Carlton Bragg: 'We just don't want it to end right now'
Kansas rolled into the Elite Eight with a 98-66 win over Purdue on Thursday at the Sprint Center and if you were worried that the Jayhawks weren’t getting enough attention nationally, that’s not a problem now.
Here is what other sportswriters are saying about KU:
Alex Kirschner of SB Nation writes that the Jayhawks are peaking at the right time.
The Jayhawks have had other great runs this year. They won 18 in a row after a season-opening loss to Indiana in November. They’ve had other great two-game stretches; the best was back-to-back wins against Kentucky and Baylor as the calendar was flipping from January to February. It’s not like being good is new to them.
But the scale of their decimation of Michigan State and Purdue is fairly awing. One of those teams is coached by Tom Izzo. The other has (Caleb) Swanigan at center and had not lost a game by more than 12 points before KU beat it by almost three times that many.
Is a win of this magnitude against a team like Purdue the biggest win put upon a top-15-or so team all season? It’s got to be right up there.
Chris Chase of Fox Sports writes that history is not kind of the Jayhawks.
This is how Kansas rolls. Dominate the first three games, enter the second weekend as favorites and then – well, you know what happens.
Thursday’s 98-66 win gives Kansas its seventh Elite Eight appearance under Self. The school has lost four of those six games, three in which they were the better seed, including the 2011 embarrassment when the No. 1 Jayhawks lost by double-digits to 11th-seeded VCU. There was last year, when No. 1 Kansas fell to No. 2 Villanova. In 2007, KU, again a No. 1, fell to No. 2 UCLA. And then there was 2004, when Kansas was under-seeded at No. 4 and lost in overtime to No. 3 Georgia Tech.
The two Elite Eight wins for Self and Kansas: Beating No. 10 Davidson, a team led by some guy named Steph, en route to the national championship and then defeating former coach Roy Williams in 2012 before a finals loss to Kentucky. That’s 2-4 in Elite Eights and 6-2 in Sweet 16s. The regional final is KU’s Waterloo.
ESPN’s C.L. Brown believes Oregon will have its hands full.
The Jayhawks just play at a higher level. And when it comes to their backcourt and wings, they can tap into a potential that few teams remaining in the NCAA tournament can match.
Oregon will certainly try on Saturday when the two teams, each making a repeat trip to the Elite Eight, face off for a berth in the Final Four.
Brian Hamilton of Sports Illustrated writes that KU has shown it can put teams away.
Entering the NCAA tournament, the Jayhawks had played in 11 games decided by five points or less. In the search for signs of weakness in a No. 1 seed, the penchant to allow teams to stick around was considered a possible fatal flaw. But Kansas appears to have buried that habit. Its second-round meeting with Michigan State was a one-point game with 12 minutes remaining … and the Jayhawks won by 20. Purdue rallied to get within two with 16 and a half minutes remaining on Thursday … and then Kansas decided to close.
Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports says Oregon better beware.
This is as good as KU has played this season. We know it. They know it. Certainly UC Davis, Michigan State and Purdue know it. Those three tournament opponents have lost to Kansas by a combined 90 points.
The only thing seemingly standing between KU and a nonstop to Phoenix next week is a required change of planes Saturday against Oregon.
That would otherwise be known as the Midwest Regional final against the Ducks, 69-68 winners over Michigan earlier Thursday.
A word of warning for Phil Knight’s personal shoe marketing program: Kansas is how a top seed plays on its way to the Final Four. KU is the first team since UConn in 1995 to score at least 90 points in its first three tournament games.
Those Huskies didn’t win it all, but Kansas is well aware of not fulfilling its destiny.