Kansas vs. North Dakota State
Big 12 Champion Kansas (25-7, 14-2 Big 12) makes its 20th-straight and 38th overall NCAA Tournament appearance as a No. 3 seed in the Midwest Regional and will take on North Dakota State (26-6, 16-2 Summit) Friday, March 20, at 11:30 a.m. (Central). In its 38 appearances in the Big Dance, this is the first time KU will play in the state of Minnesota. The Jayhawks - 2008 NCAA National Champions - are coming off a 71-64 loss to Baylor in the quarterfinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship in Oklahoma City on March 12. North Dakota State has won seven straight, including the Summit League Tournament. This marks the fourth time since seeding started in the NCAA Tournament that the Jayhawks have been a No. 3 seed. If KU wins, it would play the winner of the West Virginia-Dayton game Sunday at either 1:30 p.m. or 4 p.m. (Central).
All right it's been covered from every angle how this is a matchup that is scary for the Jayhawks. A good three point shooting team with a true motion offense very similar to that of the Texas Tech Red Raiders who knocked Kansas off late in the year. Enough of that nonsense though, this is a Kansas team that got knocked off early and embarassed by the Baylor bears early in the Big 12 tournament. They're rested, healed up, and motivated. Cole's back home, Sherron is back in the tourney all we need now is the freshman to play good enough and Brady Morningstar to lock down Ben Woodside. Those things fall into place, which I think they do and all this talk about Kansas being upset will be for not. Not too mention, doesn't anyone think the fact that everyone in the country is picking against these guys might just be a motivating factor? I mean since when has it ever been such a foregone conclusion that a 14 seed was going to upset a 3. I like our chances in round one, Rock Chalk Jayhawk!!!
Score Prediction: Kansas 78 NDSU 65
Team Stat Comparison
Full preview and breakdown after the jump...
Ranks and Records
|Rank and Records||NDST||KU|
|Strength of Schedule||#291||#20|
|RPI Top 50||0-2||9-3|
No. 13/14 Kansas has won six of its last eight games heading into the NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks are the defending NCAA National Champions yet return less than 20 percent of all but one statistical category.
The Jayhawks are averaging 77.1 points per game and giving up 65.8 for a +11.3 scoring margin. KU leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense at 38.8 percent, rebound defense at 31.6 and rebound margin at +7.3. In conference play, KU led the conference in scoring margin (+10.5), field goal percentage defense (38.6), three-point field goal percentage (40.3), three-point field goal percentage defense (32.7), rebounding defense (29.8) and rebound margin (+8.2).
About North Dakota State
North Dakota State brings a seven-game winning streak to Minneapolis. Located in Fargo, N.D., the Bison won both the Summit League regular-season and postseason championships and have compiled a 26-6 overall and 16-2 conference record. This is first season the Bison were eligible for the NCAA Tournament after a five-year reclassification from Division II. Of NDSU's six losses, four have been by five points or less. North Dakota State ranks ninth nationally with an 80.8 scoring average. The Bison are giving up 68.6 points per game for a +12.2 scoring margin. NDSU is a deadly three-point shooting team ranking fifth nationally with a 41.2 three-point shooting percentage. The Bison average 7.1 threes per game. NDSU is a veteran team with four fifth-year seniors and a fourth-year senior. Senior guard Ben Woodside leads the team in scoring with 22.8 points per game, including a 60-point effort in a triple-overtime loss (112-111) against Stephen F. Austin on Dec. 12. His 22.8 ppg is ninth nationally. He also averages 6.3 assists per game, has a team-best 64 three pointers and 84.2 free throw percentage. Senior forward Brett Winkelman is next in scoring at 18.7 points per game and he leads the Bison with a 7.4 rebound average and 48 steals. He is making 80.9 percent from the free throw line. Senior guard Mike Nelson is scoring 11.9 points per game. He is second on the team with a 4.2 rebound average, with 81 assists and 57 three pointers made. Sophomore forward Michael Tveidt is making a team-best 45.8 percent from beyond the arc to complement his 9.7 scoring average. His 20 blocked shots are a team high and one ahead of senior center Lucas Moormann's 19 blocks. Moorman is scoring 4.5 points per game. Junior forward Dejuan Flowers (3.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg), freshman forward Eric Carlson (2.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg), junior guard Josh Vaughan (2.8 ppg) and sophomore guard Freddy Coleman (2.5 ppg) round out the Bison regulars. NDSU's starting five of Woodside, Winkelman, Nelson, Tveidt and Moormann score 83.6 percent of the Bison's points.
Kansas is the No. 3 seed for the fourth time since the NCAA Tournament started seeding in 1979 - 1985, 1991, 2005 and 2009. The Jayhawks are 6-3 all-time as a No. 3 seed and advanced to the NCAA Tournament title game in 1991 as a three seed. The last time KU was a No. 3 was in 2005 - a first-round loss to Bucknell (64-63) in Oklahoma City. Kansas is 3-1 against the No. 14 seed in the event and should it go 4-1, it is 3-1 against the No. 6 seed and 2-1 versus No. 11 seeds.
Kansas in the NCAA Tournament
--In the last seven NCAA Tournaments, Kansas has a 21-6 (77.8 percent) record with one NCAA National Championship (2008), three Final Four (2002-03-08) and five Elite Eight (2002-03-04-07-08) appearances.
--This is KU's 38th overall NCAA Tournament appearance and first trip to Minneapolis.
--The Jayhawks' 38 NCAA Tournament appearances are fourth nationally behind only Kentucky (48), UCLA (41) and North Carolina (41).
--Kansas' 20-straight NCAA Tournament appearances only trails Arizona's 25 on the active list.
--Kansas sports an all-time NCAA Tournament record of 82-36 and the Jayhawks' 82 wins rank fifth behind Kentucky (97), North Carolina (96), UCLA (89) and Duke (86).
--The Jayhawks will play their 119th NCAA Tournament game on Friday, which ranks fifth all-time in NCAA history.
--KU's NCAA Tournament winning percentage of 69.5 percent ranks fifth all-time.
--The Jayhawks have appeared in the Final Four 13 times - making KU one of just six schools to reach the Final Four 10-plus times.
--Kansas has won 11 games in the Final Four, which is sixth-best all time.
--KU is one of six schools that has won at least three NCAA Championships. The Jayhawks won the NCAA crown in 1952, 1988 and 2008.
--Kansas coach Bill Self is making his 11th appearance in the NCAA Tournament as a head coach.
--Five different Jayhawks have been named NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, including B.H. Born in 1953 and Wilt Chamberlain in 1957, who won the award even though KU lost in the finals. Clyde Lovellette (1952) and Danny Manning (1988) also won the honor. Mario Chalmers won the Most Outstanding Player Award for the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
--Former Jayhawk player and coach Dick Harp is the only person to play in the Final Four and later coach his alma mater in the Final Four.