Kansas Jayhawks: Should They be a No. 1 Seed


Here we will break down the resume of the current ESPN number one seeds for the NCAA Tournament. How do the Jayhawks measure up, and where should they be seeded today in regard to their current resume?

The Kansas Jayhawks are playing like a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament, but they aren’t getting the love from national Bracketologists.

They were about a week ago from some, but a close road loss at Oklahoma State knocked them off the top line. Funny thing is, a lot of top teams would leave Stillwater with a loss — in fact three ranked teams have this year.

If the RPI is any indication of where the Jayhawks will end up, and it certainly isn’t the only deciding factor, a number one seed would be a lock.

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Kansas currently sits at number one on the RPI list, and while it has to do with a gaudy 21-4 record, the top ranking is mainly due to the fact the team has played the hardest schedule of anyone in the country.

In fact, the Jayhawks are the only team in the nation to not play a team with a 200-plus RPI ranking. The worst squad head coach Bill Self and his assistants put on the schedule is Lafayette (157).

To compare, No.2 Kentucky has played six teams worse than Lafayatte, and two (Grand Canyon and Montana State), ranked in the 200s and 300s respectively.

Of course the Wildcats have won all their games, and knocked off the Jayhawks by 32 early in the season, but they also have not been tested as much as Kansas.

The Jayhawks have beaten the most top-30 RPI teams (7), and are tied for second behind Kentucky (10), in top-100 wins with nine.

In other words, Kansas has done extremely well with the toughest schedule in the country. If they only drop one or two more games, depending on what some other top teams do, they will make a strong case for a number one seed.

Let’s see how they compare with the consensus current top NCAA Tournament seeds.


Record: 21-4

RPI Ranking: 1

RPI Top-50 wins: 9

RPI Top-150 wins: 3

RPI Top-50 losses: 4

RPI Top-150 losses: 0

Best RPI win: Neutral vs. Utah (9)

Worst RPI loss: @ Temple (33)


Record: 25-0

RPI Ranking: 2

RPI Top-50 wins: 10

RPI Top-150 wins: 7

RPI Top-50 losses: 0

RPI Top-150 losses: 0

Best RPI win: Neutral vs. Kansas (1)

Worst RPI loss: N/A

Summary: No matter how pro-Jayhawk you are, there is no denying the Wildcats deserve the overall number on seed at this point. They haven’t lost, have the most top-50 wins, and we all know what happened in Indianapolis against Kansas. Their only “negative” would be the high amount of Top-150 wins, which is second among these teams. But, let’s be honest, it’s a little bit of a reach to call that negative.


Record: 23-1

RPI Ranking: 1

RPI Top-50 wins: 7

RPI Top-150 wins: 5

RPI Top-50 losses: 1

RPI Top-150 losses: 0

Best RPI win: @ North Carolina (10)

Worst RPI loss: Duke (5)

Summary: The Cavaliers are an interesting case. While they have a home loss, they have about as strong of a resume as anyone. Their one loss was to Duke, they have no Top-150 losses, and they have seven wins in the Top-50 — not to mention the nation’s stingiest defense. What they don’t have, at least for the foreseeable future, is their best player. Justin Anderson, who was lost for 4-6 weeks with an broken finger, was the catalyst of Tony Bennett’s squad.  He is second on the team in scoring (13.4), fourth in rebounding (4.8), and among the nation’s leaders in 3-point percentage (.480). His defense also is a big reason the Cavs are ranked so high. While an injury is nothing someone should ever root for, UVA’s loss could be the Jayhawks’ gain.


Record: 26-1 (1-0 vs. Non-D-I)

RPI Ranking: 8

RPI Top-50 wins: 4

RPI Top-150 wins: 12

RPI Top-50 losses: 1

RPI Top-150 losses: 0

Best RPI win: SMU (22)

Worst RPI loss: @ Arizona (7)

Summary: The Zags are the most curious of the bunch, as it seems like their overall record is mainly carrying them to the top of the seed line. They have the lowest RPI (8) of the bunch, are the only team with a Non-D-I victory, have the fewest Top-50 wins, and the most Top-150 wins. That’s not to say the Bulldogs aren’t necessarily deserving to be talked about at the top line. However, after their home victory against SMU, their next best RPI win was on a neutral court against Georgia (30). Maybe they have as much talent as the other top teams, but it’s hard to tell with their current resume. Playing in the West Coast Conference won’t do them any favors. The only way they can prove doubters wrong is by winning in the Big Dance.


Record: 22-3

RPI Ranking: 5

RPI Top-50 wins: 9

RPI Top-150 wins: 5

RPI Top-50 losses: 2

RPI Top-150 losses: 0

Best RPI win: @ Virginia (3)

Worst RPI loss: Miami (62)

Summary: The words “top seed” and Duke seem to be synonymous, and 2015 is no different. However, the Blue Devils have a few blips on the radar. Despite a very solid resume, they only sit third in the ACC with three conference losses. They also have a curious 16-point home loss to Miami on their record. Although, they have seemed to recover since, going 8-1 with only a road loss at Notre Dame (not to mention they blew out the Irish by 30 in a home rematch Feb. 7). Another questionable loss or two will drop Duke from the top line, but their Top-50 wins match Kansas, and their eighth-ranked strength of schedule will be a big factor in determining their final seed.

As you can tell it’s usually hard to differentiate number one and two seeds, and this year is no different. After Kentucky, any of these teams could make a case for the top line.

Personally, as the RPI shows, I think the Jayhawks are the next deserving team behind the Wildcats. Of course things could change even after tonight as they travel to Morgantown to take on West Virginia. But, the Mountaineers are no slouch, as they sport an RPI ranking of 28.

The Jayhawks won’t have it much easier down the home stretch as their final six games average out to a 54 RPI ranking — 39.8 if you remove the outlier TCU (129).

Sure, Kansas could lose some games it shouldn’t along the way, but it seems as of now they make a case for a number one seed. Below is how they rank in each category discussed in this article between the five teams mentioned.

Record: Fifth

RPI Ranking: First

RPI Top-50 wins: (t)Second

RPI Top-150 wins: First

RPI Top-50 losses: Fifth

RPI Top-150 losses: (t)First

Best RPI win: Third

Worst RPI loss: Fourth

The only thing hurting them here is overall record, but when you play the toghuest schedule (and your opponents’ schedule is ranked second), some losses are bound to happen.

As always, the NCAA Tournament will trump what RPI ranking, or even seed, a team has, but for now, the Jayhawks are making a case for their seventh No. 1 seed in the past 14 seasons.

NOTE: All RPI rankings as of Feb. 16, 2015

Next: Kansas Jayhawks: Naming the All-Bill Self KU Teams

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