Justin K. Aller
Our weekly look at where the various mock brackets have Kansas slated to be when the NCAA tournament begins in March
This week's brackets seem to shake out more favorably for Kansas than most fans think the Jayhawks deserve given the relative struggles lately, but the truth is there really aren't any teams that should be given more preferential seeding treatment than Kansas. It is more about location and matchups than seeding, but having the #1 overall seed in a couple of mock brackets sure does not hurt things.
Mr. Glockner has the Jayhawks as his #1 overall (assuming I am reading his bracket correctly) and his bracket gives Kansas a relatively easy path to the Final Four (which seems weird to say, but if I could pick a road it would probably be the one given). I've said it before, and I'll explain in more detail if the moment should arise, but the 2 seed I want standing in Kansas's way on the road to Atlanta is Louisville by far. In fact, the major downside of the bracket comes from Florida being on the same side. But if my biggest complaint is "Kansas wins four tournament games and then has to face Florida" I'll take it.
The big draw here from a Kansas aspect is a potential second round matchup with Illinois. It's less spicy now that Bruce Weber has been canned, but you can bet a lot of Illinois fans are still upset about Self leaving and would be chomping at the bit to see him in the tournament again.
If Miami ends up as a 2 seed, you can replace Louisville with them in terms of teams that I most want to see opposite Kansas in the bracket. It seems weird to say that the ACC leader shouldn't even be a two seed, but Miami has beaten Duke and Michigan State and has little else on their resume in terms of wins, but has lost to Florida Gulf Coast as well.
The Jayhawks 2 seed here is Arizona, which would also be a very good matchup, but I don't think they'd be getting by Gonzaga. Regardless, if Kansas can get by a tricky NC State game in the Sweet 16 (a potential rematch that is pretty popular with bracketologists) then they should be the heavy favorites to get to Atlanta. That seems amazingly dumb to say given how pedestrian Kansas has looked at times this year and the parity in college basketball this year, but it's true.
Mr. Palm is one of the best bracketologists out there, but he didn't do Kansas any favors. A likely second round matchup with VCU would be complicated given their propensity to force turnovers, and ours to give the ball away, and waiting in the Elite 8 should Kansas get that far would likely be Indiana. He does have Kansas on a KC to Arlington path. It seems unlikely that Duke and Arizona are going to get 1 seeds, which I really think points to Arizona being the 2 in the South. I Perfect. I actually don't see Kansas getting to the Final Four as this bracket is constructed. There are just too many pitfalls. Even with VCU being in Kansas City, they force way too many turnovers for my liking (even if I think more of a helter skelter style would do us some good) and potentially having to beat Ohio State again is pretty daunting, even if they did so just last season.
In all, not a bad group of matchups for the Jayhawks this week. Of all the 2 seeds I saw mentioned as possible opponents, I would want to play Arizona the most, followed by Louisville and then Indiana. But the big key, as I've mentioned, is that they get to go from Kansas City to Arlington. Not just because they will be close (or relatively close in the case of Arlington) but because they will hopefully get to pull some team from far away to be their opponent. That is worth at least a couple of points, and with how closely the top teams are grouped together this year, that is potentially a huge deal.