LAWRENCE, Kansas – Despite all the drama this week, the Vols and Jayhawks will play basketball on Saturday.
On Tuesday, at the end of the “Sunflower Showdown” between Kansas and Kansas State, a massive brawl broke out that included cleared benches and team personnel.
With the clock ticking down, Kansas was set to leave Allen Fieldhouse an 81-60 victor, until Silvio De Sousa unleashed a powerful block on K-State’s DaJuan Gordon. Silvio followed it up by standing over Gordon, who had fallen on the court as a result of the block.
The Wildcats did not like that.
Benches cleared, punches were thrown and at one point, De Sousa was seen picking up a stool, about to swing it at another player. Thankfully, someone intervened. After police and referee’s separated the two teams, they made their way back to the locker rooms knowing repercussions were headed their way.
The next day, it was announced that De Sousa was given a 12-game suspension and teammate David McCormack is required to sit for two games.
The first game suspended for each player – hosting Tennessee Saturday.
Preparing to face a team amid the chaos and thinned out squad, Rick Barnes says his guys are still in for a challenge.
“It’s going to be a great crow,” said Barnes. “With these young guys, it’s the reason we’ve always tried to play a difficult schedule. We want to be in these games and it’ll be one of the biggest ones for these freshman that they’ve been in.”
As for the two men missing, he says it doesn’t matter the circumstance, it’s next man up.
“Whether it’s a suspension or an injury, I think that Bill (Self)’s going to look at it like any coach. We have other guys on this team who have to be ready to do more that’s how coaches think it’s the next guy up.”
Self agreed when it comes to the on-court play, but reiterated his players involvement in what happened was not acceptable.
“We take responsibility for the role in which we played in what transpired on Tuesday,” said Self. “We’re not going to hide from it or make excuses. Regardless of what all transpired, this is something that had nothing to do with competition, this is something that had to do with pride, embarrassment and ego and certainly there’s no place in the game.”
Tennessee and No. 3 Kansas tip off at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN.