NEW YORK -- Kansas did not get off to a flying start in more than one sense.By going to overtime in a season-opening loss to Indiana in the Armed Forces Classic, the No. 7 Jayhawks were left scrambling to make a flight out of Hawaii.They flew to New York both frazzled and disappointed while forced to get ready for another elite showdown Tuesday against top-ranked Duke in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden.We need to get ready and think about Duke, Kansas coach Bill Self said, but certainly you come all the way over here (to Honolulu), you play 45 minutes, youve got to win. I mean, thats the bottom line and we just didnt do it.Instead, four starters fouled out and the Jayhawks fell 103-99 to the Hoosiers, despite forcing an overtime by overcoming a five-point deficit with slightly more than a minute remaining.Senior guard Frank Mason posted a career-best 30 points while also leading Kansas with nine assists and seven rebounds.He missed a big one, Self said of a free throw by Mason with 40 seconds left in regulation, but other than that, he was great. He had some mental lapses defensively, but Franks so tough.Defensive breakdowns were most concerning for Self after his team allowed Indiana to drain 15 bombs from 3-point range. He also was not pleased with the Jayhawks shot selection.The reality of it is, theres so many possessions that youve got to be able to guard your man and youve got to pay attention to the scouting report, Self said. I didnt think we were. We played like it was the first game.That variable no longer exists, and the competition only stiffens after Kansas lost a season opener for the first time in Selfs 14 seasons as coach.Duke played two home games last weekend as part of the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic. The Blue Devils (2-0) played without three injured freshman post players but had no trouble pounding Marist and Grand Canyon.I like my team a lot, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. We just have to keep getting better, and then once these injuries are taken care of in some time, we can become a different team. Right now, we have to be this team and not think about who we could be. Our complete focus has got to be how to win this team.That directive requires perimeter players to crash the boards. Junior guard Grayson Allen snagged 10 rebounds as part of a double-double that included 25 points against Grand Canyon. The Blue Devils trailed by six early, but five scorers netted double figures to lead the 96-61 blowout.We know the big guys that we do have in the game, theyre going to be battling, boxing out the other bigs, so the perimeter, we need to crash in and rebound and clean up all the loose stuff, Krzyzewski said.None of the injured freshman big men -- Harry Giles (knee), Marques Bolden (lower leg) and Jayson Tatum (foot) -- are expected to play against Kansas.The absence of Giles prevents a showdown between two of the nations most coveted recruits, though Jayhawks guard Josh Jackson struggled in his debut, scoring nine points on 3-of-11 shooting from he field against Indiana.Whatever amount of time, whatever it is, lets just get well, Krzyzewski added. And while you guys are getting well and supporting the team, lets become a team with these nine (healthy) guys. We made that a priority this past week.The lone Kansas victory in the Champions Classic since its inception in 2011 was a 94-83 victory against Duke in 2013. The Blue Devils leads the all-time series 7-3.Tipoff for the Duke-Kansas clash will follow a matchup between Kentucky and Michigan State. The Spartans also opened their season on Nov. 11 in Honolulu, losing at the wire to Arizona. Cheap Soccer Jerseys . He said Tuesday thats a big reason why he is now the new coach of the Tennessee Titans. Whisenhunt said he hit it off quickly with Ruston Webster when interviewing for the job Friday night. China NFL Jerseys Cheap .ca! Kerry, Two nights after the Scott-Eriksson incident in Buffalo, the Bruins returned home to play San Jose. In that game, Zdeno Chara put a check on Tommy Wingels that clearly targeted his head. http://www.cheapchinanfljerseysauthentic.com/ . Their experience showed Tuesday as the No. 10 Badgers blunted a Saint Louis surge to win 63-57 and advance to face West Virginia in Wednesdays finals of the Cancun Challenge. Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping .C. -- When North Carolina freshman Ryan Switzer reported to training camp in August he was a little miffed to learn he was third on the depth chart at punt returner. Wholesale Soccer Jerseys Authentic . -- Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Farmar will be out for roughly four weeks after tearing his left hamstring. THE RAPTORS WERENT even playing in Toronto -- they were on the road, in Brooklyn, preparing for Game 6 of the opening round of the 2014 playoffs. But that didnt stop great mobs of fans, like pilgrims, from trekking to Maple Leaf Square outside the Air Canada Centre. Leading up to Game 1, the mood had been so fevered that the teams normally staid general manager, Masai Ujiri, had made an appearance and dropped a few F-bombs, for which he would later be fined.With the Raptors leading the series 3-2, and Game 6 presenting an opportunity to advance to the second round for the first time since 2001, the tension built. An all-out proxy war broke out between newspapers in Toronto and New York. During Game 5, the Nets Twitter account implored their fans to meet Torontos intensity. Maple Leaf Square, Jurassic Park to the Raptors faithful, was total pandemonium.This was an opportunity -- to that point, the opportunity -- for Canada to fall in love with basketball, for the Raptors to become the NBAs first team to effectively represent a nation. Think New York and L.A. have an unfair market advantage? The Raptors play in a top-six NBA market before you count the 29 million Canadians outside the Greater Toronto Area. Across the country, basketballs popularity had been consistently ballooning, thanks in equal parts to the coming of age of the Vince Carter generation and the emerging Lowry-DeRozan generation, as well as the NBAs initiatives in India, China and the Philippines, with droves of immigrants touching down in Canada already dreaming of mimicking Kobe Bryants fadeaway. Was this the moment?Across the country, the lounge in a Boston Pizza in Edmonton, Alberta, was a Canadian caricature: a hockey scouts paradise, the walls plastered with TVs featuring NHL playoff action. A couple of friends and I asked the server if the TV near our booth could be switched to the Raptors. Whats the harm, we figured? Game 6 featured epic stakes. The Oilers hadnt even made the postseason -- the Canadiens were the only Canadian team in the playoffs, and they werent even playing.Confused groans filled the air. What the f---! exclaimed a woman behind us, sitting next to a guy in an L.A. Kings jersey. A male voice in the crowd, in a moment of pure poeticism, yelled, This is Canada! The revolution, it turned out, couldnt span 3,000 kilometers in a matter of months. The birthplace of James Naismith would remain a rich, but largely uncultivated field.IT WAS IN the 2016 playoffs that the forces materialized to rouse the sleeping giant. No Canadian teams qualified for the NHL playoffs, and the remaining story lines were abnormally uncompelling, all the while the Raptors overcame their jilted history, taking Game 7 against the Indiana Pacers and proceeding to the second round. The game drew 1.53 million Canadian viewers, setting a record. Their Game 7 victory over the Miami Heat in the second round sent the Raptors to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in franchise history and won the weekend, defeating two hockey games and a Blue Jays game. In lockstep with a franchise that has become used to beating its own records, 1.8 million Canadians tuned in for Game 4 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, winning the weekend again and setting another record.It is fair to say that multicultural Toronto, with the emergence of the Raptors and the Blue Jays, is today a mecca of the modern intersection between culture and sports. The NBAs All-Star weekend in Toronto was a massive success. Drake is an unparalleled hypeman. It is, for all intents and purposes, happenin.Even the players are swept up in it. I am Toronto, proclaimed DeMar DeRozan, capping an impromptu love letter to the city that drafted him, at a news conference following the five-year, $140 million extension he received this summer.Despite being an unrestricted free agent, DeRozan didnt meet with any other teams. He didnt want anybody else. It was an almost dreamlike moment for a fanbase that became accustomed to watching young stars blossom and leave for greener pastures, a healing turn for both city and player.If it was a dream, it was ssomething like déjà vu, a repeat of when Kyle Lowry re-upped two years earlier, and fans let out a collective sigh of relief.dddddddddddd. He stayed, phew! But this time, nobody was holding their breath. A high scorer in his prime, DeRozan had options to leave. But hes also a throwback ballhog, no darling of advanced stats. Some were left wondering, Arent we past this? DeRozans monologue felt like a revenue-motivated sequel to a classic, with a lesser actor at the mantle.These fans are no longer the insecure teenager, shocked that anyone would even consider going to the prom with them. They read Bossypants over the summer, found themselves in an altered state of consciousness and came to an epiphany: an emotional speech in July is not worth the spate of ill-fated jumpers theyll endure in late April. It was, after all, during the playoff run that the flaws in DeRozans game, which thrives on inefficient ball-stopping, were laid bare, the offense often flowing better when he sat.DeRozans on-court value is polarizing, the flashpoint of a debate between new and old philosophies. The cult of the individual remains widespread. But that this divide has even punctured The Six, that they would question their star at all, marks a sea change in the fan bases self-conception.ITS OCT. 2, 2016, and the Toronto Raptors are facing the Denver Nuggets in a preseason game in Calgary, Alberta, as part of the NBA Canada series. It appears to be working: On StubHub, nosebleeds are $110. Scotiabank Saddledome is a packed house. In the media room, a scout with the Nuggets quips, How do you sell out a game in 10 minutes? Most conspicuous is the attire, a melting pot of basketball and Canada-related sports memorabilia: speckled into the Raptors gear was an Aaron Sanchez Blue Jays jersey, Maple Leafs gear, a knock-off Yao Ming jersey, Luis Scolas Argentina uniform, even an L.A. Clippers warm-up jersey.Hours before the game, leaning on a pole outside the Saddledome is a wiry 15-year-old kid in a Raptors jersey named Braden. A swingman for his high school team an hour or two north in Red Deer, he is killing time before doors open because he overestimated the trek down to Calgary. Who can fault his eagerness? Itll be his first NBA game.The groundswell that began two years ago is, right here tonight, being realized across the country. A basketball love bomb was detonated in Toronto, and the fallout reached the outskirts: Google trends show the word Raptors being searched in Alberta four times as much in the 2016 playoff run as in 2014.Outside the arena, you can bear witness to the argument for staying the course, a crowd of beady-eyed Bradens, all the way from Banff and Red Deer to Edmonton, champing at the bit to catch DeRozan, Lowry and the crew that vaulted Torontos playoff run. DeRozan, nit-picked as he might be, is paramount to the nights success. He is, after all, the name on the back of Bradens jersey.Inside, coach Dwane Casey reflects wistfully on the first pro team he watched live, the ABAs Kentucky Colonels, and remarks, You will touch a young life, just by him coming to the game.Progress is always double-edged. Moving forward requires letting go of the past, being unsentimental about big moments and memories. Watching sports, paradoxically, and especially cheering for a particular team, is built on relishing collective nostalgia. Acting like youve been there, on some level, defeats the purpose.In the third year of this experiment, nobody would be acting anymore. If Toronto stagnates, will the crowd still be as satisfied? Would they flock in from all over the province? Its unlikely. But the ability to feel dissatisfied, too, is progress. And when the Raptors fortunes eventually flip, fans will be able to reflect back on a highlight reel of players who actually wanted to perform in front of them.An inferiority complex is eroding, little by little, as a national identity emerges. You can catch it, uninterrupted by any hecklers, at your local Boston Pizza. 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