On the surface, Kansas got exactly what it wanted in first round opponent Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers finished just 20-15, and they finished fourth in the East division of the Sun Belt.
Also, when looking at upset possibilities, it is natural to first go to their three point percentage. More good news: Western Kentucky shoots just 33.2% from three on the season and have just one player shooting over 35% from deep on the season.
The potentially bad news is that even though the Hilltoppers don't shoot well from three, they shoot quite a few of them. They take over 35% of their shots from three, and they took more threes in Sun Belt play than any other team. On the surface this wouldn't be so bad, as it would lead to a lot of misses and run outs for Kansas. Sadly, we all know that someone on the team (or the entire team) will shoot about 50% from three and there will be a point during the game where the outcome is at least semi in doubt (and hopefully only semi in doubt).
Further helping the Jayhawks is the fact that the Hilltoppers turn it over on 22% of their possessions, 301st in the country. The Jayhawks' defense doesn't need any help, obviously, but it could lead to a lot of break outs and easy baskets for the offense.
Let's take a look at how they match up four factors wise. First, the offense:
now, the defenses:
Kansas's biggest advantage is in terms of eFG allowed, obviously, but they've been really good on the glass on both ends in Big 12 play, and they ended up 3rd in the league in terms of steals this year.
Western Kentucky's likely strategy will be to bomb away from three, as it probably should be, but with all the advantages Kansas has they will have to get very lucky from three in order to pull of the unprecedented upset.