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2012 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Positive Benefits Of Kansas Basketball's Bracket

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Last night the NCAA tournament brackets were announced and folks immediately took to the internet to snag a bracket and begin watching countless experts breakdown the bracket, the potential upsets and the Final Four favorites. If you've filled out yours, jump on over and join SBNation's Wisdom of the Crowds Bracket to enter for a chance to stake your claim as the best on the network.

Now let's get back to our own Jayhawks. With Kansas losing to Baylor in the Big 12 Conference Tournament semifinals the Jayhawks have been given a No. 2 seed which isn't what they necessarily would have hoped, but it's the right call and the committee did do Kansas a few favors in the process. Here's what I like about it.

  • Back to the Start - That's where this team is. For as good as Kansas has been throughout the season they seem to be one of the most fragile profiles when it comes to media perception. One loss and it's suddenly a situation where everyone points the finger and says 'here they go'. This team wasn't expected to do so well before the season, the profile slipped post-Columbia and then it slipped again post-Baylor. In almost every instance the team has responded. Watching the selection show I don't know that I've ever seen a team look as irritated as our guys when the No. 2 seed was announced. I'm hoping that can be turned into a positive.
  • Midwest Region - You can argue any which way you want, this is huge. It might now result in a Final Four, it might not result in a trip past the first round, but playing in Omaha and then hopefully St. Louis presents our team with an advantage here and it's one that some other teams would love to have.
  • Mid Major Madness - It's on the docket again this year. Detroit has legitimate NBA caliber players on their squad. After that St. Mary's could be next in line. I feel like we've said this before, but at some point Kansas players and coaches have to get tired of hearing about the mid major upset bug. This is an opportunity to exercise some demons.
  • The North Carolina Tar Heels - First off Kansas has to get their. Then so to do the Tar Heels. But if Kansas plays North Carolina in the Elite Eight it is a team that the Jayhawks match up with fairly well and it will be a game where Kansas isn't playing with the pressure of expectations. Bill Self has done well in those situations as have the Jayhawks. I like this teams chances if they can get to that point.

Maybe it's wishful thinking, maybe it's wanting to be optimistic, but those are a few reasons I like the draw and I like the bracket as a No. 2. I don't think this team earned a No. 1 down the stretch and while you could make an argument for them, I do feel like the fact that they exceeded everyone's expectations meant that they need to keep their foot on the gas and not give anyone a reason to doubt them which is what happened in the loss to Baylor.

At the same time I've never felt less upset after a loss as when Kansas fell on Friday night. In my mind their were more positives in not playing on Saturday and getting the extra rest. Plus a loss to the No. 11 team in the country only hurt marginally when the seeding process was all said and done.

Now this group is back to having something to prove and while this Jayhawk team certainly has weaknesses and areas of concern, they also have two players and starting talent that can compete with anyone.

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