The No. 1-seeded Kansas Jayhawks had their hands entirely full with 8-seeded Seton Hall on Saturday.
In a Round of 32 matchup that came down to the final minute, Kansas survived to escape with a narrow 83-79 win, and thus, advance to the Sweet 16. But as CBS Sports’ Chip Patterson detailed, if it weren’t for Udoka Azubuike returning to the rotation, Kansas doesn’t beat Seton Hall.
“Azubuike managed 22 minutes against Seton Hall, and any less might have cost Kansas a chance at making the Final Four,” Patterson said.
“Azubuike bodied up on Seton Hall big man Angel Delgado and provided huge minutes that powered Kansas to a four-point win to advance to the Sweet 16 in the Midwest Region. Malik Newman had one of his best games of the season with 28 points and the Jayhawks seemed to win every possession in the key clutch moments despite a 24 point, 23 rebound performance from Delgado.”
Along with the evident impact Azubuike’s sheer massive presence had in the paint, he was something similar to a Swiss army knife on the stat sheet. In his 22 minutes, Azubuike amassed 10 points on 4 of 5 field goals, and added 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 assists and 2 steals.
In what ultimately became a four-point game, it’s safe to say those contributors were the difference in a trip to the Sweet 16 and an early NCAA Tournament exit.
That said, in Kansas’ three appearances without Azabuike throughout the Big 12 Tournament, the Jayhawks notched a 3-0 record and a conference championship prior to beating Pennsylvania in the 1st Round of the NCAA Tournament with Azabuike playing just three minutes. So sure, Kansas is certainly capable of winning without Azabuike, but amid the win-or-go-home portion of the schedule, his presence can prove to be the difference in wins and losses.
That became the case on Saturday against Seton Hall.
The post CBS Sports: ‘Kansas doesn’t beat Seton Hall without Udoka Azubuike’ appeared first on Diehards.
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