Kevin McCullar ruled out for NCAA Tournament: Where does Kansas basketball go from here?

Bill Self ruled out the leading scorer in the Big 12 for the remainder of the season.
Kansas v West Virginia
Kansas v West Virginia / G Fiume/GettyImages

In a shocking turn of events, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self revealed that Kevin McCullar would miss the remainder of the season once the Jayhawks touched down in Salt Lake City today for the Round of 64 of the NCAA Tournament.

McCullar, the leading scorer in the Big 12, averaged 18.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 4.1 assists in his second year in Lawrence. He missed five games due to a bone bruise in his knee that he has dealt with for two months. While there were reports that he would return for March Madness after missing the Big 12 Tournament, McCullar has effectively played his final collegiate game.

Coach Self touched on his injury status earlier this week, saying he was still resting but that he expected him back in practice by Monday. However, the situation seems much more serious than initially thought, especially because he ruled him out for the entire tournament rather than one game.

A quote from Self last month that will certainly resurface throughout the media is something worth mentioning:

"If you start playing him after the Big 12 Tournament, he wouldn't be worth a crap in the NCAA Tournament."

What does Kansas basketball do now that Kevin McCullar is out for the NCAA Tournament?

The already slim hopes of Kansas making a deep run in March Madness were reduced even more now that McCullar will not be active. Struggling guard Nick Timberlake, who has been highly ineffective this year, should get the nod in the starting lineup this Thursday like he did when his counterpart missed games during the regular season.

Depth has been an issue all season for KU after losing Arterio Morris before the season started and underwhelming performances from Timberlake and former McDonald's All-American Elmarko Jackson. The other players in the starting five — Dajuan Harris, KJ Adams, Johnny Furphy, and Dickinson — will take on an even bigger role offensively with McCullar out.

Hunter Dickinson is still expected to play in the tournament after dislocating his shoulder at Houston earlier this month, so the Jayhawks are not waving the white flag yet. However, the outlook of the Kansas basketball season has become extremely grim, with a potential first-round upset on the horizon.