Despite losing to Baylor on Saturday, Kansas finished the season with their ninth straight Big 12 regular season championship. Heading into the Big 12 tournament, Kansas looks like it needs to win out to be considered for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and is probably a No. 2 seed regardless.
Of course, this has left some of my readers with a bunch of questions. Hopefully, I can answer them (and correctly).
@rockchalkblog if ur still taking questions, hb “who will be our biggest comp in KC this week”?
— CW (@the6thJayhawk) March 12, 2013
The easy way out of this question is to say Kansas State or Oklahoma State. But it is very possibly that neither team will make it to Saturday (or Kansas, for that matter). Kansas has a potential match-up with Iowa State on Friday night. As you may recall, Iowa State took Kansas to overtime in both of their meetings this season. The last time they met, it was a very controversial game and Elijah Johnson went off for 39 points. It is the perfect “revenge” game for Iowa State and they know they can take the Jayhawks for a full 40 minutes. If it goes into overtime again, Kansas clearly has the advantage (they have outscored the Cyclones 36-16 in overtime periods this year).
@rockchalkblog Other than consistency on the court, what are the keys to cutting down the nets in Atlanta?
— Peirce Economakis (@Peirce77) March 12, 2013
As @TJFSports always says: YGTMYFT (You’ve got to make your free throws). Kansas is 72nd in Division-1 in free throw percentage (72.4 percent). Kansas is shooting 67.6 percent in their five losses this season (and 61.6 percent in their last three losses).
- Stay out of foul trouble – Travis Releford, Jeff Withey and Elijah Johnson all had four fouls in their loss to Baylor. Kevin Young had three. Luckily, Perry Ellis stepped up big for the Jayhawks but he has not been consistent.
- Getting a good road to the Final Four – Not all great teams end up in the Final Four. As you saw last year, Kansas had a pretty easy road to New Orleans. Kansas had a great region in 2008. It is all about match-ups.
@rockchalkblog your final four teams?
— Jack Strange (@jckstrange) March 11, 2013
Obviously, these will change by Sunday… But I’ll give you five because I feel like all of these have a shot at making the Final Four (and will all be in the Elite 8) but two of them will be in the same regional together: Kansas, Indiana, Michigan State, Louisville and Georgetown.
— John (@therealjbecker) March 11, 2013
@rockchalkblog do you think the NCAA committee will set up a second round match between KU and Missouri
— Jacob Vail (@JacobVail1) March 11, 2013
I’m not really even sold if Missouri is in the tournament. I feel like they need to win at least once this week in the SEC Tournament to get in (most likely Texas A&M). If they get just one win, they’re probably a 10 or 11 seed. If they win two, they’re probably an eight or nine seed. For them to face Kansas in the second round (really the third round or the round of 32), they’d need to be an 8 or 9 seed if Kansas is a 1 seed. They’d need to be a 7 or 10 seed if Kansas is a 2 seed.
I don’t think the NCAA tournament would put Kansas at a disadvantage of facing a team that close to home if they’re a 1 or 2 seed. That’s part of the benefit of being a 1 or 2 seed. I think they’ll put Kansas State in Kansas City, too, so the NCAA will take a look at that and see that they could sell more tickets if they send Missouri to Austin.
Short answer: No, I don’t think they will. But anything is possible.
@rockchalkblog the teams mindset going into the most important time of the season.
— Chase Says™ (@CGAZ1986) March 11, 2013
Time to relax before the Big 12 tournament, then it is business time. The next month is going to be highly stressful and full of traveling (although they’re thankful they’re playing in Kansas City for the next two weeks because it means a lot less traveling). I saw Travis Releford went bowling tonight with his buddies on Twitter. Jeff Withey is apparently having a birthday party sometime this week, according to Niko Roberts’ Twitter feed.
— zariah knighten (@therealZARIAH) March 11, 2013
I’m really confused as to why Travis Releford didn’t make the AP All-Big 12 second team. He’s one of the best defensive players in the Big 12 and as you mentioned, he’s very efficient. He definitely deserved the nod over Isaiah Austin.
— Chris Reed (@reedsox13) March 11, 2013
I think this team needs a guy like Julius Randle, because of his position and that Perry Ellis is coming around. If they end up reading this, I hope they realize that Kansas needs both of them and they’re instantly title contenders if they both come. Yeah, John Calipari can get them to the NBA but they can get to the NBA by themselves. If they want to actually win (and who doesn’t?), Bill Self has proven he’s a winner.