Kansas’ loss to Wichita State embarrassing, but not an upset
By Larry Brown.
Kansas got beat pretty badly by in-state rival Wichita State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Sunday 78-65, but don’t call this one an upset.
Kansas has a history of playing well in the regular season and flopping in the tournament under Bill Self, and maybe this belongs in that category, but it’s not like they lost to an inferior opponent. The Jayhawks were completely overseeded as a two seed in the tourney. They lost nine games in the regular season. They were blasted by Kentucky by 32 points in November. Do you think that puts them on the same line as teams like Gonzaga or Arizona? Hardly. They were maybe a three or four seed.
Wichita State, on the other hand, went 30-4 this season and 17-1 in conference. Two of their losses were very respectable, coming to Northern Iowa, and Utah by one point in overtime. They are a very strong team — a team that went undefeated in the regular season last year before having the misfortune of having to play Kentucky in the second round. They were criminally underseeded as a seven.
How close were these teams this year in terms of talent and ability? So close that sportsbooks had the game as a pick ‘em, or even Wichita State slightly favored. That just goes to show you how meaningless the seeds are in some cases.
Self’s Jayhawks often disappoint in the tourney — which is part of the reason why I had the Shockers winning — and they were embarrassed in the game by the lesser in-state opponent. But Wichita State is a very good team and in many cases they were expected to win this game. So don’t call this an upset or consider it a bad loss for Kansas. They lost to a very good team, one that played much better on Sunday. This was not a Bucknell or Bradley situation.
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