Kansas’ 85-82 loss in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals sent shockwaves throughout college basketball. But will it impact the Jayhawks’ position as a likely No. 1 seed on the NCAA Tournament bracket?
The guess is no.
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Kansas had established a powerful enough resume after the regular season.
The Jayhawks won the nation’s top-rated conference by four games, entered the day with the nation’s top RPI and were likely to drop not more than a spot or two after Thursday’s loss at the Sprint Center.
Their 5-1 record against the nation’s top 25 RPI teams is the best, although the loss means KU won’t have the opportunity to add to that total.
Still, Kansas, with a 28-4 record, should be in good shape for a No. 1 seed when the 68-team field is revealed on Sunday.
That comes with a possible big reward for KU: a chance to return to Kansas City. Sprint Center is the site of the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinals and finals for the first time.
If Kansas remains in the Midwest Region, the Jayhawks likely first- and second-round destination is Tulsa, Okla. Win two games there, and the Jayhawks return to Kansas City.
The other No. 1-seed favorites are Villanova, North Carolina and Gonzaga.
But even if Kansas fell to a No. 2 seed, it could remain in the Midwest Region with the same path. In 2007, the Jayhawks were the No. 1 seed in the West Region, won two games and advanced to San Jose, Calif. Also there was the No. 2 seed, UCLA. The Bruins defeated KU for the regional title.