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Midwest

Late in Kansas' practice session on Thursday, someone in the stands cupped his hands and shouted at Kirk Hinrich: "Hey, watch out for Frank Williams!"

Hinrich doesn't need the reminder.

Ever since Kansas and Illinois found themselves in an NCAA Midwest Region semifinal rematch, the Jayhawks junior guard has had Williams on his mind.

Williams scored a career-high 30 in Illinois' 80-64 NCAA Tournament victory over the Jayhawks in 2001 _ the most scored by an opposing player against Kansas last season.

"I just remember getting physically dominated last year," said Hinrich, whose No. 1 team meets fourth-seeded Illinois today. "But I think it's something our team has improved on this year."

Williams, who leads the Illini (26-8) in scoring at 16.8 points per game, agreed that Hinrich is a better player now.

"He's always out there trying to get into guys and go for the steal," Williams said. "You know he's going to try to deny you, just like all of their guys do."

If Kansas focuses on stopping him, Williams said, Illinois has other players who can hurt the Jayhawks.

"If they do that," he said, "we've got some guys down low who can do things to get me open again."

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