On Selection Sunday, the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee awarded Kansas with a No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region.
That means the Jayhawks will travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma later this week to play a No. 16 seed at the BOK Center.
“We’re happy that we are a 1 seed, I’m not sure that’s a huge advantage,” coach Bill Self said. “We’re obviously happy that we get to stay fairly regional with our travel, especially going down to Tulsa in the first weekend. And hopefully play well and win a four game tournament.”
KU’s first opponent will be the winner of a First Four matchup between NC Central and UC Davis that play in Dayton, Ohio on Wednesday.
That means Kansas heads into the week preparing for two teams. Senior forward Landen Lucas, who will have his last go in an NCAA Tournament, says not knowing who his team plays will present only a bit of a challenge.
“It does a little bit, but our coaches do a good job on at least making sure that we’re pretty well informed on both teams and then as soon as we do find out, we’ll put a little bit more focus into that team.” Lucas said.
After his team was bounced last week by TCU in its opening game of the Big 12 Championship, Self says ball screen defense and rebounding are two aspects KU needs to improve on.
If the Jayhawks pick up two wins in the first weekend, they’ll head back to Kansas City, Missouri to play in the Midwest Regional at the Sprint Center. As of now, looming on the other side of the bracket is Iowa State — meaning there’s a potential Big 12 meeting in the Sweet Sixteen. Iowa State defeated Kansas after an overtime game in Allen Fieldhouse earlier this season, 92-89.
“I was really surprised — not that they put Iowa State in with us, I think that’s fine — but they did it if both teams advanced that it could happen in the Sweet Sixteen rather than later on.” Self said.
Kansas will depart for Tulsa later this week.