Kansas Jayhawks: Breaking Down the Latest Bracketology Update


The Kansas Jayhawks have split their past six games after a 19-3 start, but still remain a two seed in ESPN’s latest Bracketology update.

By now we are all smart enough to understand that these are only predictions and carry no weight in the actual seedings, but the professionals who do this rarely miss on top seeds.

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At 22-6 (11-4 in the Big 12 Conference), the Jayhawks are in the South Region that includes: Duke (1), Utah (3), Northern Iowa (4), West Virginia (5), and Michigan St. (7).

The Jayhawks have either recent regular season or NCAA Tournament history with each of these schools.

While this set-up would avoid Kentucky until the championship game, it also could bring back some bad memories.

Start with Duke who has beaten the Jayhawks in the second round, semi-finals, and the championship round of the tournament. This year’s squad features the best freshman (and maybe best player) in the country in Jahlil Okafor. It would be a great Elite Eight battle of Blue Bloods should it happen.

Utah is a team that would love to knock off the Jayhawks after losing to them by one point December 13 in Kansas City. The Utes completey erased a 21-point deficit, before relinquishing the lead late, and fell, 63-60.

This is a team that Kansas would not like to meet again in the tournament, but, under this scenario, could in the Sweet 16.

The Jayhawks have also battled West Virginia this season, losing by one point earlier this month in Morgantown. The Mountaineers have to travel to Lawrence Tuesday for the rematch.

Good thing for West Virginia it’s not a Big Monday game, as the Jayhawks have never lost at home during the made up ESPN side show to attract viewers that gives the teams only one day of rest in between games.

The third team in the projected bracket that the Jayhawks have played this season is Michigan St.

The Spartans would be a second round opponent for the Jayhawks should both teams survive the opening round.

When the two met November 30 on a neutral site, it was anything but pretty as Kansas escaped with a 61-56 victory.

At 19-8 the Spartans are having a “down year,” but watching Tom Izzo pace back in forth in front of the opposing bench in the second round would have to make more than a few Jayhawk fans nervous.

This brings us up to Northern Iowa.

Those two words together will make any self-respecting Jayhawk cringe, after a devastating, second round loss to the Panthers in the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

It feels gross even giving you a link to click on and reference the game. Yet, let it be a reminder that anything can happen in the tournament, including possibly exacting some revenge on the Mid-Major team in the Elite Eight should they upend Duke in the Sweet 16.

Don’t think they can’t.

The Panthers are ranked 10th in the country with a 27-2 record, and could be as tough a four seed as there is out there. They may not have been battled tested with a fairly soft schedule, but they did hand Wichita St. a 16-point loss back in January.

Don’t forget Duke has lost in the first round two of the past three seasons, lending credence to the fact that anything can happen.

What will happen for sure is that the bracket will not look exactly like this come Selection Sunday 17 days from now.

But, if it’s anything close, the Jayhawks could have some great story lines on the way to Final Four number 15.

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