RESULTS| STATS| HISTORY | MESSAGE BOARD | KANSAS INSIDER
RECORD: - REGION: St. Louis SEED: 4|
COACH: Bill Self CONFERENCE: Big 12
Road to the Final Four ...................................................................................
|REGULAR SEASON STATISTICS
TO THIS POINT
How They Got Here: At-Large Bid
No one in the tournament has had the road break in front of them quite like the Jayhawks. Kansas and Wake Forest are the only teams that have advanced playing only double-digit seeds. And the Jayhawks got to do it in Kansas City.
Now Kansas merely has to move over to St. Louis and gets a No. 9 seed in UAB. Getting to the Final Four for a third straight year wouldn't even require beating a No. 1 or No. 2 seed with both Kentucky and Gonzaga gone. No. 3 Georgia Tech is the region's highest seed.
The Jayhawks were just physically so much better than Illinois-Chicago in the opening round and put the game away for good midway through the second half. Bill Self was able to sit his starters during the irrelevant final five minutes. That seemed to help the depth-challenged Jayhawks, who also wore down Pacific on Sunday en route to another comfortable victory.
Now in the Sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive season despite a regular season that uncharacteristically had more speed bumps than a mall parking lot, Kansas meets the high-scoring and free-wheeling Blazers. Plenty of pressure will be on point guard Aaron Miles, both literally and figuratively. He'll be faced with breaking down UAB's full-court defense and handling the Blazers small, but quick guards. It's a classic contrast in styles, but Kansas big man Wayne Simien remains the best player on the floor which can often be the difference in these matchups.
Entering the Dance, the Jayhawks won at least 20 games for the 15th straight season, but couldn't seem to solve Texas in the regular season or Big 12 semifinal loss. Bill Self's first season in Lawrence has seen mixed results, but only because expectations are so high after back-to-back Final Fours under Mr. Williams. The Jayhawks were ranked No. 1 back in early December, but lost to Stanford by six. Losses to Nevada and Richmond proved better than first thought. Oh, and they did beat Michigan State by seven, as well as win 12 conference games ... each of which proves Kansas has the talent, albeit younger than last year's senior-laden squad, to get to San Antonio.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Wayne Simien | F | Junior
Wayne Simien is a bruising forward who gets the job done around the rim. Simien, the Jayhawks' leading scorer and rebounder, combines a good shooting touch with a ferocious attitude on the boards. He's also a good post defender and can pass well for a big man. The Jayhawks need more days like his 31-point performance in the Big 12 quarters against Mizzou to advance very far.