Three things about KU’s first-round opponent
No. 1 seed Kansas will open the NCAA Tournament against No. 16 seed Austin Peay around 3 p.m. Thursday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa. Here are three things about the Governors:
▪ 1. Austin Peay finished 18-17 overall and actually finished the season on a six-game winning streak. That included four games in the Ohio Valley Tournament, where the eighth-seeded Governors defeated Tennessee-Martin, 83-73, in the championship game on March 5.
▪ 2. The Governors’ strength is inside, where they rank top 75 in two-point percentage and also are one of the nation’s best at getting to the free-throw line. One player to watch for Austin Peay is 6-foot-9 forward Chris Horton, who averages 18.9 points and 12.1 rebounds. He also is a strong shot-blocker and draws fouls at an elite level.
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▪ 3. Austin Peay is coached by Dave Loos, the father of MU assistant coach Brad Loos. Both Austin Peay and Mizzou dedicated their season to Brad Loos’ daughter Rhyan, who is battling cancer.
Three things about Kansas’ potential round of 32 opponents
No. 8 seed Colorado and No. 9 Connecticut open Thursday’s first-round play in Des Moines with a 12:30 p.m. tipoff on TNT.
No. 8 Colorado
▪ 1. The Buffaloes are 22-11 under coach Tad Boyle, who played at KU for Larry Brown at KU from 1981-85.
▪ 2. Colorado’s strength is defensively, especially with rebounds and interior defense.
▪ 3. Six-foot-10 forward Josh Scott leads the Buffaloes, averaging 16.1 points and 8.7 rebounds.
No. 9 Connecticut
▪ 1. The Huskies, 24-10, enter as one of the hottest teams following a three-game run to the American Athletic Conference Tournament championship, which included a 104-97 four-overtime victory over Cincinnati in the quarterfinals.
▪ 2. UConn has strong interior players, posting the nation’s fifth-best two-point percentage defense while ranking 17th in block percentage.
▪ 3. The Huskies, who don’t get to the free-throw line often, are successful when they get there, ranking No. 1 nationally in free-throw shooting at 79 percent.