That wasn't pretty. UNLV doesn't allow beauty into their games, instead preferring the slow, grind-it-out, low-scoring affairs. However, all that matters is that we are in the Round of 16, the Sweet Sixteen it is often referred to, not a small feat. No matter how much you win by, all that matters is that you can escape with a W, advancing to the next round. A new season begins with each new round, meaning our game in Detroit, either against 12 seed Villanova or 13 seed Siena, will be the first game of a brand new season. Or, at the very least, the third game of a six (at most) game season, the only six games that truly matter. The first 30 (or so) games are just building up to the final six, and season-long success can be quickly erased by a quick departure from the NCAA Tournament. As Kansas fans, we know this well.
So, despite the fact that this game was incredibly close for the first 30 minutes and we never fully escaped from UNLV's suffocating defense, we still won. Congratulations to our basketball team, reaching the Sweet 16 really is a remarkable feat. There are 340 Division 1 men's basketball teams, and only 16 will be playing (excluding the NIT and CBI) after tomorrow's eight games. That is quite an elite group, and while the pressure-inducing fan base won't allow it, is an incredible accomplishment every single time it happens. This isn't to say I won't be upset with a loss before the Final Four, with all of the talent we have there is no reason we shouldn't be playing basketball in San Antonio in a couple of weeks. But that doesn't mean we can't celebrate what we have done so far, both in the regular season and the first two games of this balls-to-the-wall, six-game season for all the marbles.
Much more on the game tomorrow, and starting Monday we will begin to take a look at either the Villanova Wildcats or the Siena Saints, whoever wins tomorrow morning in Tampa.