The exact opposite of what I predicted happened. Kansas won its way to the Final Four while Missouri somehow got bounced in the first round (well, technically second, but who’s counting?) by a 15 seed.
Those that were whining when Frank Haith didn’t get Big 12 Coach of the Year can all be quiet now. He won National honors on the strength of Mike Anderson’s team, an honor he, in hindsight, didn’t deserve.
Norfolk State also played the game of their lives against Mizzou before shooting a horrendous 27 percent in their loss to Florida, but that’s neither here nor there.
What Bill Self did during a “down” year is incredible. The Big 12 Player of the Year only averaged 15 minutes per game last season and, should KU reach the National Championship Game, he should be strongly considered for the Wooden Award.
Back to the original point. We’ve learned that I’m not a prophet, and it’s called March Madness for a reason - anything can happen.
Kansas won ugly, having to come back against both Purdue and North Carolina State in the round of 32 and the Sweet 16, respectively.
I about had a pair of heart attacks and certainly irritated my neighbors with my obnoxious clapping and groans of pain every time something went wrong.
The Boilermakers turned it over late, letting the Jayhawks seal the deal and steal the win despite only shooting 33 percent and giving up 26 points to Robbie Hummel. Thank goodness he’s finally graduating.
The Wolfpack followed it up by only shooting 28 percent, but Kansas only shot 37.5 percent and looked downright horrible doing it.
The Jayhawks finally put it together against North Carolina and stepped on the Tar Heels’ throats down the stretch to earn Self his second trip to the Final Four.
That’s the best this team has looked all season; I have no idea how they’ve got 31 wins, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
I’m still not sure how this team is here, though. Maybe it’s a tribute to the tough stretch they went through at the beginning of the season, playing Kentucky, Duke and Ohio State (sans Jared Sullinger) and dropping two of the three. Looks like it’s paying off now.
If Kansas can matchup with UNC the way they did, the same should be true of the rematch with Ohio State, this time with Sullinger. The only difference is Aaron Craft. He could potentially shut down Tyshawn Taylor the way Stilman White let him waltz into the paint whenever he wanted.
Craft did negatively affect Taylor’s performance in the first meeting, holding the third-team All-American to 2-of-8 shooting in head-to-head matchups.
It seems that the Jayhawks have luck on their side and should survive because I’m really looking forward to seeing Robinson go toe-to-toe with fellow first-team All-American Anthony Davis for what should be the National Player of the Year Award decider.
The Wildcats beat Kansas by 10 on Nov. 15, but if a National Championship is at stake, I feel like the little bit of experience the Hawks have will help propel them to Self’s second title, and that would truly be madness. Well, and absolutely finish ruining my bracket.