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Can the Kansas Jayhawks actually play up to their seed?

Not since the championship 2008 year have the Kansas Jayhawks cruised in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Will this year be any different?

Will there be celebrating early in the first round for the Jayhawks this year?
Will there be celebrating early in the first round for the Jayhawks this year?
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The first round of the NCAA Tournament has been painful for Kansas Jayhawks' fans recently.

From letting Lehigh hang around in '09, to heading in to halftime tied with Eastern Kentucky last year, it's been much more tense in the first round than it should be for a team seeded no worse than three during that stretch.

Let's take a stroll down memory lane, because they all turned out okay, and remember these stress-inducing games with the hope there is no repeat this season.

(3) Kansas 84, (14) North Dakota State 74 -- March 20, 2009

Like this entire season that ended in the Sweet 16, it was Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich who saved the day for the Jayhawks. The duo combined for 55 points, and held off that annoying pest Ben Woodside, who went for 37 on 13-of-23 shooting.

NDSU led 17-14 before KU took a 43-34 halftime lead. It seemed in the bag, until five straight points from Woodside cut the lead to 56-53 at the 11:48 mark. Then Collins and Aldrich scored 20 of the next 24 Jayhawk points, en route to the 10-point victory.

Bison almost became my least favorite animal.

(1) Kansas 90, (16) Lehigh 74 -- March 18, 2010

This one was a lot of fun.

The Jayhawks had two points at the 15:22 mark and I already imagined Aggieville imploding from sheer joy that KU may end up on the wrong side of history.

Luckily, Kansas took a six-point halftime lead it would never relinquish, and the fans had two days to wait before the jokes of an early tournament exit came at the hands of Northern Iowa.

C.J. McCollum went for 26 points and seven rebounds for the Mountain Hawks, but Marcus Morris was better. He finished with 26 and 10 while missing only three of 15 shot attempts.

(1) Kansas 72, (16) Boston University 53 -- March 18, 2011

Sure the Jayhawks won by 19, the largest of these six games, but it still wasn't pretty.

Kansas surged all the way to a four-point lead at the half, before using nine threes and 50 percent shooting to pull away in the second.

Four Jayhawks scored in double-figures, led by Morris' 16, and it ended up being the easiest win since the '08 champions crushed Portland St., 85-61, in the first round.

(2) Kansas 65, (15) Detroit 50 -- March 16, 2012

This was another game that ended with some breathing room, but it was a precursor to the entire tournament.

The championship game run in '12 actually caused every Kansas fan to gray if they already hadn't. From trailing by 10 to Purdue in the second round, to 13 against Ohio State in the Final Four, to everything else in between, KU provided about 93 percent of the entire tournament drama that year.

It started when they only led Detroit 21-19 halfway through the first half, before using a 16-point, 13-rebound, double-double from Thomas Robinson to seal the victory.

Somewhere, Dick Vitale was crying.

(1) Kansas 64, (16) Western Kentucky 57 -- March 22, 2013

The Hilltoppers actually led this one at half.

The 31-30 lead may or may not have prompted the K-State athletic department to print t-shirts that read:

Our New Favorite Team Beat the Jayhawks in the First Half

KU then opened up an 11-point lead, but that was no fun.

They let Western Kentucky back in the game, and didn't put it out of reach until two Ben McLemore free throws made it a three-possession game in the final seconds.

Jeff Withey had 17 points, six rebounds and seven volleyball spikes to lead the way.

It was nice to at least beat a team from the state of Kentucky.

(2) Kansas 80, (15) Eastern Kentucky 69 -- March 21, 2014

What's with all the Kentucky schools?

This was the third team from the commonwealth the Jayhawks match-ed up against in two years, and this one decided to play well in the first half too.

It was tied at 32 only after Kansas trailed 23-14.

Bill Self smirked a lot, and probably cussed a lot too, on the sidelines. I don't remember the halftime interview, but it probably went something like:

We were awful.

Luckily, after trailing by three at one point in the second half, four Jayhawks ended up in double-figures, and they finally put the game away in the final two minutes.

Andrew Wiggins had his last good game as a Jayhawk, registering 19 points and four rebounds.

(2) Kansas vs. (15) New Mexico State -- March 20, 2015

Who knows what will happen, but the Aggies, at least in name, don't seem like a normal 15 seed.

They seem like a team that will give the Jayhawks fits with a stingy defense and 13-game winning streak.

However, their best win during that stretch is 17-14 Grand Canyon State, who finished tied for second in the ultra competitive WAC.

With a possible match-up against Wichita State looming in the next round, the Jayhawks could overlook New Mexico State and come out a little tight.

For the sake of our hair, let's hope not.