Mar 5, 2013; Columbia, MO, USA; Missouri Tigers head coach Frank Haith after the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Mizzou Arena. The Missouri Tigers defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks 93-63. Mandatory Credit: Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

Tigers, Wildcats, Jayhawks Await Their NCAA Fate

Selection Sunday is here and with it comes the anticipation of where the local schools will land in the bracket. The good news is we know for certain Kansas State, Kansas, and Missouri will be going to the tournament and will not have to sweat out the bubble. The bracket will be released this evening but until then let’s speculate what will happen before it is officially released.

Mar 16, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas Jayhawks guard Ben McLemore (C) celebrates after beating the Kansas State Wildcats 70-54 to win the championship game of the Big 12 tournament at the Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS

Big 12: 1st (tied)
Tournament: Champion
KenPom: 8
RPI: 5
BPI: 6

A one-seed appears to be in the Jayhawks future, and if not, certainly a trip to Kansas City for the first weekend of the tournament. At this point Kansas has to be looking for matchups. KU wants to avoid teams who can play as physical as the can – Michigan State and Louisville would be good examples.

Kansas seems primed to make another deep run in the tournament, especially if Perry Ellis is going to start playing like the five-star recruit he was coming into the season. The one wild card would be if they have to play Missouri in the second round of the tournament – something we’ll talk about later.

Mar 16, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas State Wildcats guard Rodney McGruder (22) drives to the basket against Kansas Jayhawks forward Kevin Young (40) in the first half during the championship game of the Big 12 tournament at the Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS STATE

Big 12: 1st (tied)
Tournament: Lost in Championship game
KenPom: 30
RPI: 21
BPI: 32

The inability to beat one of Kansas, Gonzaga, or Michigan this season to match up with their Florida win. Had they been able to do that the Wildcats would be staring down a two seed and be in the discussion for a one seed.

Alas, that didn’t happen. However, K-State should end up with a three seed and a trip to Kansas City for the first weekend of the tournament. Their two wins over Oklahoma State, share of the Big 12 title, and appearance in the conference championship game should be enough to keep them ahead of the Cowboys when it comes to playing in Kansas City. There is a chance the Wildcats could slip to a four-seed, but it shouldn’t effect their Kansas City standing.

If K-State ends up in San Jose or something, it would be one of the bigger mistakes made by the selection committee.

The Wildcats have to be rooting for a bracket that cannot run with K-State’s motion offense and defend at a high level. Kansas State is a gritty, tough team that creates their offense off of their consistency and toughness. If the Wildcats have to play a team more athletically gifted than they are like who also have the same toughness quality like Michigan and Indiana, Kansas State will struggle.

MISSOURI

SEC: Tied 5th
Tournament: Lost in quarterfinals
KenPom: 18
RPI: 35
BPI: 24

Missouri is in the tournament and is staring down a nine or ten seed. The question for Missouri fans is this: To play Kansas or not to play Kansas?

Here’s the thing, if Mizzou plays Kansas they will not make a run past the Sweet Sixteen. The scenario would mean they would lose the eight-nine game and never get a shot to play Kansas or would be so high from beating Kansas they would lose in the Sweet Sixteen.

BUT you get the chance to beat Kansas in Kansas City.

If Missouri ends up in another bracket and avoids Kansas, Missouri could very well make a run at a Final Four, especially if they end up in Gonzaga’s bracket. It is a tough question for Missouri fans who think this team could still make a Final Four run in the right situation.

Of course the best scenario is beating Kansas AND making the Final Four, but with the way this season has played out who truly thinks the Tigers have the toughness to do both? Consistency is not what this team is made of, and the more distractions for them to face, the harder it will be for Frank Haith to keep everyone focused and in line. Missouri is better off not playing in Kansas’ bracket, but, man, that game would be fun.

 

Tags: Kansas Jayhawks Kansas State Wildcats Missouri Tigers

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