The No. 1 seed Kansas Jayhawks (27-7) take on the No. 16 seed Pennsylvania Quakers (24-8) in the First Round of the Midwest Region. The game will be played at the INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita on Thursday, March 15. The game will tip at 2 p.m. ET.
Preview: The Jayhawks are a mainstay around the top of the NCAA Tournament. Kansas isn’t the deepest team, but it managed to win the Big 12 in a year where there were no easy outs, 1-through-10.
Perhaps more impressively, Kansas rounded into form and won the conference tournament. Bill Self’s team finally beat Oklahoma State, which had knocked it off twice during the season, and dispatched tough Kansas State and West Virginia teams by double digits to take home the trophy.
KU is very dangerous offensively, led by star guard Devonte’ Graham. KenPom has KU with the No. 6 offense in the country, though the defense is only ranked No. 46.
— Kansas Basketball (@KUHoops) March 11, 2018
Penn was 12-2 in the Ivy League regular season, tied with Harvard, but had a much better regular season at 24-8 vs. the Crimson’s 18-13. The Quakers got a scare from the Crimson in the Ivy League Championship this afternoon, but held on for a 68-65 win at The Palestra.
Date: March 15
Time: 2 p.m. ET
TV Channel: TBS
Location: Wichita, KS
Announcers: Brad Nessler, Steve Lavin, Evan Washburn
Opening Betting Line: Kansas -14, via 5Dimes
This is Kansas’s 47th NCAA Tournament appearance, and the 15th under Jay Wright. Kansas has never missed the Big Dance with Bill Self at the helm.
Kansas has made 30 Sweet 16s and 23 Elite Eights. The team has three national championships in 14 Final Fours, with the most recent coming in 2008.
As far as mid-majors go, Penn has been a relatively consistent NCAA Tournament participants, though its been a while. The Quakers are in their 24th Tournament, but first since 2007. The team has advanced to five Sweet 16s, three Elite Eights, and one Final Four: 1979.
Prediction: Kansas didn’t look like a 1-seed most of the season, and yet, here we are. Bill Self’s team turned it on at the right time, and a lack of consistent other teams give KU one of the top four spots.
Personally, I have some reservations about Kansas’s prospects throughout the tournament itself. The Jayhawks are not super deep, and a number of middling Big 12 teams got the best of them this year.
However, this will not be the first top seed to lose to a No. 16. Kansas wins.