Latest Kevin McCullar Jr. Injury News Destroys KU's NCAA Tournament Hopes

Kevin McCullar Jr will miss the NCAA Tournament due to injury
Kevin McCullar Jr will miss the NCAA Tournament due to injury / Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas Jayhawks men's basketball team received devastating news on Tuesday, as head coach Bill Self announced that Kevin McCullar Jr. would miss the entire NCAA Tournament due to his knee injury.

McCullar battled an injury towards the end of the season, missing multiple games, though there was optimism he would return alongside Hunter Dickinson for March Madness.

Unfortunately, that optimism is no longer. The Jayhawks will have to navigate the postseason withour their leading scorer (18.3 PPG).

Kansas Jayhawks News: Kevin McCullar Jr. to Miss NCAA Tournament

According to Self, McCullar said he was still feeling pain in his knee and wouldn't be able to contribute. "We're shutting him down for the tournament," said Self, noting that McCullar hasn't been able to practice essentially for six weeks.

Self's choice of words in that clip are interesting. He added that McCullar has not done more damage to his knee but that it's a pain issue, clarifying that if the Jayhawks made the second weekend, they would have already won two games without McCullar. There is no mention of team doctors and the onus is placed on the player.

To my ears, it sounds like Self is frustrated that McCullar is choosing not to play, whether fair or not. Self wants to move forward with the guys that they have. McCullar will go to the NBA Draft next season, so he has played his final game with the Jayhawks.

It's a truly monstrous blow to Kansas' title hopes. McCullar is the team's best wing defender while leading in scoring and provides help on the glass too. While Dickinson's likely return is a boost, it's hard to imagine the Jayhawks making it through an NCAA Tournament gauntlet without McCullar.

Kansas currently has +5000 odds to win the national championship, confirming their status as a longshot. This news doesn't help, and I wouldn't be surprised to see that number grow even bigger before the first round begins.

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