Breaking down the West Region: What to expect for KU

FILE: Kansas forward Jalen Wilson celebrates at the end of the team's 67-63 win over Texas Tech...
FILE: Kansas forward Jalen Wilson celebrates at the end of the team's 67-63 win over Texas Tech in an NCAA college basketball game in Lawrence, Kan., Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann(Reed Hoffmann | AP)
Published: Mar. 12, 2023 at 9:31 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The NCAA Selection Committee revealed the bracket for this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on Sunday. The Kansas Jayhawks were given the No. 1 seed in the West region.

At first glance, the Jayhawks appear to have been unlucky with their draw. Despite an NCAA record 17 wins against Quad 1 opponents, the Jayhawks were not given the Midwest regional assignment. Instead, they get a potential trip to Las Vegas if they can make it to the Sweet 16.

Kansas takes on Howard in the 1-16 matchup. That game will tip-off at 1 p.m. CT on Thursday in Des Moines. The Jayhawks are early 21.5-point favorites according to DraftKings.

If the Jayhawks get past the Bison, they’ll play either Arkansas or Illinois.

Deck stacked in Vegas:

The West Region features five of the top 11 teams in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency metrics. UCLA, which earned the No. 2 seed, won the Pac-12 regular season crown by four games over the rest of its league. No. 3 Gonzaga and No. 5 Saint Mary’s shared the WCC regular season crown.

KenPom’s advanced numbers have the Jayhawks as the fourth-most-likely squad to make the Final Four out of the West.

Other Big 12 teams:

Along with the Jayhawks is 6 seed TCU. The Jayhawks and Horned Frogs split their season series, with each group winning on the road.

Players to Watch:

  • Kansas forward Jalen Wilson: Wilson was the Big 12 Player of the Year after averaging 20 points and more than 8 rebounds per game this season. He was the leading returning scorer for the Jayhawks off of last year’s national championship-winning team.
  • UCLA forward Jaime Jaquez Jr.: The Pac-12 Player of the Year, Jaquez helped the Bruins win their conference regular season title by four games over the Arizona Wildcats. Jaquez was a part of a UCLA team that made the Final Four in 2021 when the Bruins were an 11 seed.
  • Gonzaga forward Drew Timme: Timme became the Bulldogs’ all-time leading scorer during the WCC Tournament final when the Zags defeated Saint Mary’s.