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Roundtable: Possibilities for KU in the NCAA Tournament

Do you want a piece of Wichita State? Well, do you?

Peter Aiken

So Wednesday evening on the drive home, I was listening to 610 AM (sports talk radio in KC). They were discussing possibilities for our beloved Jayhawks in the NCAA Tournament. They mostly talked about three possibilities:

1. #1 seed in the MidWest (Indianapolis) with WSU as the #2 seed

2. #2 seed in the MiWest (Indianapolis) with WSU as the #1 seed

3. #2 seed in the West (Anaheim) with Arizona as the #1 seed

A fourth, less likely possibility that wasn't discussed much was Kansas in the South Region as the #2 seed to Florida's #1 seed.

If seeds held, Options 1 and 2 would have us playing the mighty Wichita State Wheat Shockers in Indianapolis for a berth in the Final Four. Option 3 would have us playing Arizona in Anaheim, CA.

The general consensus between the radio hosts was that option 1 and option 2 are pretty much the same, and that either would be preferable to option 3. Arizona in Anaheim would be a virtual road game for Kansas in that situation.

In what seems like a blatant effort to steal notkapowski's gig (but really isn't, I promise), I thought this would be a perfect idea for a roundtable discussion.

What do you think, fellas? If you were given the above options and the power, where would you choose to put KU and why? Assume the following:

1. Florida, Syracuse, Arizona, and Kansas all make the finals of their conference tournaments.

2. Wichita State is unbeaten on Selection Sunday.

3. Seeds hold all the way to the Elite 8.

mikeville: Initially, I agreed with the "on paper" analysis of the radio hosts - that a matchup between KU and Wichita State favors the Jayhawks.

But of course, once I thought about it for more than 10 seconds, I changed my mind. Maybe I'm one of the few, but I don't want any part of Wichita State in the NCAAs. If Kansas met up with Wichita State, yes, KU would have the edge in talent, size, depth, coaching, and probably a few more categories. But would that be enough? WSU would undoubtedly be playing with "edge," emotion, "want to," and "a chip on their shoulder." They’re definitely a talented squad, so think VCU or Northern Iowa, only 10 times worse. Do you REALLY want to see WSU in the tournament? Because I sure don't.

TJFsports: I don't think Arizona would be that bad. They really haven't been the same team without Brandon Ashley. What's more concerning in regards to those 3 options is who the 3 seed would be. If it's someone like Creighton or Louisville, it's a big difference between being a 2 vs. a 1. If it's someone less frightening, like, say, St. Louis, then it's not a huge deal.

Wichita State is definitely a great team and I think lots of KU fans doubt them unfairly, but I would certainly be okay with them being the biggest threat in a region to KU.

For selfish reasons, I would prefer not to go to Indianapolis. I went there for the Chiefs/Colts game that I don't want to talk about. It wasn't fun. And I hate domes, which I believe Indy is the only dome of the regionals. Domes are stupid. Ask Tyshawn. Never forget.

I also don't think it's at all out of the question that both Kansas AND Wichita State get one seeds. In which case, I would prefer to be in the Memphis (South) regional. Or New York (East), because playing in Madison Square Garden would be awesome.

Florida would obviously mean that we really got a bad draw, and I doubt that it happens, but I would be okay with a rematch with Florida too. Their defense is scary, but I also think KU just kind of played like crap that day. Andrew Wiggins absolutely destroyed Casey Prather, too.

KU Grad 08: I'd rather be in a bracket with WSU than any of the other top seeds because I don't think WSU will be there waiting for us in the Elite 8...

(Editor’s note: KU Grad 08 receives an ‘F’ on this exercise for failing to read the directions.)

PenHawk: I'd take WSU, too. For me, going into a game with superior talent is a much better feather in the cap than something enigmatic like "wanting it more" or "playing with a chip on your shoulder."

notkapowski: My thought is I want to stay as close to Lawrence as possible. That points us to Indy or Memphis. While I think we would beat Florida in a rematch, I'd rather not experience that until the Final Four.

The tournament is all about matchups and, whatever you think of Wichita's quality, we matchup really well with them. They don't have the size inside to stop us, I think Fred VanVleet would struggle to guard Naadir Tharpe, and Andrew Wiggins would shut Ron Baker down on the perimeter. I would hate the storyline but matchup-wise I think Wichita is our best bet.

misterbrain: I think another possibility is that Syracuse loses twice more, to Virginia on Saturday and then in the semifinals of the ACC tournament to Duke, and then gets a #2, with KU getting the 4th number 1 in the East. I find that to be preferable, as I think that we match up fairly well with Syracuse as our perimeter shooting has been heating up and could pick that zone apart.

But of the options outlined above, I would much prefer to get the #1 in the Midwest. I'm not sure I'm too wary of the projected 4 seeds, but some of those 3 seeds look downright scary.

mikeville: Yeah, that’s right, I get to go first AND last. For those old enough, how bad did the loss to WSU in the 1981 NCAA Tournament sting? Can you imagine it happening in this day and age? I still have Shocker fans bringing up the 1981 game (similar to Royals fans and the ’85 World Series.) I don’t want to imagine a world where WSU knocks Kansas out of the NCAA Tournament for a Final Four berth. Give me Arizona in Anaheim or Syracuse in New York or Florida in any region… someone else can deal with the Fighting Gregg Marshalls.

What do you think, RCT Nation?