DES MOINES, Iowa — Kansas‘ worst fears about the Jayhawks’ second-round NCAA tournament matchup with Arkansas came true. As a result, the Jayhawks are no longer around to defend last year’s title.
Kansas, the top seed in the West, fell to the Razorbacks 72-71. Arkansas, the region’s eighth seed, will move on to the Sweet 16. Kansas becomes the second No. 1 seed in this year’s tournament to fall, following 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 in the game as he continues to recover from a heart procedure.
The Jayhawks were concerned heading into the game about the length, depth and athletic ability of the Razorbacks. Sure enough, Arkansas put up a furious second-half rally after trailing by as many as 12 points.
Arkansas guard Davonte Davis put on a spectacular second-half show. With Arkansas’ two leading scorers in the regular season, Ricky Council IV and Nick Smith Jr., struggling, Davis carried his team. He was 7-of-9 shooting and 6-of-7 from the free throw line for 21 points in the second half.
Davis fouled out with 1:56 remaining and the Razorbacks down 64-63. Council took over from there. He made a step-back jumper and five throws to send the Jayhawks home.