Kerem Kanter, the brother of New York Knicks center Enes Kanter, missed what could have been a game-tying three and it was ugly.
Not since 2004 have two No. 1 seeds failed to make it out of the Sweet 16. That year both Kentucky and Standford lost in the Round of 32, and this year Virginia and Xavier add themselves to that list.
Virginia, albeit, is a unique circumstance in that it lost to a 16-seed which was unprecedented until Tony Bennett had a say in the matter.
Xavier lost a little more traditionally, by blowing a late lead to No. 9 Florida State on Sunday night. With the loss, the Musketeers are out and the sting of how they exit the tournament won’t rub off for a while.
It’s one thing to lose on a missed shot at the buzzer. It’s another thing entirely to lose on a shot that doesn’t even hit the basket. With the final seconds of the 73-70 game winding down, Kerem Kanter decided to heave up an open three and airballed it.
It’s one of the worst shots you’ll see all tournament.
There’s missing, and then there’s that.
If the name and the face seem familiar, they should. Karem Kanter is the younger brother of NBAer Enes Kanter, who is similarly bad at taking shots from long range.
It’s hard not to feel bad for Kanter, who appeared to panic under pressure. He’d been a valuable addition to Xavier’s team this year but froze up in the most important moment of the season.
After the miss, Kanter had the thousand yard stare that so many athletes who blow it in a big moment have.
To his credit, it wasn’t Kanter alone who blew the lead to Florida State. That was a team effort and one that will remain sour in the mouths of fans for a while. Xavier’s basketball program seems to be on stable footing, but this early exit as the top seed in the tournament won’t feel good anytime soon.