Arkansas into Sweet 16 with upset of No. 1 Kansas

DES MOINES, Iowa — Kansas’ worst fears concerning the Jayhawks’ second-round NCAA event matchup with Arkansas got here true. As a outcome, the Jayhawks are now not round to defend final yr’s title.

Kansas, the highest seed within the West, fell to the Razorbacks 72-71. Arkansas, the area’s eighth seed, will transfer on to the Sweet 16. Kansas turns into the second No. 1 seed on this yr’s event to fall, following Purdue.

Since the NCAA expanded the event area in 1985, solely 3 times have a number of No. 1 seeds failed to succeed in the Sweet 16 earlier than this yr: 2000, 2004 and 2018.

The Razorbacks eradicated a No. 1 seed from the event for the second straight season, having carried out so in opposition to Gonzaga final yr. This time, coach Eric Musselman was so moved by the accomplishment that he jumped up on a courtside desk at Wells Fargo Arena, eliminated his shirt and led Arkansas followers in a “Pig Sooie” cheer.

“I’ve been coaching a long time and that’s as great of a win as I’ve ever been a part of because of the history of Kansas,” Musselman said. “Lots of people did not assume we had been going to win our first-round sport.”

As candy because the victory was for Musselman and the Razorbacks, the defeat was that bitter for the Jayhawks. They had been hoping to be the primary back-to-back champions since Florida in 2006 and 2007. The Jayhawks had been with out head coach Bill Self on Saturday as he continues to recuperate from a coronary heart process.

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Going into the sport, Kansas was involved concerning the size, depth and athletic skill of the Razorbacks, and certainly these Arkansas qualities turned out to be an issue for Kansas. Arkansas outrebounded Kansas 36-29 and outscored the Jayhawks in second-chance factors 15-2.

Arkansas smothered one in every of Kansas’ high long-range shooters, Gradey Dick, who was simply 1-of-3 from 3 and had seven factors.

“We just wanted to give no airspace obviously to No. 4, Gradey Dick,” Musselman said. “He’s an unbelievable shooter, probably the greatest shooters in school basketball.

“We didn’t want Gradey to see any daylight. We felt like if we could hold him to four or five 3-ball attempts they would play to our advantage.”

On Friday, Roberts compared the Razorbacks to Texas in terms of their physical qualities. The Longhorns beat the Jayhawks twice in recent weeks, both times by double digits.

“They have some lengthy athletes that made it powerful on [Dick] to get photographs,” mentioned Norm Roberts, who crammed in for Self throughout Kansas’ two event video games. “I don’t think we screened as well as we wanted to for him, maybe we could have ran a few more things for him, but they did nullify him a little bit. I thought we shared the ball pretty good and we had a lot of balance, but they did do a good job of preventing him from getting open looks.”

Arkansas put up a furious second-half rally after trailing by as many as 12 points as Razorbacks guard Davonte Davis put on a spectacular second-half show. With Arkansas’ two leading scorers in the regular season, Ricky Council IV and Nick Smith Jr., struggling, Davis carried his team. He was 7-of-9 shooting with many of the shots contested and 6-of-7 from the free throw line for 21 points in the second half.

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“Coach Mus mentioned to get downhill,” Davis mentioned. “I really feel like all of us did one thing to assist us win.”

Davis fouled out with 1:56 remaining and the Razorbacks down 64-63. Council took over from there. He made a stepback jumper and 5 free throws to ship the Jayhawks house.