Start packing your bags to St.Louis Jayhawk fans. Kansas was awarded a #2 seed in the South Region playing Ohio Valley conference champions #15 seeded Eastern Kentucky Colonels. Other potential threats in Kansas's region is the Tournament's overall #1 the Florida Gators.
VCU, a scary team on the minds of most KU fans to lose to is slotted at a #5 playing Stephen. F. Austin. Surprise contender is UCLA which is a #4 playing an intriguing Tulsa Golden Hurricanes squad. Coached by former Jayhawk assistant Danny Manning.
Starting in the bottom half of the South Region. Where the road the road starts at. Beginning with Kansas' first round opponent Eastern Kentucky. EKU isn't a big ball club. Even without Embiid in the post. Kansas should excel inside. The problem that stands out, that is becoming the down play of this team is the defense against the 3 point line. Eastern Kentucky comes in as a team shooting 39.6% from beyond the arc. Not bad.
Though, the Colonels defense might be a lot worse than Kansas. You can say its as bad as them not being able to defend a chair. Their offense runs through a veteran point guard in Glenn Cosey. A slasher who shoots at a high rate of 8 3 point bombs per game (making 42% of them.) Kansas will have to defend the 3 point line much better than in the past to get by here. The Colonels shoot more 3 pointers than Iowa State does. So always be fearful.
Moving on into the Round of 32. #7/#10 seed match up between New Mexico and Stanford. Who play before Kansas at 12:35 p.m. Friday. New Mexico, in most people's minds believe that New Mexico is under seeded at 7. Winning the Mountain West Title over San Diego State. If New Mexico gets by, this could be Kansas' toughest possible match up in the tournament. These two teams met up in mid- December at Sprint Center. Where Joel Embiid started his recent rise to promise in that game.
However, Embiid most likely won't play in this one either. Which causes an unsettling feeling. New Mexico is a very physical team. Cameron Barstow and Kirk can provide a fist fight down low. Tarik Black and Perry Ellis physicality will be put to the limit in the game. Which is why I'm unsure of them getting past to the 2nd weekend.
If so, a win would send Kansas into the Sweet 16 facing a plethora of teams. #3 seed Syracuse playing #14 Western Michigan and #6 seed Ohio State against #11 seed Dayton. Syracuse and Ohio State, are both teams like Kansas. Who have been sliding of late. But Syracuse zone as been ineffective of late. Ohio State surpasses too many scoring droughts to survive. Dayton and Western Michigan have good guard that can touch Kansas frustrating matters.
Yet, I see Kansas outscoring there way into the South Regional Final against the top seed and Title favorites the Florida Gators. We saw these 2 square off in Gainseville in early December. Where Kansas got burned and humiliated badly in the process. Florida hasn't lost a game in over 3 months by a buzzer beater by Shabazz Napier vs UConn. In order for Kansas to pull off the upset. Embiid who will most likely start in that one. He will have to be the star inside matching up with Prather and Patric Young. Scottie Wilbikin and Casey Hill are tough, tough guards to defend. Wilbikin and the whole Florida team has come up short 3 years in a row in Regional Final. A perfect game is mandatory for success in order to moving on to North Texas.
All in all. Making a Final Four run by these group of players is always possible in Bill Self's team. Even though the inconsistent demons has plagued this team's potential. So, Kansas' backs against the wall will start Friday afternoon. Naadir Tharpe, Andrew Wiggins, and others will need to come together as a unit to make this March tournament run a memorable one.