TULSA, OK - MARCH 20: Marcus Morris #22 of the Kansas Jayhawks reacts to a play against the Illinois Fighting Illini during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at BOK Center on March 20, 2011 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Sunday night wasn't perfect. Kansas had multiple times where they looked poised to put the game away only to see Illinois crawl back into things, but it was a win as the Jayhawks beat the Illini 73-59 and that's the most important thing for Kansas as they get over that first weekend hump and head to the sweet sixteen in San Antonio.
The problem with losing a second round game to a team like Northern Iowa is that you hear about it every day and every moment until you get over that hurdle in the tournament. Illinois was that hurdle this year and Kansas is now moving past that. In reality it's a little ridiculous to label a Kansas program that has had so much success based on one game, but that's the reality and beating Illinois puts Kansas in the Sweet 16 where a date with Cinderella Richmond awaits.
For Kansas it was a game that wasn't always as crisp offensively but it was a game where Kansas stepped up on the defensive end and a game where the Kansas bigs controlled the paint. Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris accounted for 41 points and 24 rebounds and came up big on multiple occasions helping the Jayhawks extend the lead. Another key factor in this one was the depth of the Jayhawks. Kansas goes nine deep while Illinois goes seven when fully healthy. As the game wore on, the Illini players started to look sluggish and the Jayhawk offense was able to break down and exploit the Illini defense down the stretch.
Next weeks game time has yet to be announced, but Kansas does know that they will be facing Richmond on Friday in San Antonio. Making matters more interesting, Purdue fell on Sunday to VCU and Notre Dame still has a hurdle to get over in Florida State. There is a real chance that Illinois could be the highest seeded team the Jayhawks will face on their road to the Final Four. But to stay on point, it's one game at a time and most importantly there is at least one more weekend of college basketball for Jayhawk fans.