Adam TeicherESPN staff writerI read for 1 minute
DES MOINES, Iowa — Kansas’ worst fears about the Jayhawks’ second-round NCAA matchup with Arkansas came true. As a result, the Jayhawks are no longer there to defend last year’s title.
Kansas, the top seed in the West, fell to the Razorbacks 72-71. Arkansas, the eighth seed in the region, will advance to the Sweet 16. The second No. 1 seed to fall in this year’s tournament, behind Purdue.
Since the NCAA expanded the tournament field in 1985, only three times before this year have multiple No. 1 seeds failed to reach the Sweet 16: 2000, 2004 and 2018.
Kansas was without head coach Bill Self for the game as he continues to recover from a heart procedure.
The Jayhawks were concerned about the Razorbacks’ length, depth and athleticism going into the game. Of course, Arkansas mounted a furious rally after trailing by 12 points in the second half.
Arkansas guard Davonte Davis had a terrific second half. Arkansas’ two leading players in the regular season, Ricky Council IV and Nick Smith Jr., struggled, and Davis carried his team. He shot 7-of-9 from the free throw line and 6-of-7 in the second half for 21 points.
Davis put the Razorbacks up 64-63 with 1:56 left. The council took over from there. He made a step-back jumper and five throws to send the Jayhawks home.