Thursday, March 15, 2007

100 to 1

Top seed hasn't lost 1st round since '85


Reader poll

Will KU win today?

  • Yes 96% 2393 votes
  • No 2% 70 votes
  • Undecided 1% 28 votes

2491 total votes.

After suffering devastating first-round exits from the NCAA Tournament the past two years, it's understandable if Kansas University basketball fans approach tonight's game with apprehension.

But KU has history and statistics on its side when the No. 1 seeded Jayhawks face No. 16 Niagara.

In fact, the odds are 100 to 1 that Niagara would win tonight, said Hal Stern, a statistics professor at University of California-Irvine.

"I'm not sure I still believe (those odds)," Stern said.

No top-seeded team has lost an opening round game since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, giving No. 1s a 90-0 record over 16th-seeded squads, including Thursday's games.

But one Las Vegas oddsmaker said the chances of Kansas losing a first-round game are better this year than in the past.

Mike Seba, senior oddsmaker with Las Vegas Sports Consultants, said the average point spread in favor of No. 1 seeds in the first round is in the mid-20s; KU is favored to defeat Niagara by 19.

Still, smart money is on KU, even though Niagara is a stronger-than-usual No. 16 seed.

"It's a tougher opponent than Kansas should have," Seba said.

Barb Clinger, associate pastor at Lawrence's First United Methodist Church, said church leaders are so confident KU will win tonight that they rescheduled meetings on Sunday in anticipation of a second-round game.

Audio clips

2006-07 March 15 KU NCAA prev

She said she doesn't hear about churchgoers praying for a KU victory, and she's not sure it would do much good.

"God," she said, "doesn't respond to those kinds of prayers."

But what if KU does lose tonight?

Jim Williams, a Lawrence resident and KU fan, watched Niagara play Tuesday and thought they looked good.

"I think (fans) might call for Bill Self's hide, especially being the first in history to lose to a 16 seed," Williams said. "But it ain't going to happen."

The odds are against it.


bethnbob 11 years, 3 months ago


Downs did not complete a full year here and KU released him from his scholarship, he only had to sit for part of the season.

Joe Ross 11 years, 3 months ago

warning: the above article will piss you off

unklemonkey 11 years, 3 months ago

Ummm...Niagara did NOT look that good on Tuesday. At all. Whatsoever. If the Jayhawks are half-awake, I think we'll be okay. The level that we play at is so much more advanced and faster than the level at which Niagara plays.

jaybate 11 years, 3 months ago

I saw Gonzaga lost to Indiana and that Downs is playing for Gonzaga this year. I thought guys had to sit out a year before playing. What gives?

jaybate 11 years, 3 months ago

Its also a 100-1 shot that the seeding staff are unbiased.

jaybate 11 years, 3 months ago

UCLA shot 53% from trey to beat Weber State. C'mon, Bruins, keep wasting that good trey shooting against the likes of Weber State.

jaybate 11 years, 3 months ago


I wish that columnist weren't writing about KU, but she is very funny...and its true. KU has demolished alot of bets.

William James 11 years, 3 months ago

I think we have as many former KU players on different teams at the college level as we do in the NBA.

jaybate 11 years, 3 months ago

Hot trey shooting by high seeds continues. Ohio State also shot 55% from trey in a win over the Central Connecticut State Blue Devils. C'mon, is CentCon really a D1 basketball team, or some new joint military command?

Richard Heckler 11 years, 3 months ago

Please do not walk into the arena thinking it cannot happen no matter how good the Jayhawks are playing!

Yep even the Jayhawks have to play their best to win no matter what team they are confronted. I often wonder about the value of such articles.

Michael Stanclift 11 years, 3 months ago

I would be surprised if Self didn't lose his job if they lost in the first round again.

But I said that last year too.

bethnbob 11 years, 3 months ago

Even though we lost to 2 teams that we were'nt supposed to (DePaul and Oral Roberts), We still beat the #1 team at the time (Florida) on a nuetral court. KU is playing a hell of a lot better than they were then, they have come together as a team. They will slaughter Niagra!!!!!!!!!!

jaybate 11 years, 3 months ago

UNC shot a paltry 46% from trey against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels. Or was it the Northwestern Kentucky Majors? Or the Southeaster Kentucky Lt. Generals?

For god's sakes! At least the great Calvin Murphy once played for Niagara. Niagara actually has a basketball tradition. Why in the heck doesn't KU get to play Eastern Southwestern Idaho instead of Niagara?

DerekR25 11 years, 3 months ago

yeah, no kidding jross! What crawled up her butt so bad. Maybe she should stop worrying more about making money on a bracket pool and actually enjoy the games. That's one of the things that really tick me off these days about the pools. Don't get me wrong, I love filling them out and seeing how well I can calculate victories and upsets using only gut feelings and games I've watched, but I actually take time to enjoy the games. So many people don't even watch bball and, come march, everyone turns into a pro and says this and that about a game because they heard Andy Katz on bracketology, when all they are in for is the chance at winning the pot! Then they get so competitive and freak out because a team gets upset and they end up hating a team for it and they don't even realize that they've just seen an amazing accomplishment by a lesser team. If people actually took the time to enjoy watching the games, I think they'd learn what "March Madness" is REALLY about. (Like the columnest who wrote that article).

Anyway, GO HAWKS!!! I know we can just crush Niagra as long as we come in focused and not play tight! ALL THE WAY in 2007 BABY!!!!!!!!!

oldvet 11 years, 3 months ago

I would love to see us drop 100 on Niagra and then let the end of the bench get some real minutes in the second half!!! Or... why not let the end of the bench actually START the game, then replace them at the first time-out... the outcome of this game should not be in doubt and those guys will never have another chance at starting in a tournament game...

Studogg 11 years, 3 months ago

First of all, jaybate, bethnbob sort of answered your question about Downs. Because he left KU before he had completed a full semester, he was allowed to play at GU starting in the spring semester of this year. He was not eligible fall 2006 and did not play. He did sit out two full semesters while enrolled at Gonzaga (Spr 2006 and Fall 2006) totaling the same as one full year. It was the same situation when Rod Stewart transferred here from USC.
Second, I agree that Niagara is probably the strongest 16-seed maybe ever, but why is everyone talking about "if" we lose? We should be talking about "WHEN WE WIN." Honestly people, unless we just show up and sleepwalk the entire game while the Purple Eagles (I laugh everytime I think about that name, How Embarrassing!!) hit threes like it's goin' outta style,
Finally, if by some perfect alignment of the stars, coupled with everyone on our team getting injured before the game, coupled with Niagara playing with smaller basketballs and bigger rims at their end of the floor, we do lose tonight, Bill Self will not be fired. He is not in any hot water with the administration at KU. They, unlike most of us knuckleheads, can actually appreciate BACK-TO-BACK CONFERENCE AND TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIPS!! With one of the youngest teams in America, mind you. It looks like we've got our core coming back next year with two outstanding recruits on the way. HCBS is not going anywhere and I, for one, am very happy about that.

KU 88--Niagara 64

kujayhawk 11 years, 3 months ago

If KU loses we had an embarrassing loss to end a great season. That's it.

Regardless what happens tonight, we had a great season and we are lucky to have Self as our coach.

By the way, KU isn't going to lose.

optimist 11 years, 3 months ago


Downs did sit a year. He left after the first semester so only played one semester for KU. He was forced to sit out second semester last year and the first semester this year. He didn't start playing until December or January.

ronwell_dobbs 11 years, 3 months ago

OK, does anyone know of a bracket scoring system out there that actually rewards taking longer-shot odds? Anyone can fill out a bracket showing the likes of KU, UCLA, et. al. going far, but it would create some much more interesting betting pools to "gamble" on 14-16 seed teams even making it one round in. Kinda mix things up, ya know?

I understand statistics (even with my constant slumber in Stats class), so I know that it should be extremely unlikely that two brackets filled out by two separate people will be identical, but don't they always look quite the same to you?

oldvet 11 years, 3 months ago

Niagara... RPI - 136 Strength of schedule - 243 Key opponents - 1 (St John's, in a 20 point loss) Finished 2nd in their league, won the tournament to get here... Big man - 6-8 and he averages 8 minutes/game. Key wins - none! We should start the bench to get them fired up!!! They deserve no respect... these are the chumps that keep the "K-States" from major conferences out of the tournament. It's time to redefine Div-1.... you should have to play in multiple major sports at the D-1 level to be classified D-1 for any sport. Self keeps saying that Niagara isn't a 16-seed team... no one has asked him to complete that assessment... they don't even deserve to make the field, based on their RPI, strength of schedule and conference. They're fortunate that the chump conferences have automatics... the affirmative action in the NCAA tournament...

Bob Hiller 11 years, 3 months ago

Purple Eagles, are they? Well their color should remind KU of KSU, and this should give the Jayhawks added incentive, in case they need it tonight when "duke-ing it out" against Niagara

mechman 11 years, 3 months ago

after this story IF KU loses May i Suggest that this reporter get out of town fast!!!!!!!!!!!!someone might want to have a lynching party!!!!!!!!!!!!

pike 11 years, 3 months ago

heres an interesting article that really makes me realise what the Purple Eagles staff has to gain

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