Jayhawk players recall the tourney run that wasn’t

As Kansas prepares for its Final Four showdown with Villanova Saturday, several Jayhawk players recall the lost 2020 NCAA Tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kansas was the top seed and odds-on favorite to win the tourney that year.

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March 31, 2022 - 2:24 PM

Coach Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks raised the NCAA Midwest Regional championship trophy after defeating Miami 76-50 on Sunday at the United Center in Chicago. Photo by TNS

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Christian Braun’s eyes opened wide when he learned that after Kansas had beaten Miami to return to the Final Four such a raging party had broken out back in Lawrence that authorities had to shut down Massachusetts Street, the popular bar and restaurant district near campus.

It was a much more welcome shutdown than the one Braun experienced two years earlier.

Braun and his teammates were sitting in their hotel room in downtown Kansas City in 2020, waiting to play in the quarterfinal round of the Big 12 Tournament, and news began filtering out that it had been canceled because of a virus few knew anything about. In short order, the NCAA Tournament also was shut down, and what may have been one of the best teams Jayhawks coach Bill Self had ever assembled would never have a chance to prove it.

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