On Thursday, March 12, history was made with the cancellation of the 2020 NCAA tournament. Fans of college basketball everywhere were left wondering, “what if...?” What if this was the year coach Bill Self got his second national title?
It’s not a crazy theory to believe. In fact, the stars were aligning perfectly for the Jayhawks. After holding the No. 1 spot for three weeks in a row prior to tournament play and claiming their 62nd Big 12 Conference title, it seemed like the perfect recipe for success.
If the rug hadn’t been pulled out from under us, would this “what if” be a reality?
Kansas was the favorite to win the NCAA championship. With the dynamic duo of sophomore guard Devon Dotson and senior center Udoka Azubuike, there was no stopping the red hot pair. Especially when you add in the ability of junior guard Marcus Garrett and return of junior forward Silvio De Sousa.
Dotson and Azubuike have been the backbone of this season’s team, and they deserve to see their hard work and consistency come to fruition. Azubuike led Kansas with double-doubles and rebounds. The Nigerian native was a lethal defensive and offensive asset that will be missed next season. A completely healthy Azubuike is a force that Kansas had yet to see in tournament play, which could have been a major game-changer.
The NCAA announced Thursday that it is suspending all men's and women's championships for spring and winter sports, including the much-anticipated Division I basketball tournament.
Dotson also provided consistency for Kansas, averaging 18.1 points per game. The 6-foot-2 guard would have been explosive against tournament competition. He was a true leader for the Jayhawks and now with the tournament getting canceled there lies the question of whether or not this season was his last at Kansas.
Garrett is a semifinalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, averaging 32.2 minutes per game, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.8 steals, Garrett was a relentless defensive talent that would have helped propel the Jayhawks to the championship game.
De Sousa is also a factor that shouldn’t be forgotten. His eligibility in the tournament would have been huge for Kansas. He provides another big presence on the court alongside Azubuike and sophomore David McCormack.
This Kansas team was one of the best in a long time and it’s a shame we couldn’t see the conclusion. Sadness strikes at the thought that seniors Udoka Azubuike and Isaiah Moss didn’t get the chance to play in the tournament, but it is important to remember this issue is a lot bigger than basketball. And in the end, at least the Jayhawks got to end the season sitting pretty at the No. 1 spot in the country.