So, about that Kansas University basketball
run trip-up in the NCAA Tournament…
Once the Jayhawks disposed of would-be Cinderella Eastern Kentucky, and New Mexico faltered against Stanford in St. Louis, most people who keep up with KU hoops figured: Next stop, Memphis.
Instead of forging on to the Sweet 16, though, the Jayhawks couldn't cut through the trees on Stanford's front line in a 60-57, season-ending loss in the round of 32.
Kansas, the No. 2 seed, seemed like the obvious choice to advance against this No. 10 seed. So one would assume the national college hoops pundits would bash KU for not taking care of business. That didn't happen on a large scale, though.
It must be because Kansas didn't lose to a VCU, Northern Iowa, Bradley or Bucknell that no one freaked out about the loss on a national level. One power conference team knocking off another doesn't draw the attention of a Southwest Who University beating a blue blood.
With that in mind, here are some of the national observations on what proved to be the final game of the 2013-14 KU basketball season.
• Seth Davis, of CBS and Sports Illustrated fame, had to include KU's performance against Stanford in his piece on the NCAA Tournament defying convention.
Davis included a couple of thoughts on Kansas:
"Kansas doesn't need me to make excuses for them, but without Joel Embiid, the Jayhawks are just another good team."
"That game against Stanford was a great example of why we use the word "matchups" so much when analyzing the NCAA tournament. There are many teams that are as good if not better than Stanford that would have provided a more comfortable matchup for Kansas."
• SI.com had at least one reporter from every tournament site this past weekend write about what he or she learned in the round of 32.
Joan Niesen sat courtside to report on Sunday's games in St. Louis.
Like many who watched Kansas vs. Stanford, Niesen remarked on the unspectacular fashion with which the Cardinal eliminated one of the tournament's perceived favorites:
"In fact, not much that Stanford did was anything approaching pretty, but it was methodical in its approach, exploiting Kansas’ weaknesses and shutting down Andrew Wiggins (four points on 1-of-6 shooting), which proved to be just enough."
• Yahoo's Jeff Eisenberg offered his best and worst of the opening weekend. Guess which category KU landed in.
Eisenberg picked Wiggins as his "player who shrank in the spotlight."
"Stanford's array of zone defenses turned Andrew Wiggins into the world's most athletic spot-up shooter. The freshman phenom and potential No. 1 pick in this June's NBA draft attempted only six shots and sank only one of them in Kansas' stunning 60-57 loss to the 10th-seeded Cardinal in the round of 32."
• Over at NBCsports.com, a few writers listed the NCAA Tournament's biggest surprises heading into the Sweet 16.
Terrence Payne said the bottom half of the South Region — Stanford vs. Dayton in the Sweet 16 — is the biggest surprise of the NCAA tournament so far.
Added Scott Phillips:
"I fully believed that Kansas was susceptible to a Round of 32 loss without Joel Embiid — why can’t I quit you, New Mexico? — but I never expected Stanford to be the team to do it."
• BleacherReport.com college basketball writer Jason King appeared on ESPN's Olbermann to discuss KU freshman center Joel Embiid, and whether he will play another game in a Kansas uniform.
In King's opinion, Embiid probably needs to go ahead and enter the NBA draft, because he will likely be a top-three pick.
King also weighed in on Wiggins' difficult ending to his one-and-done KU career, saying the freshman's off afternoon against Stanford won't hurt his draft status.
Don't know if anyone spotted this in the moments that followed KU's loss to Stanford, but one Cardinal fan apparently tried to storm the court.
(Disclaimer: Not sure one person qualifies as a storm.)
That doesn't really fly in the NCAA Tournament, FYI.
Also, Davis fielded some KU-related questions on Twitter after the Jayhawks' season ended.