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Kansas center Hunter Dickinson says shoulder feels good on eve of March Madness

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Kansas center Hunter Dickinson said he's good to go for the Jayhawks in their NCAA Tournament opener after a dislocated shoulder that sidelined him last week.

“The shoulder feels good — good enough to be out there with my teammates,” Dickinson said Wednesday, on the eve of fourth-seeded KU's first-round game against Samford.

That was the good news for Kansas. The rest of it — rough. The Jayhawks will be without leading scorer Kevin McCullar Jr. They have lost four of five, including a 72-52 loss at the hands of Cincinnati last Wednesday.

In that game, they were missing both McCullar (18.3 points per game), who has been dealing with a bone bruise on his knee since January, and Dickinson (18 ppg), who dislocated his shoulder on March 9 against Houston.

All this has turned Kansas into a popular pick to suffer an upset on opening day. Guard Dajuan Harris said none of that talk resonates inside the Jayhawks locker room.

“Not really because we beat some pretty good teams without Kev this year,” he said.

Still, coach Bill Self said he's had to double down on morale boosting during this tough streak. Most recently, the team watched the movie “Boys in the Boat,” about a group of underdog rowers who go on to win an Olympic gold medal.

“It's kids that have been dealt a hard hand, and rallying out of that,” Self said.

Asked if Dickinson had any limitations, Self said, “No, no limitations.”

“The question we had initially was if he tried to go up and dunk the ball hard, hang on with one arm, something like that,” Self said. “But there's been no limitations. That doesn't mean he can't get a sting and it'll come right back, but he's done really well so far.”

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AP March Madness bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-mens-bracket and coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness