By Danny Clinkscale
I am here in Houston at the Final Four, and on the flight down from Kansas City, there were more than just a few
fans who were sporting Kansas gear. No doubt they felt, and perhaps rightly so, that this was a season that warranted
some pre-planning for a trip to see their club try and grab a national title. Frankly, with the crowds at the first two weekends
of play, which to my eye were smaller than usual in KU backers, I think a lot of fans were saving their time and money for the
But that was not to be the case. For the fourth time in six bids to make the Final Four at the regional final under Bill
Self, Kansas lost. I have always maintained that an Elite Eight season cannot be viewed as a disappointment. You have won
three games, and you are playing a team that has done the same. They are either a high seed like Villanova that has played
to that high seed, or a VCU-type that has beaten excellent competition and is fine form. But this is certainly more of a
disappointment than most.
It was a season was that was widely viewed as bereft of great teams, but the best of that bunch was KU as the overall
number one seed, and a team that had won 17 in a row entering the matchup with 'Nova. But the Wildcats played tough,
and did the rarest of things, they completely took Perry Ellis away, as he sadly ended his career with easily his worst game
of the season.
The takeaway from this is to view the overall performance of Kansas in the tournament under Bill Self. Numbers are
numbers, and KU has generally played about one game below their seed on average. It's difficult to play to your seed
when you are a one seed or a two seed, but you always have to wear it. People probably get tired of me using this stat,
but it's true. Duke, Michigan State, Kentucky and North Carolina all basically have averaged at least one Final Four every three
years during their coaches tenure. Now Bill Self is below one every six years. That's one reason this year was so big.
Three Final Fours in thirteen years would have been creeping closer to the company you want to keep.
We all know that the tournament is given too much of the grade for each teams season, but that's the way it is. The Program
did an informal poll of whose season was better right at this moment, KU or Oklahoma. The result was not particularly close, and 'the selection
was Oklahoma. Frankly, I probably would disagree, but I get it. I feel like two head-to-head wins, the league and post season
tournament title and an Elite Eight is better than OU advancing one more round.
Houston is not the greatest place to have the Final Four, but Kansas fans would have been delighted to come to this Texas
town which really doesn't care that much about college basketball. They will have to wait 'til next year and hope that they
could serve themselves a combo platter of the last week of spring training for the Royals, and a visit by the Jayhawks to
college basketball's biggest party......because the Final Four pops up in Glendale, Arizona.
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