when they won the NCAA championship in 1988. His contribution: one foul in the upset of Oklahoma in Kansas City.
Randall was redshirted that season for one pretty good reason: Danny Manning. "I was playing behind a pretty good player," said Randall, now Kansas' starting center. "There were four other guys my size, so I didn't think I'd get a lot of playing time."
Randall spent part of the year working out with the team, and part of the year sidelined after having surgery on his jaw to replace a defective bite. According to Randall, surgeons had to break his jaw in four places so that his tongue wouldn't stick out when he bit down.
Given two rings for his team's championships (Big Eight and NCAA), Randall gave them to his mother, who put them in a safety deposit box in a bank in Denver.
"I have never worn them, and I never will," he said.
* UNLV has not been criticized for conducting closed door practices and sneaking out back doors of hotels this week, as Georgetown was in Seattle seven years ago.
Nobody has suggested that the Runnin' Rebels are runnin' away from the media. Nor has coach Jerry Tarkanian been blasted for not letting his players sign autographs, which happened to Hoyas coach John Thompson after they won the title that season.
"I want them to be focused, and I want them to concentrate on basketball," said Tarkanian. "You can't do that if people are hanging around all the time asking them to sign their names."
Meanwhile, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is upset that his Blue Devils are staying out by the airport.
"I wish the players would have a chance to be downtown more in the middle of things and enjoy it," he said.
Kansas' Roy Williams is the fifth coach to take the Jayhawks to the Final Four, succeeding Forrest "Phog" Allen, Dick Harp, Ted Owens and Larry Brown.
Arkansas is next with four different coaches, and five other schools have had three each.
In addition, this year marks the first time in Kansas' nine Final Four appearances that the Jayhawks, the Southeast Regional champions, represented a region other than the Midwest.
* Attendance figures for the 1991 tournament will likely surpass the all-time attendance mark for a tournament.
Going into last night's semifinals, 572,332 spectators had attended the 32 sessions of the tournament, and sellouts of 47,500 were expected for last night's games and tomorrow's championship match, sending the total figure over 667,000.