Kansas Was the Best Team in the Country… And Then They Weren’t
The Kansas Jayhawks went into their Elite Eight match up with the Oregon Ducks with extremely high hopes. Fresh off of a 32-point beat down of Big 10 champion Purdue. The Jayhawks looked like the favorite to win the title. Fast forward two hours after a 7:39 tip-off, and the Jayhawks are headed home.
What did them in though?
Having Josh Jackson in foul trouble less than three minutes into the game didn’t help the cause, but that’s not the main reason. The fatal blow to the Jayhawks’ season was a combination of two things. They missed a ton of shots for starters, and secondly their defense was nowhere to be found.
Like most teams that play at a fast pace the Jayhawks use defense to create offense. Kansas forced Oregon into 13 turnovers, but didn’t take advantage of those turnovers. Kansas also allowed Oregon to shoot 50 percent from the floor and and 44 percent from three.
It was essentially the exact opposite for the Jayhawks as they shot 35 percent from the floor and 20 percent from three. A culmination of Jordan Bell having his own block party, and Kansas just missing shots they normally make.
Coming into their Elite Eight match up Kansas had been shooting 50 percent from downtown, and while they made the occasional tough shot. A lot of the shots they were taking were uncontested.
Oregon contested everything, and I don’t know if the Jayhawks were ready for it. Jordan Bell blocking every shot at the rim didn’t help the cause either. Finishing with eight blocks Bell made every shot at the rim seem like an impossible shot.
Oregon outplayed Kansas for 40 minutes and it landed the Ducks in the Final Four. The loss for Kansas really shows how extremely difficult it is to get to a Final Four. As good as the Jayhawks were all season long with the likely National Player of the Year in Frank Mason; all it takes is one bad night, and your season could end just like that.