Some thoughts...From San Jose
Gary Bedore, Journal-World KU men's basketball beat writer
"The Jayhawks played hard, but didn't play well and didn't deserve to win the game.
I thought when KU led six in the first half, the Jayhawks would gain a Final Four berth, but the offense went brain dead with turnover after turnover.
The bad foul shooting continued and it simply killed the team's dreams.
Great season. Bad ending.
If most everybody comes back it'll be another great season next year. My suggestion to those ready to leap off a building is to calm down and chill. It's just a game.
Try to enjoy more than one sport. KU had a great season. Hope you enjoyed it and maybe next one will be even better.
Just one team can win it all. It won't be KU this year."
Tom Keegan, Journal-World sports editor
"One bad day doesn't dilute these numbers: 33-5. Or this accomplishment: Elite Eight. Or this reality: Even if Brandon Rush, the only player on the roster who has anything to think about, decides to jump to the NBA, the program is in good shape for another run next season and beyond.
One of these years, Kansas will knock on the door of the Final Four and shoot better than 5-of-11 from the line and 14-of-33 on shots, most contested hotly, classified as free throws or layups. It just wasn't this year."
Ryan Greene, KUSports.com editor
"It was officially over when Darren Collison hit the three atop the key with an awkward motion and the shot clock reading '1,' despite Kansas hands right in his face. When shots like that are falling, plus two off the top of the head that Arron Afflalo put away in similar situations, it's just not your night.
The sad thing is that people are now going to magnify the fact that Bill Self has been to the Elite Eight four times and is 0-4. Anyone who says he's not a Final Four coach is ridiculous. Don't forget how young he still is. He'll get there, but like Tom said, it just wasn't meant to be this season."
Ryan Wood, Journal-World sports reporter
"Even a 13-point game can be pinpointed to one or two plays, and this game is no exception.
Blame Darren Collison's big three-pointer as the shot clock was expiring. Kansas was poised to have a chance to make it a one-possession game, and the momentum was sucked right out of its sails as the UCLA lead stretched to 58-50. You could feel it in HP Pavilion.
Kansas has nothing to be ashamed of. The game was sloppy on both sides but the Bruins came through in the clutch a few more times than the Jayhawks did. It happens."
Inside the numbers
24: UCLA junior star Arron Afflalo was 15-of-58 from the field in his last five games leading up to Saturday's win over KU. Despite that, he might have shot and played his way into the NBA Draft Lottery with his game-high 24 points against the Jayhawks. Afflalo finished 10-of-15 from the field, hit three huge treys and was integral late in the first half and early in the second in helping UCLA take all the game's momentum. He truly played with a chip on his shoulder after having two first-half threes blocked by Brandon Rush.
42: KU shot just 42 percent, or 14-of-33, combined between layups and dunks. While UCLA had some bounces go its way, the Jayhawks were the polar opposite. Russell Robinson, Brandon Rush and Julian Wright off the top of the head were all bitten by the rim.
17: The Jayhawks had 17 steals Saturday, including eight in the first half while the game's momentum was still in the balance. They hoped that defensive capability would pay off in the game's final two minutes, applying full court pressure to try and force turnovers. Instead, two quick fouls on Russell Robinson helped put UCLA in the bonus and allowed the Bruins to ice their second straight berth into the Final Four.
31: In both games in San Jose, KU allowed its opponent to pull down 31 rebounds. More importantly around that number is the fact that the Jayhawks were outboarded in both contests, which was not symbolic of the ferocity KU showed on the glass down the season's stretch. It was not a good night for KU to get outrebounded, shooting just 41.1 percent from the floor.
33: It's hard for any KU fan to be disappointed with a 33-win season, including a 14-game winning streak leading up to Saturday's elimination from the NCAA Tournament field. Along the way, KU won a pair of conference championships and was a No. 1 seed in the field of 65 for the first time since 2002. They'll have a solid core back no matter what, and should be almost as dangerous in 2007-08.
Just in case you missed it...
Sherron Collins had a noticeable limp Saturday, and Bill Self said after the game that his knee has been a problem for a couple of weeks now. Collins' toughness didn't let him sit out at all, but he wasn't the same player which emerged with such noise late in the season. Self said it's not known yet whether Collins will need to undergo surgery, and it'll be checked out soon.
Hopefully you didn't miss it...
UCLA's 12-2 run to close out the first half was coupled with a 7-2 spurt to open the second - a combined 19-4 edge. Josh Shipp's three-pointer at the first half buzzer could have been made moot if UCLA hadn't started the second stanza as hot as it finished the first. Arron Afflalo made sure that didn't happen. And while KU again struggled from the free throw line, going a combined 15-of-30 in the two games in San Jose, Darren Collison and UCLA were clutch down the stretch with their charities, closing the door the way it's meant to be done.
They said it...
Brandon Rush on his future plans: "I ain't even commenting on that right now. Yes, I think so (I'll take some time to think things through), but I'm not even worried about that right now. No timetable at all. I'm just trying not to think about that right now."
Mario Chalmers on his future plans: "Yes, I'll come back. I want to come back. I think everybody's coming back, I don't think anybody's talking about leaving right now. We've got a little taste of it now, and with everybody coming back, we'll have the same type of success."
Darrell Arthur on his future plans: "I'll probably be back next year. We're going to try and make another run if everybody comes back. But I don't know what the word is. And we'll just have to see what happens."
Sherron Collins on next year's roster: "A couple changes might happen, a couple changes might be made. But I don't know what's going to happen with me, I can't look forward right now. I don't know. Hard question to answer right now. So I don't know."
Russell Robinson on what next year's roster could look like: "I don't know. One thing is I just hope guys do the best thing for them. I know Kansas will be good and will be ready to be contenders next year regardless of who stays and who doesn't. So I just think guys should do what's in the best interest for them or if they're ready (to jump to the NBA)."
Sherron Collins on Darren Collison's late three: "That's when we (had) got into a little groove. Russell played good defense, and it was just a step-back fadeaway three. Really, we thought it had no chance of going in. He and Afflalo, they hit tough shots under pressure."
Brandon Rush on missed shots: "At the end of the shot clock, they all stepped up and made some big shots. We missed a lot, we call it 'trickin',' we 'tricked' a lot of layups...The rim wasn't friendly for us, so that's all I can say. One day they're all falling and another day this, going around the rim, coming off, going hard off the backboard."
Brandon Rush on looking back on the year: "We got two championships, so we're pretty proud of that. We got past that first round hump and we got to the Elite Eight. So I think our fans will be proud."
Mario Chalmers on KU's strategy late in the game by applying full-court pressure and traps: "We were just trying to force turnovers to get back into the game. They called a couple fouls after that, and we just started fouling them to try to get the worst free throw shooter on the line."
Russell Robinson on UCLA's tough shots made: "Those are heartbreakers. Those are the shots you've just got to tip your hats to 'em. Just because you do a great job 34 seconds and they throw up some prayer and their prayers got answered today. I just think that today was their day and shots like that showed that."
Russell Robinson on this as opposed to first round losses: "First of all, it's kind of hard to swallow. It didn't hit me yet. I'm kind of still waiting, hoping that you're waking up from a dream or something happens and they want us to play the game over or something like that. It definitely feels better than last year. At least this year we gave ourselves a chance playing a game like this."
Julian Wright on this as opposed to first round losses: "You don't want to lose first, but the more you advance, the more you don't want to lose. You're kind of greedy in a sense, the more you win the more you want to keep winning."
Bill Self on Sherron Collins' knee woes: "The knee's bad, he needs to take some time off, hopefully he won't need surgery, but I thought he got the two fouls early, and he came back the second half, and he was limping visibly when he came back in. So Sherron hasn't felt very good, to be honest, the last couple weeks."