Game 35: (13) Northeastern vs. (4) Kansas – Preview and Prediction

Kansas opens up NCAA Tournament action on Thursday afternoon, as they take on No. 13 Northeastern out of the Colonial Athletic Association. For the first time since 2009, Kansas is something other than a 1 or 2 seed. The feeling heading this year’s tourney is much different than in year’s past. For once, KU is not the favorite. In fact, it seems as if they are the trendy team to be upset in the first round. Hopefully, the Jayhawks can use this underdog role to an advantage.

Game Info and Notes:

  • Thursday, March 21st, 2019, (roughly) 3:00PM CDT
  • Vivint Smart Home Arena — Salt Lake City, Utah
  • TNT or NCAA March Madness App
  • Kansas is making its 48th NCAA Tournament appearance and has a 107-46 record in the event. The Jayhawks have advanced to 31 Sweet 16 contests, 15 Final Fours and three of their five national championships have been in NCAA Championship format (1952, 1988, 2008).
  • Kansas’ 30-consecutive NCAA Championship appearances, beginning in 1990, is the longest active streak and the longest consecutive in NCAA tourney appearances history.
  • Since seeding in the NCAA Tournament began in 1979, this is the fifth time Kansas entered the event a No. 4 seed. KU was also a No. 4 seed in 1994, 2001, 2004 and 2006 with the last two in the Bill Self era. The Jayhawks are 7-4 all-time as a No. 4 seed.
  • This year marks the 19th-straight season that the Jayhawks have earned a top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament.
  • This will be Kansas’ first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in Salt Lake City as well as the state of Utah.
  • Kansas has won its last 12 NCAA Tournament first-round games, a string which started in 2007.
About the Huskies

The Huskies ran through the CAA Tournament to earn their NCAA Tournament bid. They went 0-3 against tournament teams this season, and got absolutely demolished by two of the Power 5 opponents they played in Syracuse and Virginia Tech. Northeastern can flat out shoot the ball though. They’re shooting 48.2 percent from the field and 38.8 percent from beyond the arc this season. They will huck up their fair share of threes, as 46.3 percent of their shots this season have been threes.

Huskies to Watch

Vasa Pusica – Senior, Guard, 6’5″
Pusica is the team’s leading scorer at 17.8 PPG. He’s coming off a 21-point performance against Hofstra in the CAA Championship game. He’s been in double-figures in all but two games this season, and 40.1 percent from three. He seems like the stereotypical guy to go off and take KU out of the tournament.

Jordan Roland – Junior, Guard, 6’1″
Roland has had a breakout junior year after transferring over from George Washington. He’s scoring 14.7 PPG and shooting 40.8 percent from three. He’s also shooting an eye poppin 90 percent from the free-throw line and 48 percent from the field as a guard. Bottom line…the guy can shoot.

Prediction

Kansas 82 – Northeastern 70

I have not felt great about this KU team for most of this season, but I think the Jayhawks are still good for a few wins here in the tournament. Dedric Lawson has been on a roll, and I don’t see Northeastern having the size or athleticism to slow him down. I say Northeastern gives KU a game, but I like the Jayhawks to cover.

Bobby Norell

My name is Bobby Norell. I'm from a small town in northern Indiana. I recently graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Sport Communication. Even though my diploma says I'm a Hoosier, my love for the Jayhawks has never wavered. They'll always come No.1.