After falling in the semifinals of the Big 12 Championship in Kansas City, this past weekend, the Kansas Jayhawks waived goodbye to a potential number one seed in the NCAA Tournament. In fact, in some projections the almost certain two seed could possibly become a three.
At 24-9, Kansas benefits from having arguably the toughest schedule in the country this season and with an RPI ranking consistently in the top two, it's no surprise that a three wins in Kansas City could have still led to landing the final top seed in the 68-team field. Now, the focus will be just getting better, as they gave up 94 points and 54 percent shooting in Friday night's loss to Iowa State.
"We're not going to be a 1. So I'm going to tell you, it's definitely better since we're not going to be a 1. So we played a really good schedule and that kind of stuff and who knows if we'll be a 2. I mean, who knows how the other games will play out. And we're not going to be disappointed with whatever happens," head coach Bill Self said. "But certainly, I don't know if there's any magical thing right now that we'll definitely be this in this region or anything like that. Because right now, I really don't know."
Wherever the Jayhawks land, they'll know that the defense must improve, whether or not freshman center Joel Embiid returns after missing time with a stress fracture in his back. In Thursday's overtime win over Oklahoma State, Kansas was able to win by holding the Cowboys to just three points in the extra session. Against the Cyclones, KU watched Iowa State get whatever they wanted whenever they wanted and without the ability to get the almost customary stop, it was ballgame and back to the drawing board with the knowledge that their next loss will be their last.
Kansas will learn of its tournament fate Sunday night when the brackets are announced and then it'll be back to work to try and piece together another run. Should they be selected as a two seed, there's recent history of success coming from that seed. In 20003 and as recently as 2012, the Jayhawks rode a two seed to the Final Four and in the case of 2012, reached the National Championship Game before falling to Kentucky.