BLOG: Al Wallace Has His Eyes on Recovery and the Fieldhouse

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — Maybe it’s something you have to go through to fully appreciate. The doctor calling and telling you he has bad news, and good news.

First the bad news: you do indeed have prostate cancer. The good news: we caught it VERY, VERY early, and the chances for a full recovery are somewhere around 90%.

After a lot of research on the subject and numerous consultations, we decided on February 2nd as a date for surgery. One doctor tells me emphatically: “Don’t worry. You’ll be back to work in plenty of time for March Madness!”. At that time I was honestly thinking, “There is a God”.

March Madness = The Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City and the NCAA Tournament all wrapped into one month full of travel, live shots, press conferences, buzzer beaters, selection Sunday, etc., etc. etc. And I LOVE IT! And this year, it starts a bit early with Missouri traveling to Kansas to meet at AFH in what is sure to be an epic contest between the two bitter rivals.

I’ve seen quite a few of these tilts between the Tigers and the Jayhawks. I saw Anthony Peeler score 40+ in 1992. I worked the broadcast for ESPN+ in ’97 when an undefeated KU team with Paul and Jacque and Jared lost at the Hearnes Center.

Mainly because I was assigned to anchor in the studio at FOX 4, I’ve missed a few of these Border Battles too, including the last game played at the Hearnes Center in 2004, where David Pagett hit a late bucket to give KU a win in Bill Self’s first season as Kansas Head Coach.

All games in the series between the Tigers and Jayhawks have been memorable Border Battles. I grew up in Texas where football is king, and the only football game I can recall between the two that comes close to measuring up to ANY basketball matchup was the first Armegeddon Game at Arrowhead Stadium in 2007.

Nope, over the years since Quintrell’s Raid on Lawrence and beginning about 100 years ago, this is fertile turf for college hoops. Saturday’s game has drawn such interest that media accommodations and credentials will be extremely limited. Some reporters and photographers are expected to have to watch the game either in the media room on TV, or on a big screen setup in Hadl Auditorium which is connected to Allen Fieldhouse. This will be the final ‘on campus’ regular season meeting between the two schools, with no other meeting scheduled anytime soon. Missouri is headed to the SEC, and Kansas wants no part of the relationship after the divorce. Kansas also wants to clinch at least a share of it’s 8th straight Big 12 Championship with a win on Saturday. There’s a lot on the line that’s for sure. And if you think I am going to miss it, you’re nuts. Not even cancer can keep me from being in the Fieldhouse. No way.

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