ST. LOUIS -- Joel Embiid was sitting on the bench, unable to play due to his nagging back injury. Andrew Wiggins was invisible for much of the game, and fellow freshman Wayne Selden Jr. was also unable to make a mark.
Kansas is done after falling 60-57 to Stanford on Sunday. So, too, it appears, is the brief collegiate career of Wiggins.
Wiggins showed flashes during his time in Lawrence. There was the scintillating 41-point performance against West Virginia in the regular-season finale, and his 29-point showing in a home win against Iowa State on Jan. 29.
But there were also the times when Wiggins did not impose his will on the game, when he disappeared all too often, and Sunday’s game was one of those occasions. With the Jayhawks' season on the line, and the potential to get Embiid back for the Sweet 16, Wiggins struggled. He finished with just four points on a grand total of six shot attempts.
“I blame myself for the loss,” Wiggins said after the game.
That’s a stand-up move, but not entirely accurate. Could Wiggins have done more? Absolutely, but he needed help, also.
Wiggins is likely off to the NBA, and will be taken somewhere in the top three picks of the draft, most likely first or second. He’s an exceptional talent, but wasn’t quite prepared for the pressure of having to lead this Kansas group.
If Wiggins had a top-notch point guard and a leader -- let’s say a player like Tyshawn Taylor -- he would have been fine. However, Naadir Tharpe was unable to consistently do the job, Frank Mason is best served as a backup at KU, and Bill Self had to go with Conner Frankamp with the season on the line.
Kansas lacked more than just a point guard and a star with a consistent killer instinct, though.