Bill Self definitely felt the fourth time in the Elite Eight would be the charm.
"From my standpoint, it hurts. I really felt like this was our year," said KU's coach, who is 0-2 in the Elite Eight at Kansas University, 0-1 at Illinois and 0-1 at Tulsa.
"I'm not saying a year to win it all, but I felt we were the best-equipped team to make a strong run. And we did. But it wasn't good enough."
UCLA, which lost in the national title game a year ago, prevented Self from reaching his first Final Four, by downing the Jayhawks, 68-55.
"I'm not going to look and say, 'Poor pitiful me.' It's not about that," Self said. "It's about getting your team there. I feel bad for our guys because they've given us a great opportunity to have a great year because of their focus and unselfishness. This isn't about me."
¢ Collins hobbled: KU freshman point guard Sherron Collins, who has been hobbled by a left knee injury the past couple of weeks, did not score in 15 minutes, with four misses and no makes from the field.
"He was limping visibly," Self said. "He has some stuff going on in there. He'll need some time off."
Self said he didn't think Collins would need surgery. Earlier, it was indicated he had tendonitis.
¢ Low-water mark: The 55-point outing was KU's second-lowest-scoring game in the NCAA Tournament. The all-time low was in a 54-53, triple-overtime loss to North Carolina in the national championship game on March 23, 1957.
¢ All-tourney: KU's Russell Robinson and Brandon Rush made the West Regional all-tournament team, with UCLA's Arron Afflalo and Darren Collison, plus Southern Illinois' Jamaal Tatum.
¢ Kaun plays 13 minutes: Center Sasha Kaun scored four points in 13 minutes. His limited minutes were because of coach's decision, not injury.
"It was a tough night for us," Kaun said. "Something went wrong. We don't normally miss layups. We did tonight. Sometimes it happens in games. It's really disappointing."
¢ Stats, facts: KU finished two shy of a school record for wins in a season. : KU is 12-6 in regional title games. : KU is 0-5 against UCLA in NCAA Tournament play and 9-5 against the Bruins overall. : KU scored a season-low 55 points. The previous low was 57 versus DePaul on Dec. 2 in a 64-57 loss. : The 32 combined steals marked an NCAA Tournament record. : KU hit a season-low 45.5 percent from the free-throw line. : Rush finished his sophomore season with 970 career points for an average of 13.7 ppg. : KU missed 19 inside shots. Overall, KU was 14-for-33 on layups and dunks.
¢ UCLA's Arron Afflalo on KU: "This was the best team we faced. It wasn't a one-point win, but it was the best team we faced."
¢ Big trey: Afflalo on Josh Shipp's momentum-building three at the halftime buzzer: "With six seconds left and five guys staring at you, you figure someone else is going to be open," said Afflalo, who dished to Shipp in the corner.
¢ Fan support for UCLA: UCLA's fans definitely outnumbered KU supporters in the West Coast arena.
Did the crowd play a role in the outcome?
"I don't think so," Self said. "For the most part, we've operated best under those situations. We've been in situations where the crowd definitely helped us. But we haven't been in very many where we felt the crowd hurt us. And I don't think that was the case today."
¢ Big-time player: Self on Afflalo, who hit 10 of 15 shots: "There really wasn't anything we wanted to do differently to try to slow him except maybe to deny him at the end of the clock. We had our best defender on him (Rush). With five seconds on the shot clock, he jabbed, jabbed, jabbed and shot the deep three on Brandon. We didn't switch a ball screen, which we were supposed to, and he made a 17-footer. There's a reason he's a first-team All-American."