DES MOINES, Iowa — The Kansas Jayhawks drew a tough west region assignment in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, with many citing matchups against UConn, Gonzaga, or UCLA as potential upsets. However, Bill Self's team wasn't even able to get that far, falling 72-71 in the Round of 32 on Saturday to an eight seeded Arkansas squad.
Meanwhile the Baylor Bears suffered a loss to an excellent offensive team in Creighton, who was able to expose Scott Drew's team and their defensive issues and advance to a matchup against Princeton with a great chance to play in the Elite 8.
It marked another rough weekend for the Big 12, a conference that was dubbed the best in the country but who only managed to put two teams - Texas and Kansas State - into the Sweet 16.
Locked on Big 12 podcast host Josh Neighbors joined Peter Bukowski on Locked on Sports Today to discuss early exits for both Kansas and Baylor this year.
"I had my questions about KU and this was kind of the prototype team to beat them," Neighbors said of Arkansas. "They are a big, tough team that took them to the rack, got to the line a whole lot and took care of business in the paint."
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Kansas couldn't get anything going offensively thanks to Herculean defensive efforts from Jordan Walsh - who shut down All-American Jalen Wilson - as well as Anthony Black who had a role in limiting star freshman Gradey Dick to just seven points on 1-3 shooting from deep.
While Kansas and Baylor were the big stories, the Big 12 does still have two national championship contenders remaining in Texas, who will take on Xavier in the Sweet 16 followed by either Houston or Miami if they advance, as well as Kansas State, who pulled off an epic victory over Kentucky to advance to the Sweet 16, where they will take on Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans.
The Big 12's two remaining teams puts them third among conferences, behind both the SEC and Big East which have three each.