The Kansas Jayhawks received a No. 1 seed in this year's NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. The Jayhawks will play Boston University on Friday at Tulsa. Kansas State received a No. 5 seed in the Southeast region, and will play Utah State on Thursday in Tucson.
Upon learning his team had earned a No. 5 seed and would begin NCAA Tournament play against No. 12 seed Utah State, Kansas State basketball coach Frank Martin smiled.
"They respected the fact that we played a strong schedule," Martin said of the tournament's selection committee. "They respected the fact that our kids played real well coming down the stretch and grew as a team."
Heading into Sunday's selection show, most experts had the Wildcats tabbed as a No. 6 or No. 7 seed. But their strong finish to the regular season landed them a more favorable spot in the tournament's Southeast Region.
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If K-State defeats Utah State, it will face Wisconsin or Belmont in the second round. Should the Wildcats advance past the tournament's first weekend as they did a year ago, they could face top-seeded Pittsburgh or Butler in the Sweet 16. No. 2 seed Florida and No. 3 seed BYU highlight the other half of the bracket.
Getting that far could be difficult, though. Utah State, which went 30-3 and won both the WAC regular season and tournament championships, heads into the postseason ranked 23rd nationally.
"Any team that can win (30) games in a season is real good," Martin said.
If KU were to win its first two games, it would play at the regional at San Antonio. If K-State were to win, the Wildcats would play in New Orleans.
If the Jayhawks defeat Boston U, they would face the winner of No. 8 seed UNLV and No. 9 seed Illinois.
A second-round game against the Fighting Illini would set up the first meeting between Illinois and Kansas since KU coach Bill Self left Illinois for Kansas in 2003.