On the road to San Antonio — and then Houston — in this region, it’s Kansas and everybody else.
The Jayhawks headline a 16-team field that includes three squads from the Big East (Notre Dame, Louisville and Georgetown), an Atlantic 10 tournament champion many believe is grossly underseeded (No. 12 Richmond) and perhaps the most dangerous No. 3 seed in the entire tournament (Purdue). Let’s take a look through the Southwest.
Final Four Contenders
No. 1 Kansas
Bill Self’s squad is arguably the most well rounded team in America. Led by the Morris twins’ combined per game averages of 31 points, 15 rebounds and three assists, the Jayhawks get significant minutes from 10 players and are a difficult matchup for any team in the bracket.
No. 2 Notre Dame
Recent NCAA flops aside, the Fighting Irish have been an offensive machine all season, led by Big East player of the year Ben Hansbrough. There is no post presence to write home about, but Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis head a versatile attack that can play at any pace.
No. 12 Richmond
It was a shock that the Spiders got tabbed as a No. 12 seed after winning the A-10 tournament and never being in doubt for an at-large bid. But Richmond gets a very vulnerable No. 5 seed in Vanderbilt, and potentially taking on fourth-seeded Louisville for a trip to the Sweet 16 is doable.
Player to Watch
Forward/center Kenneth Faried, Morehead State
Averages of 17.6 points and 14.5 rebounds in the Ohio Valley Conference are probably inflated stats, but the Eagles have a dominant post player to lean on against Louisville and perhaps beyond. Remember Saint Mary’s Omar Samhan last year?