Breaking Down KU and K-State's Bracket With The Experts

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The University of Kansas earned the 1-seed in the South region and the #2 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks will face 16-seed Western Kentucky in the 2nd round of the draw, the game will be played at 9pm at the Sprint Center. Former KU coach Roy Williams and North Carolina are the 8-seed in the South Region and could await Kansas in the round of 32 if the Tarheels get past Villanova. If Kansas advances to the Sweet 16, the Hawks will play in the South Regional in Arlington Texas at Cowboys Stadium.

Kansas State earned games in Kansas City, but the Wildcats were not awarded a 3-seed or the South or Mid-West Regions. K-State, the 4-seed in the West bracket will face the winner of LaSalle and Boise State in the round of 64 at 3 pm on Friday at the Sprint Center. If the Wildcats advance to the Sweet 16, they could face 5-seed Wisconsin in Los Angeles. The Badgers knocked KSU out of the tournament in 2008 and 2011. At least one former Wildcat was unhappy with that potential match-up. Jamar Samuels ‏tweeted: "Come on man stop putting Wisconsin in our bracket."

The NCAA Tournament opens on Thursday on CBS, TNT, TBS and TruTV. The Final Four is April 6-8 in Atlanta, GA.

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KU Release:

No. 1 Seed Kansas Opens NCAAs against W. Kentucky

LAWRENCE, Kan. – On the cusp of claiming the 2013 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship title and earning its ninth-straight Big 12 Conference regular-season championship, No. 7/6-ranked Kansas was tabbed as the No. 1 seed in the South Region of the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and the second seed overall, as determined by the tournament selection committee Sunday. The Jayhawks will be making their 24th-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, the longest-current streak in the nation, and will take on Sun Belt Conference Tournament champion Western Kentucky Friday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

The Jayhawks, the 2012 national runners-up, are making their 42nd NCAA Tournament appearance and are a No. 1 seed for the 11th time since seeding began in 1979. The Jayhawks were a No. 1 seed in 1986, 1992, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013.

Kansas boasts a 29-5 record this season under head coach Bill Self, including a league-best 14-4 mark in the Big 12 Conference. KU has won 10 of its last 11 games.

The Jayhawks are led by four seniors and freshman Ben McLemore. Two-time Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Year and the 2013 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship Most Outstanding Player Jeff Withey and McLemore each received first team all-league honors. McLemore leads the squad with 16.4 points per game, while Withey is posting 13.6 points per game and 8.4 rebounds per contest. KU’s all-time leading shot blocker also has 129 swats this season to rank No. 3 nationally. Seniors Travis Releford (11.5 ppg.), Elijah Johnson (10.1 ppg.) and Kevin Young (7.6 ppg.) round out the starting five for KU. Johnson owns a team-best 163 assists, while Releford leads the team with 42 steals.

Western Kentucky entered the Sun Belt Conference Tournament as the No. 6 seed, after posting a 20-15 overall record and a 10-10 mark in league play, but claimed its second-straight league tournament title. This will mark the 23rd NCAA Tournament appearance for the Hilltoppers, including four in the last six seasons. WKU has also posted four combined NCAA Tournament wins in its last three appearances with at least one win each trip.

WKU sophomore guard T.J. Price, a 2013 Second Team All-Sun Belt selection, leads the Hilltoppers in scoring with 15.3 points per game and 79 made three-pointers. George Fant (12.9) and Jamal Crook (12.0) also average double-digit points for Western Kentucky, which averages 67.2 points per game as a team.

KU and WKU have met four previous times, twice in the NCAA Tournament. Kansas owns a 3-1 all-time series record against the Hilltoppers including a 75-62 victory in Allen Fieldhouse in the Preseason NIT to open the 1997-98 season. The Jayhawks also defeated WKU, 75-70, in Dayton, Ohio at the 1995 NCAA Midwest Regional. WKU claimed a 77-75 win in the 1971 NCAA Consolation game, while KU won the first game in the series, 104-81, during the 1969-70 season in Lawrence.

The winner of the Kansas-Western Kentucky game will face the victor of the No. 8 North Carolina – No. 9 Villanova contest on Sunday.

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K-State release:

K-State Earns 27th NCAA Tournament Bid

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Big 12 regular season champion Kansas State was rewarded for its successful 2012-13 season on Sunday night, as the Wildcats earned their 27th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and their fifth in the last six seasons by receiving an at-large bid to the tournament.

No. 11/12 Kansas State (27-7, 14-4 Big 12) was selected as a No. 4 seed in the West Regional and will travel to Kansas City, Mo., to play the winner of the 13-seed play-in game between Boise State (21-10) and La Salle (21-9) on Friday, March 22 at the Sprint Center. The winner will advance to play either No. 5 seed Wisconsin (23-11) and No. 12 seed Ole Miss (26-8) on Sunday, March 24. The Wildcats will be joined at the venue by No. 1 seed Kansas, No. 8 seed North Carolina, No. 9 Villanova and No. 16 seed Western Kentucky of the South Regional. The top seeds in the West Regional are No. 1 seed Gonzaga, No. 2 seed Ohio State and No. 3 New Mexico.

Times and television information will be released at a later time.

The school will be playing an NCAA Tournament game in Kansas City for the ninth time in its history, which includes Final Four appearances in 1948, 1951 and 1964. It will be the first since playing in the Final Four against UCLA and Michigan at Municipal Auditorium on March 20-21, 1964.

K-State's ticket allotment has been sold out through pre-orders by season ticket holders and Ahearn Fund members. There may be a priority point cut-off for order fulfillment. Fans who pre-ordered tickets will be contacted as soon as possible regarding the status of their order and pick-up times and locations.

Kansas State is making its 34th postseason appearance, which includes 27 in the NCAA Tournament and seven in the Postseason NIT. It extends its school-record streak of consecutive postseason appearances to seven, while it ties the school mark for consecutive NCAA Tournament bid to four. The five trips to the NCAA Tournaments in the last six years is the best stretch in school history. Seniors Jordan Henriquez, Martavious Irving and Rodney McGruder are just the second senior class to reach four consecutive NCAA Tournaments, tying the mark set by the 1989-90 class. The trio is already the winningest senior class in school history with 101 wins.

Last season, the Wildcats went 1-1 in the NCAA East Regional at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa., knocking off No. 9 seed Southern Miss, 70-64, in the second round before losing to top-seed Syracuse, 75-59, in the third round. K-State has a 6-4 NCAA Tournament mark in its last four appearances.

The program has posted a 33-30 all-time record in NCAA Tournament play, including a 6-3 mark in second round games. The school will be making its sixth appearance in the West Regional with its other trips coming in 1948, 1951, 1981, 1987 and 2010 and is 11-7 all-time in the region. K-State will be making its second appearance as a No. 4 seed and the first since making a run to the Elite Eight in 1987-88. Overall, the school is 3-1 as a No. 4 seed.

In K-State’s 26 previous NCAA Tournament appearances, the Wildcats have advanced to the Sweet 16 a total of 16 times. The program has also reached the Elite Eight 11 times, made four Final Four appearances and played in one National Championship game (1951).

Head coach Bruce Weber becomes the ninth different coach to lead Kansas State to an NCAA Tournament appearance, including third first-year coach (Lon Kruger and Frank Martin). Overall, Weber advances to his ninth NCAA Tournament as a head coach, which includes six at Illinois and two at Southern Illinois. He is 41st head coach in NCAA history to take three different schools to the tournament, including the 21st active coach. He has an 11-8 overall record in the NCAA Tournament with three trips to the Sweet 16 and the 2005 Final Four.

Boise State enters Wednesday’s play-in game with a 21-10 overall record, which includes a tie for fourth-place in the Mountain West with a 9-7 mark. The team is led by longtime Gonzaga assistant and third-year head coach Leon Rice, who is the first head coach in school history to win 20 games in two of his first three seasons. The Broncos will be making their sixth appearance in the NCAA Tournament, including the first time since 2008. The squad is led by the sophomore duo of Anthony Drmic (17.3 ppg.) and Derrick Marks (16.3 ppg.), who were both named second team All-Mountain West. Drmic led the league in scoring (18.8 ppg.) in conference-only games.

La Salle has a 21-9 overall record heading into Wednesday’s play-in game and finished in a three-way tie for third in the Atlantic 10 with an 11-5 mark. The team is led by one of the few head coaches with a Ph.D. in Division I basketball in Dr. John Giannini, who has a 140-137 record in his ninth season. The Explorers will be making their 12th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, including the first since 1992 and the first under Giannini. The team has four players averaging in double figures led by senior Ramon Galloway (17.0 ppg.), who became just the third player to be named first team All-Atlantic 10 and the first since 2006. Junior Tyreek Duren also earned second team honors from the Atlantic 10 after averaging 15.0 points per game.

K-State has never faced Boise State on the hardwood, while it has played La Salle three times, including a match-up in the 1988 Midwest Regional First Round in South Bend, Ind. The Wildcats are 3-0 against the Explorers, including a 66-53 win on March 17, 1988 in the NCAA Tournament. The school is 28-18 against Mountain West schools, including a 4-3 mark in neutral site games, while it is 21-18 vs. the Atlantic 10, including 4-6 on neutral courts.

K-State was one of five Big 12 teams to earn berths in NCAA Tournament, joining No. 1 seed Kansas (South), No. 5 seed Oklahoma State (Midwest), No. 10 seed Iowa State (West) and No. 10 seed Oklahoma (South) in the field. The Wildcats also faced three other squads that advanced to the NCAA Tournament, including No. 1 seed Gonzaga (West), No. 3 seed Florida (South) and No. 4 seed Michigan (South).

In addition, all three Division I programs in the state of Kansas (Kansas, Kansas State and Wichita State) all advanced to the NCAA Tournament for second consecutive season. The Jayhawks are a No. 1 seed in the South Region, while the Shockers (26-8) are the No. 9 seed in the West Region.

K-State Selection Show Quotes
Head Coach Bruce Weber
On K-State’s tournament draw …
“Playing on Friday gives us another day to rest, get treatment and relax because that was a rough grind to play three nights in a row where we were tested every game and it took a toll on our guys. The extra day was our No. 1 wish, and our No. 2 wish was to be in Kansas City and I hope we have some extra people there. But with the draw, you do not know. To be honest, I have never done this before (with the play-in game). With Boise State, you heard that they were a strong bubble team and obviously, they got in. With La Salle, we actually saw them on tape earlier in the year. They played George Washington on one of the tapes that we saw. They are talented and that whole league is talented and we saw that their league got a lot of respect with Saint Louis getting a four seed and VCU as a five seed. After that, I know Bo (Ryan) really well. We played against Wisconsin many, many times. They had a big struggle to begin the season but they made a push in their conference tournament where they played really well. Ole Miss, led by Andy Kennedy – one of coach (Bob) Huggins’ old assistants – has done a great job this year. They had some ups and downs but they had a big push and won the SEC Tournament, so they are very, very talented. But we just have to worry about winning on Friday and then see what happens after that, but we will prepare for four teams, instead of three, but we will be ready for all four.”

On the advantage of facing Wisconsin while coaching at Illinois…
“If we get to play Wisconsin, I guess so. I know them. We have played Bo a lot, so at least it is not somebody that you do not know anything about. You saw it today, they play very disciplined basketball and you have to be able to guard them and deal with their style of play. You cannot compare scores or leagues; it is who is playing well at the right time and who is doing things well at the end of the league.”

On playing in Kansas City...

“I talked to Wyatt (Thompson) after the game on the radio and I said that my wish was to be in Kansas City. It is a great opportunity for our fans and our families to be close. But to have this extra day is big. We will take today off. Tomorrow, we will have weights, shooting and really get after it on Tuesday and Wednesday. The negative part is you do not know which team you have to prepare for. There are four different styles so that will have to be a quick turnaround on Wednesday and Thursday to get ready for them. But those teams are not going to be able to focus on us, either because they are trying to win a game before anything else happens.”

On the difference between a 3-seed and 4-seed…

“I do not think there is a whole lot of difference. The biggest thing was to be close to home for these first two games. But it happens all the time, where a 12-seed beats a 5-seed. I have been there before where I was beaten as the fifth seed. But you just have to worry about yourself and winning games. If you worry about all these things and listen to the guys on TV, it will drive you crazy. You just have to come play good basketball at the end of the year. I did not know how our guys would respond after the grind of league play but I was really pleased about how focused they were against Texas, Oklahoma State and even yesterday. Kansas just matches up to us and they take away our strengths. If we make a couple shots, get a couple bounces and even get a couple more calls, it would have been a little bit closer of a game. But I like our focus and hearing their comments today, they are excited and I think they will come out focused on Friday.”

On K-State’s success in his first year …
“We always talk about championships and when I first got here, that is what we talked about; winning a championship. We talked about trying to beat the best and that is Kansas. We won the championship but we did not beat the best, but it has been very rewarding. It has been a great year. It has been a blast and it has gone very fast. If you think about it, we have been going since August, with the Brazil trip and the guys have stayed the course and they have been very, very consistent.”

On the quick turnaround of the NCAA Tournament…
“That is why we did the Saturday-Monday play where we had the three-weekend stretch in February and that really helped to prepare us. We had to deal with a home-away, an away-home, and a home-home, so it gave us that experience which is important. Playing in the Sprint Center, being comfortable with that does not mean anything. You have to go out and play and that is the most important thing. We had great preparation. We played a tough non-conference schedule, we played some tough conference teams and we did some things in the Big 12 Tournament. We just hope those things will lead to success.”

Senior Guard Rodney McGruder

On how the seedings worked out…
“I am just excited that we get to see another day and play more basketball. There is a lot of Division I teams across the country that they get invited to the NIT or turn down other tournaments. It feels great to have the opportunity to go play in the tournament.”

On discussing K-State’s potential seeding during the Big 12 tournament…
“I paid no attention to it and focused on the task at hand at the Big 12 Tournament. I just tried to prepare myself and my teammates for the task at hand.”

On what he knows about Boise State and La Salle...

“I do not know too much about them but I am sure my coaches will do a great job of breaking down film so that we can find out a lot about those teams.”

Senior Forward Jordan Henriquez
On the potential of his last game…

“It is huge, just knowing that it could be your last. I know that for the three of us seniors, that we are all going to play at a magic level, play hard and leave it all on the floor. I know that our guys are not going to quit on us, they are going to do their best not to let it be our last game.”

On last chance to match Elite Eight run…

“I try not to reflect too much on the past. We have a good staff and team. It is the same core of guys but we have a different meaning. We just have to stay together and try to make that push in the NCAA because anything can happen.”

Sophomore Guard Angel Rodriguez
On his overall thoughts….
“It was a good reaction. We got a pretty high seed overall. Me personally, a lot of people think that having a high seed is an advantage , but to me it really is not. When it comes to playing in the NCAA tournament, everybody plays their A game and you are going to get the best day out of anybody you play. I am just glad that we got the opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament.”

On getting to play in Kansas City…
“It is a good chance for us and our fans to get to watch us one more time. It will kind of make it feel like we are at home. I am just happy and hopefully a lot of fans show up and show some support.”

Senior Guard Martavious Irving
On his thoughts….
“You have to play the game like it is your last. You never know. Just going out there and giving it your all and making sure the people that have extra years here give it their all like it is their last.”

On making four straight NCAA tournament appearances…
“It means a lot and I am grateful. I have friends out there who play college basketball who do not get into the tournament. I made it four years straight so I appreciate it.”

On being a team leader for the tournament…
“I am just happy that I have this opportunity. Just to have these young guys around and try to show them the way, just like they showed me my freshman year, especially at this time of the year because it is the most important and the tournament can add a lot of pressure to it. Just try to calm them down and get them ready to play.”

– www.k-statesports.com –


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