NEW ORLEANS — Kansas couldn't come all the way back this time.
The gritty team that had walked a tightrope all the way to the national championship game finally fell off against mighty Kentucky. An 18-point deficit against a team full of future NBA draft picks was too much for the Jayhawks, who fell 67-59 on Monday night.
Kansas had rallied from big early deficits against Purdue and North Carolina State in the NCAA tournament, giving some folks the feeling that things were meant to be this season.
Such a premonition gained support when the Jayhawks dug themselves out of a 13-point hole against Ohio State in the national semifinals, setting up a showdown with the team that has been anointed the eventual national champions by many pundits most of the season.