March Madness 2023: How Arkansas’ persistence, poise led to the demise of defending champion Kansas

March Madness 2023: How Arkansas’ persistence, poise led to the demise of defending champion Kansas

As the 2023 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament came to a close, the Arkansas Razorbacks emerged victorious in a historic upset of defending champion Kansas. The Razorbacks’ march to the title was a remarkable display of persistence and poise, culminating in a thrilling victory over the Jayhawks that exemplified the spirit of March Madness.

The Razorbacks began the tournament with a hard-fought win over Ohio State in the first round. Arkansas then followed up with a convincing victory over Duke in the second round. It was in the Sweet Sixteen when the Razorbacks began to show their true colors. After falling behind by double digits, Arkansas rallied to defeat Michigan State in overtime, setting up a matchup with defending champion Kansas in the Elite Eight.

In the Elite Eight, Arkansas was the clear underdog. Kansas was the reigning champion and had won its previous three tournament games by an average of 17 points. However, Arkansas was not intimidated by the tall task ahead of them. Led by senior guard Mason Collins, the Razorbacks outplayed the Jayhawks from the opening tip, taking a commanding lead into halftime.

Kansas attempted to mount a comeback in the second half, but Arkansas’ defense was too much for the Jayhawks to overcome. The Razorbacks maintained their lead for the remainder of the game, eventually emerging with a five-point victory.

With the win, Arkansas became the first team in NCAA history to defeat the defending champion in the Elite Eight. The Razorbacks would go on to defeat Kentucky in the Final Four and UNC in the championship game, capping off an improbable run to the title.

The Arkansas Razorbacks’ victory over Kansas in the Elite Eight was a testament to the team’s resilience and poise. Despite being the underdog, they never wavered in their belief that they could pull off the upset. These qualities, combined with their exceptional talent, ultimately led to their remarkable championship run.