Kevin McCullar injury could lead to Kansas Jayhawks first Round of 64 exit since 2006

With Kevin McCullar Jr. having played his last game for Kansas and Hunter Dickinson still questionable to play with his shoulder injury, the slim hopes of another Final Four berth for the Jayhawks have all but fizzled out.
Kansas v Texas Tech
Kansas v Texas Tech / John E. Moore III/GettyImages

Welp. Here we are. Just two days after the Kansas Jayhawks Men’s Basketball program was awarded a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament, Coach Bill Self officially ruled out Kevin McCullar Jr. for the entirety of March Madness due to a bone bruise in his knee.

Not only does this feel like the most helpless Kansas team entering the tournament since the 2018-2019 team, but for the first time since the 2005-2006 season, there is a legitimate chance that the Crimson and Blue could have a first-round exit.

Looking back 18 years, KU was a No. 4 seed facing off with the 13th seeded Bradley Braves. The Jayhawks got punched in the mouth immediately and the Braves led at halftime by a score of 37-27. Bradley ended up hitting 11/21 (52.4%) shots from beyond the arc and went to the free-throw line 32 times throughout the game.

Oddly enough, much like the Jayhawks this season, depth was an issue for that Kansas team as well. Only seven players saw 9+ minutes on the court against Bradley. Additionally, KU saw starting guard Mario Chalmers and backup center C.J. Giles both foul out before the final buzzer, which played a part in their eventual disappointing 73-77 loss against the Braves.

This season, the vibes feel eerily similar to that iteration of Kansas. Without their leading scorer (at 18.3 PPG) in McCullar Jr. and with a banged up Dickinson who will likely be a shell of himself if he does end up playing, KU is down to what could be considered as a shaky 7-man rotation. The Jayhawks are staring down a 29-5 Samford Bulldogs team that is deep, hungry, and wants to sprint up and down the court all night… oh and they shoot 39.3% from three as a team.

This looks like a recipe for disaster for Coach Self and the short-handed Jayhawks. The team will definitely have their hands full as they try to not have a repeat of 2006.