Saturday, March 30, 2013
Kansas basketball fans knew the Jayhawks' Sweet 16 game in Dallas Cowoboys Stadium would be tough, but they were confident the team would be moving on the Elite Eight instead of ending their season with an overtime loss to Michigan.
A double-digit lead got away from the Jayhawks in the final minutes of the game and Michigan won 87-85 in overtime.
The day began with a lot of excitement, optimism and high expectations.
"I expect the 'Hawks to win," KU fan Leroy Armstrong said during a pep rally Friday afternoon. "We're going back to the championship."
Fans were expecting Michigan to put up a fight.
"We don't ever doubt, though," Deborah Ryan, another KU fan at the pep rally, said. "We don't get nervous until the second half because they always come back."
There never was any doubt among KU fans Friday night. However, there was a lot of disapointment as they left the stadium.
That disappointment took hold quickly because the Jayhawks were up 10 points with fewer than three minutes left in the game and things looked promising.
"You feel really good," John Bush said, describing the mood of KU fans as the game entered its final few minutes. "You know that they could come back, though."
That big swing in momentum as the game drew to a close caught Michigan fans by surprise, too.
"I thought we were done with a couple of minutes left," a Wolverines fan said as he left the game. "Then Trey Burke hit that huge three way past NBA three-point range and, you know, we just continued the momentum into overtime and came out with the win."
For KU fans, some of that pre-game optimism still applied after the loss.
"I'll be here for the Final Four next year, I hope the Jayhawks are back," said Darrin Sammons, a KU fan who lives in the Dallas area.