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Meanwhile, Kansas fans in downtown Lawrence took their team's loss to Kentucky in stride Monday night as they poured onto Massachusetts Street amid random cries of "Rock Chalk Jayhawk," with many proclaiming their pride in a team that wasn't picked to finish in the top three in the Big 12 Conference.
Storekeepers said basketball fans -- students and older residents alike -- began crowding the entertainment strip of bars, restaurants and specialty shops near the Kansas campus, well before 5 p.m. in anticipation of the game against the heavily favored Wildcats.
"It's OK, because look how far they made it," Jobi Pierson, 51, from McLouth, about 20 minutes from Lawrence, said as the final seconds ticked away from Kansas' national title hopes. "No matter what, they did well. I feel proud of them and I'm happy with what they've done."
A heavy police presence -- one police officer estimated about 250, but told a reporter "that's not enough" -- emerged at halftime and set up in groups of six along street corners to deter troublemakers. That included 70 Kansas Highway Patrol troopers brought in from across the state.
A mass of red and blue-clad basketball fans spilled into the street afterward, bringing traffic to a standstill.
In Kentucky, police earlier Monday had forcefully warned Wildcat fans that a repeat of the dangerous weekend celebrations around the Lexington campus wouldn't be tolerated.
Lexington Police Chief Ronnie Bastin said some revelers Saturday night acted in a "dangerous and criminal" way by setting fires, overturning cars and hurling bottles into the air. Police used pepper spray in small amounts for crowd control after thousands of rowdy fans swarmed into the streets.
Officers made more than 30 arrests near the UK campus Saturday night for arson, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct, and authorities were expecting more arrests from that night's revelry. Police showed the media photos of people in Saturday night's crowds who have been targeted for arson and assault charges once they are identified. Bastin had said patrols would be beefed up for Monday's game.
University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto also issued a warning Monday ahead of the game, saying the rowdy behavior detracted from the success of the players "who have worked tirelessly to represent UK at a national level."
University officials warned students that aside from criminal charges, students could face suspension or expulsion for bad behavior.
UK's campus was peaceful Monday afternoon, but excitement was in the air as blue-clad fans and students eagerly anticipated Kentucky's first trip to the title game in 14 years.
Shouts of "Go Cats!" and honking horns were already audible near the campus' main library in the early afternoon.
Across the street, sophomore Colby Myers and a friend were constructing a humorous tribute to Kentucky star forward and AP Player of the Year Anthony Davis. In the front yard of the Farmhouse Fraternity on Hilltop Avenue, they were sticking black plastic forks in the ground in the shape of Davis's bushy eyebrows -- which Myers and other fans endearingly call Davis's "unibrow."
In Louisville, home of the University of Louisville Cardinals, Kentucky Wildcats fans out filled bars and celebrated as the game neared an end Monday night.
"This is huge, this is unbelievable," UK fan Jeff Douglas told WAVE-TV. "I can't believe we got past Louisville and I just want to beat Kansas so bad."
Things were going so well for Kentucky that one Wildcats fan even looked on one of the team's chief rivals with fondness.
"I'm not a Cardinal fan, but I'm glad that they were there with us. It made it magical, and frankly if they would have won, I would have been rooting for them, so it's about bringing it back to the state where basketball is king," Billy Wade told the station.
Associated Press writers Campbell reported from Louisville and Bill Draper reported from Lawrence, Kan.
Follow Dylan Lovan on Twitter at http://twitter.com/dylanlovan.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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