Well, that was painful. Moving on.
Collegehoophits.com will be on a hiatus for about a week or so while we wash away the angst on a Caribbean beach with lots of umbrella drinks.
Rock Chalk Jayhawks!
“These kids are tough,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “We may not play well, but nobody can say they’re not tough.”
This was a fantastic season in most ways for Kansas. It won the best Big 12 ever by two games, plus the conference tournament. It went 33-5, and there is no shame in losing to Villanova, particularly in the Elite Eight. But being at Kansas means any season that ends in a loss is a disappointment, especially a loss before the Final Four.
Every disappointment needs somewhere for the blame to go, so there will be talk of Ellis playing his worst game of the season in his last game at Kansas, and questions about why the Jayhawks played so tight for so long, or about some questionable calls by the officials. At the final buzzer, Kansas assistant Kurtis Townsend screamed at a referee, appearing to say, “You were awful tonight!”
Bill Self has now won just two of eight regional finals, the game he calls the toughest of the tournament — the difference between a good season, and a special one.
This is a different kind of loss. Three years ago, it was Elijah Johnson’s meltdown against Michigan. Two years ago, it was Andrew Wiggins scoring just four points against Stanford. Last year, it was a roster-wide backdown against Wichita State.
This time, KU just got beat. Some of it they did to themselves with decisions that were too slow, and adjustments that were too late. But Villanova earned this, too.
“It hurts because I’m proud of our seniors and whatnot,” Lucas said. “But it’s a different feeling than the last couple years.”
This particular group of Jayhawks did not have the depth of talent of the 2008 team, or the star power of the 2012 team, but they pushed themselves to the doorstep of the Final Four because they were relentlessly effective. They were made up of complementary parts, each man knowing exactly what was needed in both the big picture and the moment.
This was not the prototype of a powerhouse, however. Bill Self talked often of how the makeup of his roster left a smaller margin for error than some of his best teams, and it had been so long since they’d lost — 61 days, actually — that it was easy to forget what he meant.
“Coaches probably know better than anybody what teams’ ceilings are, and these kids played pretty close to it the last couple of months,” Self said. “I don’t know if this particular group could have a special year without getting to (the Final Four), but nobody can say these kids didn’t have a great year.
“They battled hard and almost always rose to the occasion when they needed to. Tonight, we played a team that was scrappy also, and they made a couple more plays.”
KC Star Mellinger
Kansas University freshman forward Cheick Diallo’s mentor told coach Bill Self today that the 6-foot-9 Mali native would declare for the 2016 NBA Draft.
“I spoke with Tidiane (Drame, mentor of Diallo) today. He informed me Cheick plans to declare at this time and not hire an agent,” Self told the Journal-World. “This certainly comes as no surprise,” Self added.
Self had no further comment.
Sources tell the Journal-World that Diallo is expected to stay in the draft.
Self said he had not spoken with Diallo and did not know when he would speak with various players about their future plans.
“I’ve got to go to Houston for the Final Four,” Self said. “I don’t know if anything will be done in the next few days.”
NBA Draft/Early Entry Guidelines for 2016
“Pay Heed. The game you love began here. Respect those who came before you. Make their legacy your own. Because destiny favors the dedicated. And rings don’t replace work. In this game you don’t get what you want. You get what you earn. We are Kansas. Together we rise. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!”
BIG 12/COLLEGE NEWS
Find out the tournament history for specific seeds, teams, coaches or conferences.
NCAA Tournament Brackets and History interactive tool
CBS Interactive Tool: Pick two teams to compare record, RPI and SOS details head to head. By default, the top two teams in RPI are shown.
Top basketball recruit and Michigan State target Josh Jackson told Rivals.com in a Sunday evening interview that he knows his college choice, but he also said he probably won’t announce it this week.
“It’s probably gonna be later on,” Jackson told the recruiting site during an interview from Chicago, where he is taking part in McDonald’s All-American Game festivities this week.
And it was supposed to happen Thursday, Jackson said – which coincides with heavy rumors on recruiting sites that night that he was about to announce. But he said there were some “family members and close friends” who couldn’t be with him, so he held off.
Those rumors also had Jackson picking Kansas that night, over finalists MSU and Arizona. But Jackson isn’t tipping his hand right now.
He told Rivals.com that, of the three head coaches, he probably has the closest relationship with Arizona’s Sean Miller. He said he was impressed on his official visit to Kansas.
“It was the loudest gym I’ve ever been in, in my entire life,” he said of Allen Fieldhouse. “And I was just the whole time thinking, ‘Man, I’d hate to be the opposing team right now, but I would love to be playing for Kansas right now.’ Just one major thing is their fans, their fans are amazing, probably the best fans in college basketball. And the coach, coach (Bill) Self, he’s a great coach. He coaches players really hard, pushes them, makes them better.”
And MSU? Jackson – a 6-foot-7 wing ranked the No. 1 prospect in the nation by some services – wasn’t asked by Rivals.com specifically about the Spartans. But when asked which other McDonald’s All-Americans are recruiting him hardest to join them, he was quick to answer.
“Definitely Miles,” Jackson said of MSU signee Miles Bridges. “By far. By far. Daily, constant.”
Bridges, of Flint and now Huntington (W.Va.) Prep, has long been friends with Jackson, who is from Detroit and is now a senior at Prolific Prep in Napa, Calif.
Jackson and MSU signee Joshua Langford will play for the West team during Wednesday’s McDonald’s All-American Game (9 p.m., ESPN), and Bridges will be on the East team.
Lansing State Journal
Recruiting Calendar (updated for 2016)
Late Night in the Phog
Bill Self Camp KU Alumni games
60 Years of AFH Celebration
Legends of the Phog game
2011-12 Final Border War
KC Prep Invitational
and more, now on YouTube