The Kansas Jayhawks’ body of work speaks for itself.
Forget what the Jayhawks do this week in the Big 12 Gauntlet, make that Tournament. By winning their 12th straight Big 12 regular-season title and playing among the toughest schedules in the country, they should have a No. 1 seed locked up on Selection Sunday.
Of course, if the Jayhawks would happen to lose in the first round to Kansas State or Oklahoma State on Thursday and other things happen in the various postseason tournaments, KU could fall to a No. 2 seed. But I highly doubt it considering its pedigree and how hot it ended the season. A loss this week to say West Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas or Iowa State in Kansas City shouldn’t be held against it.
Bill Self has told his KU team that it needs to approach this week as if it’s a tiebreaker. Of course, he would like to see his team win three tough games to validate its championship. But doing that is as much a hinderance as it is a help.
If KU does win, that means it will have exhausted a lot of energy heading into either Thursday or Friday of next week, depending on its draw. A No. 1 seed has never lost an NCAA first-round game, but given the parity of college basketball this season don’t be surprised if a No. 14 or 15 seed wins a game or two.
That’s the thing about college basketball this season as there’s no super power like Kentucky. Well there is as the Wildcats will be in the tourney, but it’s not the usual starting five of NBA draftees. Once you get past point guard Tyus Ulis, the other Wildcats are not lottery picks.
We could easily have a Final Four that’s void of No. 1 seeds, that’s how wide open the tournament is. The Big 12 could have two or three teams, or none at all. I believe Oklahoma and Iowa State are capable of making a deep run along with the Jayhawks. OU’s Buddy Hield may be college’s Player of the Year, while Iowa State’s style can give teams fits. If the Cyclones were only a little deeper, I could see them at least in the Elite Eight.
And to think, OU and Iowa State are meeting in the conference QUARTERFINALS! That’s a marquee matchup anywhere and their matching styles makes for a delightful game to watch.
Getting back to the Big 12 Tournament, I don’t believe Kansas will win it. I’m going with the Oklahoma-Iowa State winner, with the nod to OU.