San Jose, Calif. Awash in a sea of fans clad in baby blue - and, more importantly, an opportunistic lineup of sharp-shooting UCLA Bruins - Kansas fans once again are headed into the offseason with a postseason loss, this time one win away from the Final Four.
The Bruins from Southern California topped the Jayhawks, 68-55, Saturday at the HP Pavilion in Northern California, leaving disappointed KU faithful wondering what comes next.
"Well, if it's not this year, it's definitely next year," said Amanda Murtaugh, who grew up in Lawrence and now works in San Francisco.
Kylie Smith, who left KU as a junior in 1997 to hit the Bay Area at the height of the dot-com boom, figures all major players on this year's team will return and lead the Jayhawks to new heights.
"We regroup," said Smith, who also grew up in Lawrence and now works in finance. "We'll get it next time."
KU fans congregating in San Jose for the NCAA Tournament's western regionals knew they were in for a tough fight.
All top four seeds had advanced, and despite KU coming in with the top spot, that didn't equate to a win.
Nathan Padia knows the feeling. His Lawrence High School Lions were the top seed in their substate when they lost in this year's final to Leavenworth.
In San Jose to follow KU, he said he could sympathize with the team - all while maintaining steadfast confidence in the Jayhawks' future.
"We're going to be a force," Padia said. "If all of them stay, and we get some good freshmen coming in, they'll all get better. I like them even better for next year."