April 14, 2024

Arkansas stuns Kansas, Fil-Am coach Kurtis Townsend exits NCAA tournament

Arkansas stuns Kansas, Fil-Am coach Kurtis Townsend exits NCAA tournament
Philstar / AFP

Down goes Kansas!

Unfortunately following the Purdue Boilermakers’ lead, the Kansas Jayhawks became the second number 1 seed in as many days to be eliminated sooner than expected from the 2023 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. Getting bounced by the 8th seeded Arkansas Razorbacks, 72-71, was nothing short of a shocker.

Kansas’ defeat guaranteed that two number 1 seeds will not make it to the Sweet 16. It also means no one of Filipino descent is left to compete in the men’s division of the tournament. Jayhawks assistant coach Kurtis Townsend is a Fil-Am, but none of his relatives from the Philippines will get to cheer him on after the stunning upset courtesy of the Razorbacks.

But hey, this is what happens in March Madness. At any given day, at any given moment, unexpected things can happen. On Sunday, it was Arkansas guards Davonte Davis and Ricky Council IV who seized the moment. Davis scored 25 points, while Council finished 21 as the underdogs pulled off the win.

Check out the emotions pouring out after the game.

Townsend has always been proud of his Filipino heritage, with his maternal grandmother born and raised in Batangas. Last year, he made the country proud by helping Kansas win the NCAA crown alongside another Fil-Am in point guard Remy Martin. Maybe next year, the 65-year-old basketball tactician and the rest of the Jayhawks will get to reclaim the title. 

The early results of March Madness have not been too kind to Fil-Ams. As such, the last Fil-Am standing in the NCAA tourney is a woman: Vanessa De Jesus, who is playing for the Duke Blue Devils in the women’s division. But if it is any consolation, De Jesus and the Blue Devils look like they can extend their run all the way to the championship game.