March Madness: Kansas leading scorer Kevin McCullar Jr. out for NCAA tournament

If you were picking Kansas to make some noise in March Madness, it might be time to reconsider.

Kevin McCullar Jr., the Jayhawks' leading scorer, has been ruled out for the entire NCAA tournament due to a knee injury, head coach Bill Self announced Tuesday. Kansas, a No. 4 seed in the Midwest, is scheduled to face No. 13 seed Samford in Salt Lake City on Thursday.

“Kevin is not going to play," Self said. "Kevin said his knee pain has not subsided any and it’s too bad for him to be able to contribute ... We're shutting him down for the tournament.

"He hasn't practiced in six weeks, basically. He hasn't done more damage to his knee, but he tried to do it and said he just couldn't go."

McCullar confirmed the news on social media, confirming it meant the end of his college career and pledging to continue supporting the team.

The good news for the Jayhawks is second-team All-American Hunter Dickinson, their No. 2 scorer and leading rebounder, has progressed to full-contact practice and "looks great," according to Self.

Still, McCullar being out for the tournament is a blow for Kansas and a reversal of what Self said last Friday, when he claimed McCullar "probably could've" played in the Big 12 tournament if the season was on the line. McCullar has been out since exiting a game against Houston early with a bone bruise in his knee on March 9. He missed much of February with an issue in the same knee.

The version of Kansas without McCullar or Dickinson wasn't encouraging as the team was bounced from the Big 12 tournament in the second round against No. 11 seed Cincinnati. In games with Dickinson and without McCullar, Kansas went 3-2 with wins over Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas and losses to Kansas State and BYU.

McCullar is in his final season of college eligibility and his second season with Kansas after transferring from Texas Tech.