MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Final Four is all fired up in Phoenix, with nary a Big 12 team in it.
That stings for Kansas, which had a 1 seed, a national player of the year, lottery pick Josh Jackson, and the Elite 8 staged in its backyard.
It’s no less painful for West Virginia, which lost a last-minute lead to Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 and endured a severe case of what-could-have-been as the Zags crushed Xavier by 24 in the followup.
“After watching Gonzaga play Xavier, I think everybody on our team feels like we should be playing in the Final Four,” said Mountaineers assistant Erik Martin. “That’s different than the year before when we lost to Stephen F. Austin and we blew an opportunity just to make a run in the tournament.”
Martin found it too frustrating to watch Gonzaga hang 83 points in the Elite Eight after surviving West Virginia 61-58 two nights earlier.
“I think I stopped watching maybe 5 minutes into the second half,” he said. “And it wasn’t because Xavier was struggling, it was because Gonzaga was getting open shots they didn’t come close to getting the night they played us.”
What went wrong for the Big 12? The Gold & Blue Lunch Report checks the postseason misery index for all the league teams who fell short in the NCAA tournament.