ST. LOUIS -- Injuries will certainly play a part in the outcome of tonight's NCAA Midwest Regional final between top-seeded Indiana and second-seeded Kansas, with both teams a little banged up in the frontcourt.
The Hoosiers came into the NCAA tournament with junior forward Alan Henderson playing in a limited role because of a knee injury. Then they lost freshman forward Brian Evans with a hand injury early in the second half of Thursday night's 82-69 victory over Louisville.
Evans, who had replaced Henderson in the starting lineup, kept the hand in ice as he sat on the bench, but he seemed fine afterward. The Hoosiers also have backup forward Pat Graham moving a bit gingerly on a knee he has already hurt twice this season.
"I think this team has done a good job of playing through these injuries, when guys have had to sit out," said Indiana coach Bob Knight, who added that Henderson will undergo postseason surgery. "I think Pat Graham was a big key for us. He's very important to whatwe do, offensively and defensively."
Jayhawks starting forwards Richard Scott and Darrin Hancock sprained ankles in Thursday night's 93-76 victory over Cal. It was the third time Scott's ankle buckled this week.
"I know Richard will be there," said junior guard Rex Walters. "He's a big-time player with a big-time heart."
The parting shots
This marks the last major college basketball event staged at the Arena, a 64-year-old building with a 35-year-old floor. It is scheduled to be demolished in a year.
When he got off the bus Wednesday before practice, Indiana forward Calbert Cheaney said: "I thought no way are we going to play in this thing."
Funny things can happen: Cheaney played one of his best games of the season, going 10 of 12 from both the field and foul line and scoring 32 points in Indiana's 82-69 win over Louisville.