On the first day of this year’s NCAA Tournament, a recurring theme was the time it took for the 1 seeds to put away their 16-seeded foes.
For Gonzaga, who only led South Dakota State by four points at halftime after a dismal shooting performance, it was well into the second half when the Bulldogs took control.
For Villanova, whose lead over Mount St. Mary’s after 20 minutes was only one point, it was the same story: The Wildcats didn’t pull away until later in the game.
On Friday, Kansas wasted no time putting the game out of reach. With a 100-62 win over UC Davis, the Aggies were put away early, despite their best efforts to hang tight with the Jayhawks early on.
After all, the game was quite close for the first 12 minutes or so (the game was actually tied at 21 a little under the eight-minute mark). Predictably, Kansas eventually erupted for an explosion of offense. A 17-1 run ensued that essentially shut the door on the Aggies before the end of the first half.
From then on, it was never that competitive.
UC Davis simply had no answer for the trio of Devonte Graham, Frank Mason III, and Josh Jackson, each of whom scored 11 points in the first 20 minutes. A large portion of the Aggies’ problems also stemmed from their inability to keep up with the Jayhawks on the glass.
Perhaps the only bright spot for the Aggies was Chima Moneke. The forward struggled a bit in terms of efficiency, but he was still able to finish with 20 points.
Honestly, things went about as expected tonight. Kansas, one of a handful of teams with a realistic shot at winning the national title, looked exactly like a contender. UC Davis fought valiantly for as long as it could, but simply could not keep up with the Jayhawks’ offensive firepower.
For UC Davis, the dream season has come to an end, and its first trip to the tournament didn’t turn out the way it had hoped. Regardless, the Aggies have now established that this is a place where they, as a program, now belong.