Closing Another Chapter

Robinson was surrounded all game (US PRESSWIRE)

NEW ORLEANS – Conner Teahan looked around the Kansas locker Monday night after the Jayhawks lost the national championship game and suddenly the crystal ball came into sharp focus. The senior guard from Leawood, Kan., knew it was the end of something special.

"I just feel terrible for T-Rob [Thomas Robinson] and Tyshawn [Taylor] and Jordan [Juenemann] also with it being his last year," said Teahan, who missed the only shot he took in the 67-59 loss to Kentucky. "Hopefully these [other] guys will be able to make it a special year next year."

The natural reaction for the losing team in any round of the NCAA Tournament is to push aside thoughts about the next year. Robinson, the talented junior forward who was a candidate for national player of the year honors, said he wasn't thinking about entering the NBA draft.

But Teahan, like most Kansas fans and coach Bill Self, seemed rather certain that Robinson had played his last game in a Jayhawks uniform.

"I'll let him answer that," Self said outside the Kansas locker room. "I'd be shocked [if he came back]."

Junior guard Elijah Johnson and junior center Jeff Whitey both had breakout seasons but are expected to return to Kansas for their senior season.

If it was Robinson's last college game, he went out with another double-double. He had 18 points and 17 rebounds – 12 of those on the defensive glass. It was his 27th double-double of the season and 32nd of his Kansas career.

Despite that stat line, Robinson was part of a common problem for the Jayhawks – especially in the first half when Kansas shot 33.3 percent from the field. The Jayhawks had 18 possessions at the basket where they failed to score on a layup or dunk.

Robinson, 6 of 17 from the floor, missed some easy shots early. That seemed to be the result of a some very physical play inside and perhaps some jitters. The matchups between Robinson and Jeff Withey against Anthony Davis and Terrence Jones lived up to expectations – with maybe more pushing and shoving than expected.

And Kentucky's tremendous length was a problem for Kansas the entire game. Davis, the consensus national player of the year, was named Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four despite scoring only six points Monday night. He also had 16 rebounds, six blocks, five assists and altered countless other shots.

"A lot of times I tried to go to my left shoulder on Jones, but I could see Anthony skying over top of him," Robinson said. "So it was kind of tough for me to even pass it to Jeff or try to get a shot up. He definitely impacted the game for a stretch on the defensive end."

Robinson had said on Sunday that Davis wasn't Superman. He was asked his assessment of Davis after playing him twice this season.

"I still don't think he's Superman," Robinson said. Just a great player. He's not Superman. I mean, I didn't mean anything disrespectful by it. As a competitor, I'm not going to sit here and give all my praise to another player I've got to go against.

"Like I say, Anthony is a great player. You see he impacted the game without even scoring today. That's just what he does."

Taylor, who led Kansas with 19 points, also had five turnovers and three assists in 36 minutes.

"I'm proud of my team for how we competed and how we've been competing all year," said the senior point guard. "As a senior this is a bad feeling because I don't get the chance to make it up to these guys. As so, you know, it's a pretty bad feeling, man.

"I love how we fought. In a couple days I might look back and say this is a grear year. But right now it's just a bad feeling. Being so close, working so hard for years for this one game. We finally got here and we come up short."

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