Just thought we would take a quick look at KU’s draw in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
First, the visual:
KU will take on Eastern Washington in the first round. The Eagles (16-7, 12-3) finished tied for second in the Big Sky regular season, a half-game behind Southern Utah, but punched their ticket by winning the conference tournament. They were just 1-4 in nonconference play, losing to Washington State (71-68), Arizona (70-67), Oregon (69-52), and Saint Mary’s (80-75).
Here is the rest of KU’s pod according to KenPom:
6 USC (14) vs 11 Wichita State (74) OR 11 Drake (53)
3 Kansas (22) vs 14 Eastern Washington (110)
7 Oregon (36) vs 10 VCU (45)
2 Iowa (5) vs 15 Grand Canyon (108)
KU looks to be an underdog should they meet up with USC in the second round. The Trojans (22-7, 15-5) finished the season ranked #24 in the AP Poll. They lost to Colorado three times, plus once to UConn, Oregon State, Arizona, and Utah. However, their schedule featured just two games against top-25 opponents, so as weak as the Pac-12 was this year, it may be difficult to get a gauge on who is actually “good” coming out of that conference.
The first odds I saw have Gonzaga as the odds-on favorite to win the tournament at 2/1. In the West Region, Iowa is 18/1, Kansas is 40/1, and Virginia is 33/1.
Going by KenPom, it looks like USC as a 6-seed could underseeded by two or three lines, a la 2010 Northern Iowa or 2015 Wichita State.
The Jayhawks open as an 11.5-point favorite over Eastern Washington.
Assuming a first-round win, if seeding holds Kansas will likely have to get through USC, Iowa, and Gonzaga to get to its 16th Final Four.
The Fantasy Run
But just for fun, a fantasy run through the tournament could include:
Wichita State in the Second Round
VCU in the Sweet 16
Missouri in the Elite 8
Michigan in the Final 4
North Carolina (or Illinois) (or Syracuse) (or Oral Roberts) in the Championship game
Anyone going to fill out a “Revenge Tour” bracket?