The Kansas Jayhawks were bounced early from the NCAA tournament on March 23. However, when the Jayhawks lose earlier than expected in March under coach Bill Self, it is basically an NCAA tournament tradition at this point. Although Kansas has won a national championship and reached a title game with Self, it has a much longer history of March upset losses, which the Stanford Cardinal added to.
The Cardinal took advantage of a Jayhawks team that didn't have Joel Embiid, and also only got four points from Andrew Wiggins. The 60-57 win likely shouldn't have been that close, yet two late three-pointers from Conner Frankamp gave Kansas a chance to tie at the last second. However, Frankamp missed the three-pointer that Self and the Jayhawks really needed at the buzzer, which finally sealed things for the Cardinal.
Cold streaks and a lack of clutch play ended a season in which Kansas suffered 10 losses, but was still considered an NCAA tournament favorite until the end. Even without Emiid, there was hope that his back would heal in time for the second week of the tournament. Yet in a year where the Jayhawks struggled through a killer schedule and Wiggins wasn't always the all-world freshman he was hyped to be, this was one last measure of bad luck.
The Cardinal didn't make a three-point shot all afternoon, but the Jayhawks were still too sloppy from the field. Stanford hadn't made a Sweet 16 since 2008 -- Kansas's national championship season -- yet it will be favored to reach the Elite Eight over the 11'th seeded Dayton Flyers. Meanwhile, the much more heavily hyped Jayhawks and their freshmen stars are gone after the first week yet again.
Self has presided over several upset defeats to small schools and mid-majors, and heartbreaking losses when a national championship seemed within reach. This early exit from the NCAA tournament might not be a total shock, since the Jayhawks weren't favored to get out of the South regional. But without Kansas, the No. 1 Florida Gators now have the easiest route to the Final Four.
The Jayhawks have forfeited almost every easy path they have had under Self, however. The accompanying list details all their NCAA tournament upset losses, and the more surprising near-misses, over the last decade.
Bucknell shocks Kansas
2005: Bucknell 64, Kansas 63 -- The Jayhawks' poor NCAA tournament luck under Bill Self began in 2005, when the Bucknell Bison won their first ever tournament game over the third seed.
Bradley repeats history for Kansas
2006: Bradley 77, Kansas 73 -- This time, it was a 13'th seed from the Missouri Valley Conference that sent Kansas to a first-round upset loss.
UCLA keeps Kansas from Final Four
2007: UCLA 68, Kansas 55 -- The Jayhawks finally got past the first round and were poised to even make the Final Four, yet Arron Afflalo and the UCLA Bruins gave them an even greater disappointment in the Elite Eight.
Northern Iowa takes out top seed Kansas
2010: Northern Iowa 69, Kansas 67 -- The Jayhawks finally won it all in 2008 and were a favorite to do it again in 2010, until the top seed returned to their NCAA tournament upset roots by losing to the MVC's Panthers.
VCU pulls off ultimate shocker
2011: VCU 71, Kansas 61 -- An upset laden NCAA tournament was ripe for the taking, with Kansas as the last No. 1 seed left. However, Cinderella VCU pulled the biggest stunner of all in the Elite Eight.
Burke, Wolverines rally
2013: Michigan 87, Kansas 85 (OT) -- The Jayhawks were about to cruise into the Elite Eight, until the Wolverines stormed back and Trey Burke forced overtime on a last-second three. The subsequent overtime win launched Michigan to the national title game.