The Eagles now are brimming with confidence as they prepare to face UC Davis in the NCAA Tournament First Four at University of Dayton Arena on Wednesday night (6:40 p.m., tru TV / 99.9 FM The Fan).
Chima Moneke had 18 points and 12 rebounds as UC Davis won in its first NCAA Tournament appearance, beating North Carolina Central.
Although a No. 16 seed has never beaten a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, Kansas coach Bill Self can see how it will be a challenge to stay out of tournament lore for such a blemish.
KU has been a No. 1 seed in the tournament seven times in the last 11 years, but this is the first time the Jayhawks have been matched with a team that had to play its way into the tournament.
The men's NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
All the Jayhawks did after that was go 16-2 in the Big 12 to win the conference yet again.
"I think (my experience with Bradley) helped me in the perspective of just getting them ready for what's coming".
"It's going to happen eventually, that's how I look at it", Moneke said of the daunting task ahead. "We have a great following from Jayhawk nation and everybody wanted the Jayhawks to be here in Tulsa, so everyone is very excited about it".
"My assignment is to make sure Moneke doesn't get eight rebounds and just try to contain him a little bit", Jackson said. They also fared well in close games, winning 9 games by 5 points or less.
No matter who they are playing or what the outcome is, Les said the Aggies, which include redshirt freshman Joe Mooney from Notre Dame, are ready to compete.
"We just gotta take it one game at a time", Devonte' Graham said.
"A year ago at this time, I was on spring break, watching them in the tournament", Vang said of his teammates. And the process is just our possession-by-possession approach and being the best we can be. "I think it's sometimes families you go through stuff and you just got to put blinders on and go at the job at hand and I think they've kind of found their basketball court as their safe haven". "I tell them all the time there isn't anything I didn't experience from being a guy that came off the bench the last guy on the bench to being a starter to being the leading scorer to being the guy who scored the least". In Landen (Lucas, senior forward) we've got a really good glue guy, a guy who does a lot of things that really don't show in the stat book.
They can't afford to overlook their opponent. But I'll also add that I've got some really smart kids. The coach offered him a scholarship to play for his Division I program, which is in the NCAA's top tier. "We were nervous and took a while to adjust".
"But I feel we've got a good grasp on it and we've got a lot of things figured out", Jackson added. "And I have a lot of coaching friends around the country".
"We started the engine on the auto, and now the vehicle is moving, " said Nate Frye, who led New Orleans with 18 points. I know what pressure is.
"It's been exciting", UC Davis' Brynton Lemar said.
"Pressure is walking outside of your home every single day having to make a life and death decision to go back in and pressure is your mother struggling to keep the lights on and having a hot meal on the table".