The Kansas Jayhawks, by any measure, had an incredible 2019-20 campaign.
The Bill Self led squad won their NCAA-leading 62nd regular-season conference championship.when they were named Big 12 champions on March 7. Kansas, who carried a 28-3 record when the season came to a halt right before their conference tournament last week, garnered 63 of 65 first-place votes from a national media panel in balloting released Wednesday to finish No. 1 in the AP poll.
No. 2 Gonzaga and No. 3 Dayton each received the only remaining first-place votes.
With that resume, it's fair for many to assume that the Jayhawks would have been the favorites to bring another national championship to Allen Fieldhouse if the NCAA had not canceled the basketball season. Sites like GGBet are great for basketball odds when the NCAA tournament returns.
Of course, anyone who has ever paid attention to college basketball would be maligned in writing KU atop their brackets, because no team has flamed out more consistently early in the tournament than the men's college basketball team based in Lawrence. Here are four of Self's losses during his tenure at Kansas in the Round of 64 or Round of 32:
- 2005: Round of 64 - No. 14 Bucknell 64, No. 3 Kansas 63 (KU -11)
- 2006: Round of 64 - No. 13 Bradley 77, No. 4 Kansas 73 (KU -9)
- 2010: Round of 32 - No. 9 Northern Iowa 69, No. 1 Kansas 67 (KU -8)
- 2014: Round of 32 - No. 10 Stanford 60, No. 2 Kansas 57 (KU -8)
Kansas entered the 2010 tourney as the overall No. 1 seed, but after breezing by Lehigh in their opening contest, a wild mid-major from Cedar Falls, Iowa appeared.
The Northern Iowa Panthers were not afraid of a Jayhawks team who would eventually send eight players to the NBA, and their 8-point lead at the half in the Ford Center in Oklahoma City was proof of how capable they were. Kansas would claw back to a 63-62 score with less than a minute remaining, and Self would deploy a full-court trap, hoping that Northern Iowa would buckle under the pressure and turn the ball over. To Self's credit, NIU almost did just that, but the ball was matriculated up the court to a wide-open Ali Farokhmanesh who was nearly 30-feet from the rim.
That's when the disrespect happened.
Farokhmanesh's three was Steph Curry levels of rude from beyond the arc, and it's hard to explain how audacious many thought this shot was at the time. Just ten years ago, the popular sentiment in that situation would have been to hold the ball and either drain the clock or wait to be fouled. Instead, this was a seizing of the moment by a 6-0 sharpshooter with no D-1 offers who would spend the next four years after this shot playing professionally in Switzerland, Austria and Holland.
“I had practiced those all year and worked on extending my range,” Farokhmanesh said to Sporting News. “I caught it good, and it was a good feel going into the shot.”
Farokmanesh, now an assistant coach for the Colorado State Rams, will live on as a March Madness legend.
For Self and his Jayhawks, the suspension of the season means they're saved the potential misery of being handed another unsightly blemish on their postseason curriculum vitae.
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