Adam TeicherESPN staff writer1 minute reading time
DES MOINES, Iowa — Kansas’ worst fears coming into the Jayhawks’ second-round NCAA Tournament matchup with Arkansas came true. As a result, the Jayhawks are no longer close to defending last year’s title.
Kansas, the top seed in the West, fell to the Razorbacks 72-71. Arkansas, the eighth seed in the region, advances to the Sweet 16. Kansas will be the second seed in this year’s tournament after Purdue.
Since the NCAA expanded the tournament field in 1985, only three times have multiple No. 1 seeds failed to reach the Sweet 16 before this year: 2000, 2004 and 2018.
Kansas was without head coach Bill Self for the game as he continues to recover from heart surgery.
The Jayhawks were concerned going into the game with the Razorbacks’ length, depth and athletic ability. Sure enough, Arkansas staged a furious second-half rally after trailing by as many as 12 points.
Arkansas guard Davonte Davis had a great second half performance. With Arkansas’ two leading scorers in the regular season, Ricky Council IV and Nick Smith Jr., struggling, Davis carried his team. He shot 7-of-9 and 6-of-7 from the free throw line for 21 points in the second half.
Davis fouled out with 1:56 left and the Razorbacks up 64-63. The council took over from there. He made a step back and five throws to send the Jayhawks home.