Arkansas in the Sweet 16 with an upset of No. 1 Kansas

Adam TeicherESPN staff writer4 minutes of reading

Eric Musselman tore up his jersey after Arkansas beat Kansas

No. 8 Arkansas shuts out No. 1 Kansas and head coach Eric Musselman celebrates with his jersey off.

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 eighth seed in the region, will move on to the Sweet 16. Kansas becomes the second No. 1 seed in this year’s tournament to fall, 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 that year: 2000, 2004 and 2018.

The Razorbacks eliminated the No. 1 seed from the tournament for the second straight season after doing so against Gonzaga last year. This time, coach Eric Musselman was so excited by the accomplishment that he jumped on a courtside table at Wells Fargo Arena, took off his jersey and led the Arkansas fans in a “Pig Sooie” cheer.

“I’ve been a coach for a long time and this is a great win that I’ve ever been a part of because of the history of Kansas,” Musselman said. “A lot of people didn’t think he was going to win our first-round game.”

As sweet as the win was for Musselman and the Razorbacks, the defeat was just as bitter for the Jayhawks. They were hoping to become the first back-to-back champions since Florida in 2006 and 2007. The Jayhawks were without head coach Bill Self on Saturday as he continues to recover from a heart procedure.

Coming into the game, Kansas was concerned about the Razorbacks’ length, depth and athleticism, and indeed, those qualities of Arkansas proved to be a problem for Kansas. Arkansas outshot Kansas 36-29 and outscored the Jayhawks in second-chance points 15-2.

Arkansas stifled one of Kansas’ best long-range shooters, Grady Dick, who was just 1-of-3 from 3 and had seven points.

“We just wanted to not give airspace obviously to No. 4, Grady Dick,” Musselman said. “He’s an incredible shooter, one of the best shooters in college basketball.

“We didn’t want Grady to see the light of day. We felt like if we could keep it to four or five 3-ball attempts, they would play in our favor.”

On Friday, Roberts compared the Razorbacks to Texas in terms of their physical attributes. The Longhorns have beaten the Jayhawks twice in recent weeks, both times by double digits.

“They have some long athletes that made it tough [Dick] to get hits,” said Norm Roberts, who filled in for Self during Kansas’ two tournament games. “I don’t think we reviewed it as well as we wanted to, maybe we could have done a few more things on it, but they canceled it out a little bit. I thought we shared the ball pretty well and had a lot of balance, but they did a good job of keeping him from getting open looks.”

Arkansas made a furious second-half rally after trailing by as many as 12 points as Razorbacks 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 shot 7-of-9 with many contested shots and 6-of-7 from the free throw line for 21 points in the second half.

“Coach Moos said to go down,” Davis said. “I feel like we all did something to help us win.”

Davis fouled out with 1:56 left and the Razorbacks were down 64-63. The council took over from there. He took a step back and five free throws to send the Jayhawks home.

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