Arkansas upsets defending champion Kansas to advance to Sweet 16

There will be no repeat champion in March Madness.

The top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks are headed home after being upset by No. 8 Arkansas, 72-71, in the second round.

Kansas led by as many as 12 points, but Arkansas responded with an 18-5 run to take a one-point lead, its first since it was 2-0.

Both teams exchanged buckets with neither team able to increase its lead by more than four points for several minutes.

The game was tied at 65 with 1:07 to go with the ball in the Razorbacks’ possession, and a tip-in gave them a two-point lead. The Jayhawks drew a foul in the double-bonus, though, and Jalen Wilson made both free throws with 39 seconds left to tie it up again.

Arkansas’ Ricky Council IV drew a foul with 23.7 to go, but he only made one of two foul shots. However, Arkansas got the offensive board on the missed second shot, and Council again went to the line after a shooting foul. With 20.4 seconds left, he drilled both free throws to make it a three-point game.

Kamani Johnson of the Arkansas Razorbacks reacts against the Kansas Jayhawks during the second half in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena March 18, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. 


Kansas called its final timeout with 16.1 second left, and it opted to attempt a layup, and a foul was called. Wilson made two free throws to cut their deficit to one, but Kansas had to foul Council and make him shoot a pair of free throws with 7.1 seconds left. 

Council hit both shots, and a blocking foul put Kansas back on the line. Wilson made the first, and he tried to miss the second but banked it in. Arkansas was able to keep possession for the final three seconds to win and advance.

“We’re celebrating back there because we have such incredible respect for Kansas, defending champions, MVP of their league in No. 10, Jalen Wilson,” head coach Eric Musselman told reporters after the game. 

“I’ve been coaching a long time. That’s as great of a win as I’ve ever been a part of. Again, because of the history of Kansas, because of some of their veteran players that were part of a championship team last year. A lot of people didn’t think we were going to win our first-round game.”

Davonte Davis of Arkansas finished with 25 points, 21 of them in the second half.

Arkansas will face the winner of the game between No. 4 UConn and No. 5 St. Mary’s.

Arkansas' Jordan Walsh reacts to his 3-pointer during the second half of a second-round game in the NCAA Tournament Saturday, March 18, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. 

Half the tournament’s No. 1 seeds are now eliminated after No. 1 Purdue was on the losing end of the biggest upset in tournament history to No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson Friday.

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