No number 1 seed in the NCAA tournament has ever lost to a 16 seed. Hopefully Kansas will stay true to that tradition. Kansas (29-5, 14-4 Big 12) is the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional. KU will take on No. 16-seeded Western Kentucky (20-15, 10-10) from the Sun Belt Conference on Friday, March 22, at approximately 8:50 P.M. (Central) at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The game will be televised on TNT.
Kansas has had its issues this season. They lost to TCU in a 3 game losing streak that opened the door for Kansas State to get a shared Big 12 title. TCU only had one conference win, and that was the game against Kansas. KU went into Baylor looking to win the Big 12 outright and ended up losing by more than 20. They looked flat and heartless. Then came the Big 12 Tournament and Kansas cake-walked through to the title to get ranked 3 in the country and get a 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
There has been no clear cut great team in the NCAA this season. As soon as a team gets the 1 ranking, they seem to lose the next game, opening the door for the rotating carousel of top teams. Kansas had their week atop the NCAA, only to lay an egg with a 3 game losing streak the following week. KU has shown they can bounce back and that is evident with a share of the Big 12 and winning the Big 12 Tournament. Not to mention, KU swept 4 seed Kansas State three times this season to accomplish those titles.
Kansas has the talent to get the job done. But, they have also shown vulnerability to lose games when their energy lulls. They can recover during games, but tournament time brings out the killer instinct in teams. KU might not be able to recover from a significant deficit during a game. The Jayhawks need to bring their A game every game for 40 minutes if they expect to be in Atlanta for the Final Four.
- Kansas is making its 42nd NCAA Tournament appearance.
- The Jayhawks' 42 NCAA Tournament appearances are fourth nationally behind only Kentucky (51), North Carolina (44) and UCLA (43).
- Kansas sports an all-time NCAA Tournament record of 93-40. The Jayhawks' 93 wins rank fifth behind Kentucky (111), North Carolina (108), Duke (96) and UCLA (95).
- This will be KU’s 24th-consecutive trip to the tournament, the longest active streak in the nation.
- KU is a number one seed for the 11th time since seeding began in 1979.
- This is the fifth time KU has been a No. 1 seed under Bill Self.
- KU, which is ranked No. 3 in the latest Associated Press and USA Today/Coaches polls, has won nine-straight Big 12 regular-season championships dating back to 2005 and six conference postseason championships under head coach Bill Self.
- Kansas has won 10 of its last 11 games.
- A victory against Western Kentucky on Friday would give Kansas a 30-5 record and KU would become the first school in NCAA Division I history to have won 30 or more games for four-straight seasons.
- It would also be KU's 2,100th all-time victory, which ranks second behind Kentucky (2,111).
- Kansas and Western Kentucky are meeting for the fifth time in men's basketball with KU leading the series 3-1.
- Kansas assistant coach Kurtis Townsend graduated from Western Kentucky and was a point guard at WKU for two seasons (1978-80).
- In 2012-13, Kansas played 16 games against 10 teams in this year's NCAA Tournament field: Belmont (1-0), Colorado (1-0), Iowa State (3-0), Kansas State (3-0), Michigan State (0-1), Ohio State (1-0), Oklahoma (1-1), Oklahoma State (1-1), St. Louis (1-0) and Temple (1-0). KU went a combined 13-3 against those squads.
- Kansas is 27-9 as a No. 1 seed and 10-0 against the No. 16 seed.
- Kansas' 36 games as the No. 1 seed are KU's most games played in any seed in the NCAA Tournament.
- KU's NCAA Tournament winning percentage of 69.9 percent ranks sixth all-time for a minimum of 20 games played.
- Under head coach Bill Self, Kansas is 23-8 (74.2 percent) in the NCAA Tournament with six Sweet 16s, five Elite Eights, two Final Fours, one NCAA National Championship and one NCAA runner-up finish.
Kansas is 17-1 at home, 7-3 in road games and 5-1 on neutral courts in 2012-13. KU averages 75.4 points per game and leads the Big 12 with a +13.9 scoring margin. KU also leads the league in rebounding at 39.1, rebound margin at +6.6, field goal percentage at 48.0, field goal percentage defense at 36.0, which leads the nation, and blocked shots at 6.6.
Kansas starts four seniors, including three fifth-year seniors, and one freshman. An All-Big 12 First Team and USBWA Freshman All-America selection, redshirt freshman G Ben McLemore leads the team in scoring at 16.4 points per game. Senior C Jeff Withey was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2013 Big 12 Championship. Senior G Travis Releford is third in the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 56.4 percent. An All-Big 12 Second Team selection, Releford is scoring 11.5 points per contest. All-Big 12 Honorable Mention and Big 12 Player of the Week (3/4) honoree senior G Elijah Johnson has a team-high 163 assists and is second on the team with 49 three-pointers made to complement his 10.1 scoring average. Senior F Kevin Young rounds out the KU starters; he is scoring 7.6 points per contest and is second on the team with 6.6 rebounds per outing.
Western Kentucky is making its 23rd trip to the NCAA Tournament, including four trips in the last six seasons. WKU is 20-15 on the season after having won four games en route to the Sun Belt Conference tournament championship. They are coached by Ray Harper who is 32-23 in his second season at WKU and 374-86 in his 14th season overall. WKU has won seven of its last eight games and finished fourth in the East Division of the Sun Belt Conference with a 10-10 record. Western Kentucky averages 67.2 points per game, has a +1.5 scoring margin and a +3.2 rebound margin. WKU averages 6.4 three-pointers made, 6.1 steals and forces 13.9 turnovers per contest.
Should Kansas defeat Western Kentucky, Kansas would play the winner of the No. 8 North Carolina vs. No. 9 Villanova game on Sunday. Tip time for Sunday's contest will be announced following Friday's contests.
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