If Kansas gets through No. 16 UC Davis and MSU gets through No. 9 Miami on Friday, Jackson will have a chance to play the team that might have been.
The 16th-seeded Aggies rallied in the second half and held off N.C. Central down the stretch to earn a trip to Tulsa to play No. 1 seed Kansas on Friday.
Although a No. 16 seed has never beaten a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, Kansas coach Bill Self can see how it will be a challenge to stay out of tournament lore for such a blemish.
It's easy to understand why Jackson is so ready to get his first - and nearly assuredly last - NCAA Tournament underway.
Although Adenrele lost two college seasons to a pair of knee injuries, he was granted a sixth year of eligibility and returned this year to help the Aggies reach the NCAA Tournament. UC Davis also connected on two early three-pointers off hard dribble penetration and pick rolls. They grab just 29 percent of their misses, which probably has something to do with being in the 300s in average height.
"It's something that I've always dreamed about and now it's happening", he said. "I need to try to play to my athletic ability, run in transition, try to find open guys, be a facilitator". We got some good practice.
The Braves (21-10) led by 14 with 15:38 to go, but let the Jayhawks back in the game with three consecutive turnovers with around the five minutes left.
"They (Aggies) will be fired up to play", Jackson said.
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"We've talked a lot about it", Self said. Les took his alma mater, Bradley, to the Sweet 16 in 2006. I don't know that they (Jayhawks) have used it as motivation because I don't think it should be motivation, but I also don't think it should be an excuse and a distraction. And the process is just our possession-by-possession approach and being the best we can be.
"He told me that he liked what he saw, and he was surprised that a lot of people weren't helping me out to come to America", Moneke said.
"What I learned from it is we all make mistakes", Jackson said Thursday. "We got to practice today and that was the first time I found out we weren't playing, and I was like, 'Be ready tomorrow.' I'm just excited to play".
Just as the Aggies looked to seize the moment, the Eagles forced three consecutive turnovers out of a half court 1-3-1 trap, getting them right back into the contest. They also face the largest handicap in the first round, way larger I'd accept in this situation. "We were nervous and took a while to adjust". (Seniors) Frank (Mason III), Landen (Lucas), Tyler (Self), I just want to make this one for them to remember for sure. "And I have a lot of coaching friends around the country".
Les followed his son, Tyler, to UC Davis as Tyler was recruited out of Peoria Notre Dame High School.
"We started the engine on the auto, and now the vehicle is moving, " said Nate Frye, who led New Orleans with 18 points.
"But I feel we've got a good grasp on it and we've got a lot of things figured out", Jackson added. I'd love to be able to get (Former Oklahoma State) Coach (Eddie) Sutton to the game, if that's possible, but I don't know if that's going to be possible.