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Wild Sunday leaves pair of double-digit seeds on bottom half of KU's region as the Jayhawks head to Chicago for the Sweet 16

The Jayhawks come together in a huddle during the first half on Saturday, March 19, 2022 at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Jayhawks come together in a huddle during the first half on Saturday, March 19, 2022 at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas. by Nick Krug

Fifth-seeded Iowa losing in the first round was already considered quite a gift for the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks. But things really blew up on Sunday in the Midwest region of this year’s NCAA Tournament.

No. 11 seed Iowa State knocked off third-seeded Wisconsin in the afternoon. And No. 10 seed Miami (Fla.) took out No. 2 seed Auburn on Sunday night.

The Cyclones won by five, holding Wisconsin to 49 total points. And Miami steamrolled Auburn late to win by 18.

That leaves four teams headed to Chicago: Top-seeded Kansas, fourth-seeded Providence, Miami (Fla.) and Iowa State. One of those four programs will be headed to this year’s Final Four in New Orleans.

Kansas and Providence will tip off at 6:29 p.m. Friday on TBS in the first game at Chicago’s United Center. Miami and Iowa State will play 30 minutes after the conclusion of the KU game.

The opening up of the bracket for No. 1 Kansas (30-6) is awfully reminiscent to what went down in 2011.

That year, with KU as the No. 1 seed in the Southwest regional, the Jayhawks were joined in San Antonio by three double-digit seeds during the second weekend — 12th seeded Richmond, No. 10 seed Florida State and No. 11 seed VCU.

At that point, many believed that Kansas was a lock to reach the 2011 Final Four and the Jayhawks stormed past Richmond in the Sweet 16, 77-57, to make that take seem even more likely.

However, after surviving Florida State by a point in the Sweet 16, VCU and head coach Shaka Smart shocked Kansas 71-61 in the regional final to send KU home and VCU to the Final Four.

So while the path looks pretty for Kansas in Chicago next week, there are certainly enough Kansas fans — and people associated with the program — who understand all too well that none of that seeding mess matters at this time of year.

In order to reach the Sweet 16, you have to be playing great basketball no matter who you are or what you’re seeded.

The Jayhawks certainly fall in that category, but they’ll have to be sharp to get past Providence on Friday.

If they’re successful, it’ll either be a third game against the Cyclones this season or a showdown with former Jayhawk Charlie Moore for the right to go to the Final Four.

The Kansas region looked pretty favorable when it came out on Selection Sunday one week ago. But with the 2, 3 and 5 seeds bowing out in the first weekend, the road to New Orleans looks even prettier for Kansas now.

None of that will matter if the Jayhawks don’t play well in Chicago, but oddsmakers have make KU the clear favorite to emerge from Chicago and head to New Orleans.

One online sports book had Kansas at -150 to win the regional, with Iowa State (+500), Providence (+548) and Miami (+600) all far behind the Jayhawks.

As for the strength of the region, here’s how it compares to the seeds and KenPom.com rankings for the 16 teams still alive for this year’s national title, broken down by region.

Of note:

• The South region has two of the top three KenPom teams remaining and three of the top 11. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Midwest region includes three of the four lowest remaining KenPom teams that are still playing.

• All four teams remaining in the West region, which is the only one that played to its seeds, are in the KenPom top 18.

• While the East region does feature the lowest-ranked KenPom squad still playing in the tournament (No. 101 Saint Peter’s), the other three teams in Philadelphia are all ranked in the Top 20.

Midwest:

1 – Kansas – No. 5 KenPom

4 – Providence – No. 33 KenPom

10 – Miami (Fla.) – No. 42 KenPom

11 – Iowa State – No. 37 KenPom

West:

1 – Gonzaga – No. 1 KenPom

2 – Duke – No. 9 KenPom

3 – Texas Tech – No. 6 KenPom

4 – Arkansas – No. 18 KenPom

East:

3 – Purdue – No. 12 KenPom

4 – UCLA – No. 8 KenPom

8 – North Carolina – No. 20 KenPom

15 – Saint Peter’s – No. 101 KenPom

South:

1 – Arizona – No. 3 KenPom

2 – Villanova – No. 11 KenPom

5 – Houston – No. 2 KenPom

11 – Michigan – No. 26 KenPom

Comments

Suzi Marshall

Other than SP, the three lowest KenPom teams are in our region. We had planned to go to Chicago this weekend but we attended the San Antonio games referenced and witnessed that VCU tragedy. However, we use to live in Chicagoland and have a couple of bottles of Remy Martin Cognac Fine Champagne to hopefully celebrate with our friends.

https://winechateau.com/products/remy...

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Len Shaffer

As soon as I saw what was happening, I thought of 2011. But I take comfort in knowing that at least one thing is different about this year's team: no one seems to be as arrogant as the Morris twins, and no one will say anything as stupid as, "Y'all have had a nice run, but it's time to go home now."

I don't think this year's team will disrepect anyone or take anyone lightly. That gives me some comfort (note the word "some").

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Creg Bohrer

If we make it past Providence which I think we will. I really hope it's Iowa State and not Miami we end up playing, Miami is on fire right now.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Blake Brown

It'd be great if its Iowa State for Big Xll bragging rights.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

No, no, no, no! I would rather play Miami than Iowa State in the Elite Eight if we make it that far, and I'll tell you why:

We can always hold it over fellow conference rivals Kansas State and Oklahoma that we beat them in the 1988 NCAA Tournament - KSU to advance to the Final Four and OU to win the national championship. No matter how many times those two teams beat us going forward, we can always claim ultimate victory over them from '88.

Now let's imagine KU reaches the Elite Eight and plays Iowa State - and the ultimate nightmare comes true and Iowa State beats us and goes to the Final Four. We could beat them every game after that from now until the end of time, but Iowa State will always be able to hold it over us that they beat us in the 2022 Elite Eight. And as the world's biggest Iowa State hater and someone with a brother-in-law who is an ISU fan, nothing would grind my gears more than a KU loss to ISU in the Elite Eight.

If KU is going to miss the Final Four, I'd rather it be because we lost to PC or UM - NOT because we lost to ISU.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Stuart Swaziek

He's not wrong

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Shannon Gustafson

Shocked you'd look at it from the perspective of us losing rather than winning against whoever we play.

I'd like to see ISU because we've already played (and beat) them twice. The benefit here is that the short turnaround is not a concern when playing an opponent we're already familiar with (like ISU). So the 2-day turnaround is no longer the problem it normally is. So give us the opponent we're familiar with and have already beat twice.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Kevin Boone

Providence has proved they belong, Iowa St. is playing strong BIG12 defense, and Miami is not playing like a 10-seed. Going to be tough for the Hawks! But I will still take that over Auburn, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Andy Godwin

After watching too much NCAA basketball, I am less convinced that KU can make it to the final four yet win the national championship. Yes, you need some luck to “survive and advance”, but KU needs to play at a much higher level and Ochai Agbaji needs to play like a 1st team all-American. As Self indicated after the Creighton game, you never apologize for winning in the NCAA tournament, but in fact KU did not play well against a shorthanded team. I love listening to Jeff Gueldner on the KU basketball postgame, because is brutally honest. He could not find much to like about the game against Creighton other than KU won and Remy Martin stepped up and made some ill-advised shots. Clearly opposing teams have decided to let Harris shoot at will and thus guard KU 5 on 4. As Self also shared, he thinks KU has another level. If Martin had not provided much needed scoring, KU would be again licking their wounds and lamenting over not making it out of the first round, especially as the #1 seed. Nevertheless, it matters not the rankings of the teams ahead, because if KU does not take their game to the next level, they will again fall short of a national championship (only 1 NC - yet they have been a #1 seed 9 times under head coach Bill Self).

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Blake Brown

I've been listening to the post game shows all season long only to have difficulty in finding them during the tournament. Please tell me how you access it. Thanks.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Steve Zimmerman

Very valid points, Andy. Compared to other teams' athleticism & lengths, individual talents ball handling skills, shot creation, guts to shoot, offense sets, KU is nowhere near those (Miami, TCU, Purdue, etc.) - KU is lightyears behind. I've said this many times, coach BS has emphasized too much on X's & O's, instead of training players how to think, react, make decision in a split second. Teams that have advanced to Sweet 16 are legit, as Matt said - they've played great basketball. And we know it, too, we reached here because of Martin. But it'll take more than just him to score the basket. It'll take more than him to play smart, to deliver effective passes. I'm glad Moore's talent has shown its color, and sad at the same time that coach BS didn't see it coming. Let's hope Martin & team will give their 200% this week and prove me wrong one more time! ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Chad Smith

Only focus should be winning on Friday and then winning on Sunday. Throw out any preconceived notions about a team and play your best, make them play bad and leave it all out there. No one expected Creighton to make 12 3's and for Och to play poorly. But KU won the game.

It's a corny quote, but I always think of the Fast and Furious quote, "it doesn't matter if you win by an inch or by a mile, winning's winning."

That's how March should be treated, just have more points than the other team when the clock reads 00:00.

The team seems unified and connected and has focus and fun wrapped together nicely. I look forward to the Sweet 16! RCJH GO KU!

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Rae Bricil

setting up for the team to play extremely tight and buried under expectations which may lead to paralysis. can't wait.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Jonathan Allison

ironic and weirdly true comment.

Kansas fans are bracing for the weight of being the favorite to reach the FF and the national championship against broadly underrated opponents who are playing above their rankings.

Yet Kansas has all the makings of a legit title contender among the remaining field, and a favorable path to the FF.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

When you've been to the NCAA Tournament near continuously since 1984, missing only 1989 due to probation and 2020 due to the tournament being canceled, and you've watched the Jayhawks prolapse in games they should have won in nearly every tourney and only have two national titles to show for all those tournament appearances, some skepticism is warranted.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Kit Duncan

There are three head coaches still in the tournament with NC's, Coach K, Jay Wright and Bill Self. There are 48 coaches with at least one NC in the history of NCAA Men's basketball. Only 15 have more than one NC, Jay Wright has two, Coach K five. Of the coaches with most NCAA Tournament wins, Bill Self is Ninth. He's been pretty good as a coach in the Tournament.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Lee Short

Andy, I agree.

We've also proven to have challenges with smaller schools this year. OA and Braun simply can't be mediocre.

I agree with Coach Greg McDermott's assessment of Remy, but Remy, the overall #1 stud in the last three games clearly can't be counted on to play at such a high of a level every game. We have to get our All-American, OA, and Braun going back to their former selves. I think Jalen will continue to play at a high level. DMac is always a coin-flip.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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John Strayer

Agreed. Ochai and Braun to me are the keys. Ochai needs to play like the All-American he is getting votes for. And we need the Braun from December and January to return. Lately he just seems slow to me...don't know if its the grind of the season or what. But Braun needs to find that level again.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Jonathan Allison

The best thing about ISU making the sweet 16 is that KU doesn't have to scout all three potential opponents in the Chicago regional, and can focus on scouting Providence and Miami.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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David Morrison

Guys....we are 30-6 on the year, one of the best records in the country. Don't over-evaluate our team's strengths and weaknesses. Any of the remaining teams can get hot and take the title. Just enjoy the ride. Rock Chalk!!!

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

It's hard to enjoy the ride when the roller coaster could derail at any minute - and has a history of derailing almost every year KU has been in the tournament (1952, 1988, and 2008 being the exceptions...).

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Tim Orel

You left out 2012. That was an exceptional surprise that I'll always be proud of, even though it ended with a loss in the championship game. KU played hard, but nobody was going to beat that UK team.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

I only mentioned the teams that actually won the title. Sure, I'm proud of teams that got to the Final Four and title game, even if they didn't win it, including the 2012 runners-up.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Rodney Crain

I agree with Bryce. We have had better records and faced a hot team, and poof we were gone. Faster than you can say, "How in the world did we lose to (fill in the blank) ____________. This season I would be ok with a Final Four appearance. Heck since we are there why not stay a couple of days more and bring home some wood and fake looking gold.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Rodney Crain

Providence, says we will win!

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Jonathan Allison

I read on a Providence forum that they believe that fate is on their side.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Rodney Crain

LOL of course!!!!

I thought I would try to cover us over here!

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Dale Rogers

Let's see,

Wisconsin: Big Ten Regular Season co-champions.

Iowa State: Big 12 Regular Season - tied for 7th of ten teams.

Hmmm.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Jonathan Allison

I may be wrong but I think that the Big XII is 9-3 so far in the NCAA tourney.

what other conference has more wins?

ACC I think is 8-2 including Notre Dame's win the first four.

Big East is 5-4

B1G is 9-7 including Indiana's first four win

Big 12 going 6-0 in opening round games is impressive. More impressive considering none of those games were first four wins. Making 3 teams into the Sweet 16 is good for the conference as well. TCU and Texas both bowed out admirably, and Baylor was upset, but they have their comeback to be proud of as well as UNC had been on a crazy tear going into that #1 vs #8 matchup

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Jonathan Allison

I forgot to mention the powerful SEC at 4-5 with one out of 6 teams advancing to the sweet 16.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Bj Cassady

I dont hear much love being given to the B12 from the announcers, to the ACC yeah. We have 3 teams in the sweet 16, and Houston waiting in the wings to join the B12 is in the 16. TCU took number 1 seed Arizona to OT basically on U of A's homecourt if you heard the crowd. UT, an SEC team in my book, lost a close one. Baylor has been the only surprise in a negative note.
For KU, we have many weapons, OA, CB, RM, DMac, JWil, JCL, DH, Lightfoot are the core. The last game CB just needs to shoot more, OA needs to attack more, DMac needs to put away his Elmer Fudd imitation, JWil just do what he does best, DH attack and dish, JCL if open take it. RCJH.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Lee Sears

I have been rooting for the Big 12 all through the tourney, but I really don't wish to play Iowa State again. I think it's a toss up who would be easier to beat. Miami beat an Auburn team that was not playing their best basketball. We have survived 2 games in the tournament without our starters playing well. I would like to think Och, Braun, and Wilson will have a better game Friday, and hopefully Sunday.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Shannon Gustafson

We should hope for the team we've already scouted and beat twice. There is minimal time to scout and game plan Elite 8 games so that's a HUGE advantage we should hope for.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Lonnie Ross Dillon

Beating the same team 3 times is always tough (Ask Oklahoma about 1988). ISU was a top 10 team until conference play derailed them. They are playing well and motivated to beat us if given the opportunity. I'd much rather play Miami because they don't know us as well.

All this presumes getting past Providence which I do not take for granted.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Shannon Gustafson

Ken Pomeroy looked into this and found that historically, when teams play 3 times and one team wins the first two, it wins the 3rd the vast majority of the time as well. In other words, he dispelled this as a myth. So while it doesn't ensure an easy win (anything can happen), it's no harder statistically to win the 3rd time.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Dirk Medema

Len - I remember a quote from the morrii about hearing fromCoach that they need to play better, and agreeing with him, but immediately switched to talking about their O. They never really got it. This team has bought in. It was like a mini-Coach when Remy talked over and over again about “the little things”.

I think it was Beard that commented after the Sr Game that you need 3 studs to step up this time of year and they only had 2. Opposing teams are going to game plan around taking away something. They will over commit to stopping Ochai because it’s obvious that he can destroy them. The beauty of this team is that there are other players that can step up. Remy is fully capable of continuing to do what he’s been if they emphasize over defending the others. They dared JCL to shoot as well as Harris. They both need confidence to take the wide open shot and make them pay. Remy definitely doesn’t lack the confidence and has proven for years he’s capable.

Ochai stepped up once Creighton started defending 5. In some ways it wasn’t different than Benedict down the stretch for zona against TCU, or Timme against Memphis. Focus on him and we have 3 or 4 others that can DD you.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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David Robinett

The way you lose to low ranked teams is to let them shoot threes. I don’t understand why we can never guard threes this year or any decade. Just don’t collapse!! Stay on your man. FYI giving up 2 is better than giving up 3.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Robert Brock

I hope KU beats Providence and faces Miami. The ‘Canes have Charlie Moore - which means the Benny Hill music will be playing.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Jonathan Allison

I wouldn't be surprised if he finds a way to play for Iowa State before Friday

8 months, 3 weeks ago

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