My 62-year-old uncle said something interesting while discussing the picks he made in his bracket a couple of days after Selection Sunday. He said he considered picking #2 Kansas to lose its Second Round game against #15 Eastern Kentucky. Still, like all but a minuscule fraction of the bracket-filling populace, I picked Kansas. Then I told my uncle that he was crazy, that I had the Jayhawks advancing to the Elite Eight, and asked why he would consider picking the Colonels to upend a team with the likely 2014 No. 1 NBA draft pick in its starting lineup. “I don’t buy Kansas,” he said. I didn’t pay much mind to his comment. Kansas was going to beat EKU anyway, I thought. Then, after the Jayhawks fell last weekend in the round of 32 to #10 Stanford, my uncle called me. The first thing he said was, “I warned you about Kansas.” That he did. His lack of confidence in Kansas is not a product of what he had seen this season from the Jayhawks. It’s a feeling that he has developed over the past 10 years of NCAA Tournaments.
Bill Self was introduced as the head coach at Kansas in April 2003, less than a month removed from his predecessor, Roy Williams, guiding the Jayhawks to the national championship game (a loss to Syracuse). The former Illinois boss came right in and guided Kansas to an Elite Eight appearance in his first season in charge. But since 2005, Kansas has seen five of its 10 Tourney runs end at the hands of a team seeded at least eight spots lower.
- In ’05, #3 Kansas fell to #14 Bucknell in the round of 64.
- In ’06, #4 Kansas was clipped by #13 Bradley in the round of 64.
- In ’10, #1 Kansas advanced past the opening round, but lost to #9 Northern Iowa (thanks, in large part, to a shot and a last name college hoops fans will never forget).
- In ’11, #1 Kansas was undone by #11 VCU in the Elite Eight.
- And the latest upset — #2 Kansas losing to #10 Stanford – came a week ago Sunday. Read the rest of this entry »