LAWRENCE, Kan. – Picked as a No. 1 seed for the eighth time in the last 12 years, the Kansas men’s basketball team will make its 29th-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The nation’s longest-active streak and the best all-time will start against the No. 16-seed Penn Quakers in the Midwest Region on Thursday, March 15, in Wichita’s Intrust Bank Arena.
See the bracket here.
Kansas (27-7, 13-5) extended its NCAA-record run of 14-straight Big 12 titles to conclude the regular season and, on Saturday, the Jayhawks won their 11th Big 12 tournament title with an 81-70 victory over West Virginia. The unveiled bracket paired Kansas against Ivy League Tournament champion Penn (24-8, 12-2) in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
This marks the ninth-straight season that the Jayhawks have earned a No. 1 or No. 2 seed. In head coach Bill Self‘s 15 seasons, KU has never been seeded lower than fourth. Kansas has been a No. 1 seed 14 times, including each of the last three seasons (1986, 1992, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2018).
The Jayhawks and Quakers have played three times previously, with the Jayhawks coming away with victories in each (89-71, Feb. 8, 1997; 61-56, Nov. 11, 1998; 105-59, Jan. 4, 2000).
ABOUT KANSAS (27-7, 13-5 Big 12)
Overall, the Jayhawks are making their 47th NCAA Tournament appearance. KU is 103-45 all-time in NCAA Tournament games, including 30 Sweet 16 appearances and 14 trips to the Final Four.
The Jayhawks finished the 2017-18 regular season with a 27-7 record against the nation’s second-toughest schedule, which included six victories against ranked opponents. In conference tournament action, Kansas defeated Oklahoma State and Kansas State to advance to the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship finals against West Virginia. The Jayhawks claimed their third win over the Mountaineers this season and their 11th Big 12 postseason tournament title. Against the No. 1 RPI conference and the nation’s second-toughest strength of schedule, Kansas won the Big 12 Conference regular-season race by two games.
Kansas is one of seven Big 12 Conference teams to earn an NCAA Tournament bid, marking just the seventh time in NCAA history that 70 percent of a league was selected. The seven teams are the third-most to be representing a conference in the tournament. In all, KU faced 12 NCAA Tournament teams in 2017-18.
Led by the Big 12 Coach of the Year, Kansas head coach Bill Self guided his Jayhawks through a non-conference schedule that included Kentucky, Texas A&M, Arizona State and Syracuse, all tournament teams. Big 12 Player of the Year and Sporting News First Team All-American, Devonte’ Graham is the only player in NCAA Division I averaging 17.0-plus points, 7.0-plus assists, 1.7-plus steals and fewer than 3.0 turnovers per game. As a team, KU averages 78.5 points per game and outscores opponents by a +10.6 margin.
ABOUT PENN (24-8, 12-2 Ivy)
The Quakers head to the NCAA Tournament after claiming the Ivy League Tournament title, an impressive addition to their 2018 Ivy League regular-season championship. The title, which Penn tied for with Harvard, marked the team’s 26th and first since 2007.
Four Quakers score in double figures and are led by sophomore guard Ryan Betley, who scores 14.4 ppg. Betley is the team’s top 3-point threat after averaging 2.5 threes per game and shooting 38.8 percent from beyond the arc. Sophomore forward and All-Ivy First Teamer A.J. Brodeur is the team’s top rebounder at 7.0 per game and adds 13.0 ppg. Brodeur is also the team’s most efficient scorer, making over 54 percent of his field goal attempts.
Penn is led by head coach Steve Donahue, who was named the Ivy League’s Coach of the Year. Donahue is 47-40 in his third year in Philadelphia.
Aside from a 12-2 conference slate, Penn will enter postseason play with wins in seven of its last eight outings. The Quakers’ last loss came on March 3 at Yale, 80-79.
The winner of (1) Kansas vs. (16) Penn will advance to play the winner of (8) Seton Hall and (9) North Carolina State on Saturday, March 17.