Mar 28, 2011, 9:45 AM EDT
Yes. Yes they did.
/files story and closes lid on laptop.
Kansas loss to Virginia Commonwealth, not to take anything away from the Rams, was the biggest choke job in this tournament, and it ranks up there among some of the biggest choke jobs in tournament history.
Less than 24 hours after Butler downed Florida to earn its second consecutive trip to the Final Four, I thought it was the Gators who would be most admonished for failing to capitalize on a golden opportunity. Instead, the Jayhawks were eager to earn that distinction, falling to a much lower-seeded team for the fourth time in seven seasons.
In addition to KU, here are the four (plus one) other big time missed opportunities seen this tournament:
- Louisville – And not just because I had them winning the Southwest, but because the region was wide open even with the Jayhawks standing in their way in the Sweet 16. This regular season may have been Pitino’s best coaching job, but the Cardinals couldn’t even get off the ground this tournament.
- Duke – I refuse to believe that the return of Kyrie Irving disrupted the chemistry of this team. Five players are on a basketball court per team, so one can make a huge difference. Irving’s one-on-one skill set should have made the Blue Devils the favorites in this field, as both Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler are experienced and wise enough to not pout when they’re not getting theirs. Duke was unable to weather the Derrick Williams stormfront, and it doomed them.
- Xavier – Entering the tournament as just one of two teams to reach the last three Sweet 16s, the Musketeers looked lifeless for much of their short-lived tournament appearance. The Musketeers pride themselves on playing their best basketball come March, but Marquette outplayed them in every facet of their first round basketball game. It was odd to see, and very uncharacteristic of a proud program.
- Scoop Jardine – We’ve already elaborated on it, but while most of the Orange players should be ashamed for their play against Marquette, they still were in position to win down the stretch…and then Scoop Jardine Trying to Play Hero happened. If you followed this team closely through the winter you sort of saw this coming. Could this team be better off without him?
- This Guy – Just look at my bracket. I came in dead last in each of the high-stakes pools I participated in. Eff me, right?! Oh well. March is still great.
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