CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Arkansas center Oliver Miller has big feet. Unfortunately for the Razorbacks, he also has a big mouth. The two parts of Miller's body, no strangers to be sure, met again yesterday.
Miller, who talks nearly as well as he plays, was quoted in an Arkansas newspaper expressing his disappointment that the Razorbacks were not playing Indiana in the final of the NCAA Southeast Regional at the Charlotte Coliseum.
"I always wanted to play against a Bob Knight-coached team," Miller was quoted as saying. "I wanted Coach [Nolan Richardson] to meet up with The General [Knight]. I wanted to go out and brutally beat Indiana with Arkansas-style ball. Kansas stepped up. Now they're going to take the beating that Indiana was supposed to get."
The quote got back to Kansas coach Roy Williams, who handed a copy of it to each of his players yesterday morning. With that in mind, as well as a trip to this week's Final Four hanging in the
balance, the Jayhawks went out and did to the Razorbacks what Miller had wanted to do to them in a 93-81 victory.
Alonzo Jamison used Miller's mouth as his personal launch pad, scoring a career-high 26 points, and outplaying the 6-foot-9, 275-pound junior. Miller spent as much time on the floor as he did on the court. At one point, he stayed down for a minute.
"I'm still mad about what he said," said Jamison, who like his teammates was wearing a shirt that said ARKANSAS, SOUTHEAST REGIONAL CHAMPIONS, with the first three letter of the school scratched out to read KANSAS. "That definitely got us pumped up."
Miller finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, and a slightly embarrassed look on his face. He didn't want to talk about his pre-game comments. But Arkansas assistant Scott Edgar said that it was nothing unusual for Miller.
"He shouldn't have done it, but he usually backs up what he says," Edgar said.
Usually, but not yesterday. And Kansas couldn't be happier.