By Ian Echlin
A Kansas kid is along for the historical ride with University of California-Davis making basketball program history. Now he’s ready to hop on for a chance at college basketball history.
It has been well-documented that the No. 1 seed has never lost to the No. 16 seed, something both teams are aware of heading in this match-up between UC Davis, making its first ever NCAA tournament appearance, and the Midwest Region’s No. 1 seed, the Kansas Jayhawks.
For sophomore Siler Schneider from Lansing, Kan., it’s a chance to play against the team he grew up watching.
Both of his parents attended Kansas State, but when Schneider was younger his dad Rick would drive 40 minutes to Lawrence to watch the Jayhawks with his son.
“That’s kind of what developed my love for basketball, just going to Allen Fieldhouse and seeing them play,” Siler said. “It’s kind of surreal that I’m going to be playing against them now.”
The sophomore earned the title “Big West Best Sixth Player” for his 361 points off the bench this season. Schneider had a February stretch of five games scoring in double figures, including a career high 23-point outing against CSUN (Feb. 8).
Schneider knows the Kansas faithful will be out in force and looks forward to the environment.
When asked about the historical impact of an upset, Jayhawks senior Landen Lucas said, “You take the game a little bit more seriously because you don’t want to be that team at all.”
UC Davis coach Jim Les said he’s been briefed about the scientific benefits of a possible upset. But in a more unconventional manner.
“The most pressure I felt going into this game came this morning when I got the text from Hannah (daughter)… which stated ‘My chemistry professor just told the class that if you beat Kansas we all get A’s on the next test… Dad step up,’” Les said.
Les has been part of an impactful upset before against Kansas in the NCAA tournament. He coached one of the Killer B teams, No. 13 seed Bradley in 2006 and one year after Bucknell, that ruined the Jayhawks’ championship aspirations.
With Schneider, Les added a Kansas dose to his formula as UC Davis figures out another way to poison the Jayhawks’ championship hopes.