West Virginia forward Jermaine Haley fearlessly attacked the rim and finished with strength in the final 10 seconds to give the Mountaineers a shocking 65-64 victory over No. 7 Kansas in Morgantown, West Virginia that would hold throughout, providing one of the biggest upsets of Saturday's super slate of games.
The loss will cost the Jayhawks' their No. 1 seed in Jerry Palm's projected NCAA Tournament bracket.
"Kansas' loss at West Virginia, which had been winless in conference play, is going to drop the Jayhawks from the top line of the bracket projections tonight," Palm said. "The team that will replace them is still up in the air, with some potentially impactful games left to be played tonight."
Haley finished with 13 points and a perfect 5-of-5 from the floor for West Virginia in casually leading an ouster of the top team in the Big 12 standings. Freshman forward Derek Culver was the only other Mountaineers player to finish in double figures, as he finished with 11 points and 7 rebounds.
Kansas was abysmal shooting the ball all afternoon, and its biggest stars struggled to find any sort of rhythm -- something followers of the Big 12 likely saw coming. Even considering West Virginia's struggles this season, KU and West Virginia always play each other tight and testy. They split the series in the 2013 season, and went on to do so again in 2014, 2015 and 2016 before KU won in every instance last season. KU-WVU is always a dog fight, but there's a little extra feistiness when it's at West Virginia. Advantage: Mountaineers.
Dedric Lawson had 15 points and 11 rebounds, Lagerald Vick finished with 13 points, and Marcus Garrett added 15. But Kansas made just 24 of its 55 shots from the floor and finished only 5 of 16 from beyond the arc, replete with errant passes, poor judgement and 18 turnovers that paved the way for West Virginia to claim its first victory of the new year -- and a first in Big 12 conference play all season.
So now consider the Big 12's regular season race to be a complete mess. KU should be the favorite still, considering it has won the league 13 times in a row, but Texas Tech now sits atop the league standings. Iowa State, Kansas State and TCU all sit in the two-loss column, too.
Will this finally be the year KU gets caught? It's still too early to tell, but the Jayhawks have lost two of their first six games in conference play under Bill Self only once prior to this season, all the way back in 2015. That Kansas team went on to win 18 of its next 20 games before falling to the eventual national champion Villanova Wildcats. It's not far-fetched to think that, given the talent pool it boasts on the roster, it has a similar run in store.
But as Saturday showed, even the worst team in the league can beat the very best one in any environment.