What's in a seed?: How Kansas has fared in the NCAAs on each of the top 4 seed lines
Now that the 2014 NCAA Tournament bracket is official, we know what the next couple of weeks could look like for Kansas University's men's basketball team.
The Jayhawks (24-9) earned the No. 2 seed in the South bracket, and open against no. 15 seed Eastern Kentucky on Friday in St. Louis.
Here are the rest of the Round of 64 matchups for the South bracket:
No. 1 Florida vs. Albany/St. Mary's
No. 8 Colorado vs. No. 9 Pittsburgh
No. 5 VCU vs. No. 12 Stephen F. Austin
No. 4 UCLA vs. No. 13 Tulsa
No. 6 Ohio State vs. No. 11 Dayton
No. 3 Syracuse vs. No. 14 Western Michigan
No. 7 New Mexico vs. No. 10 Stanford
No. 2 Kansas vs. No. 15 Eastern Kentucky
Believe it or not, this is just the second time in KU coach Bill Self's 11 seasons that the Jayhawks received a No. 2 seed.
Since Self took over the program in the 2003-04 season, Kansas has entered the Big Dance as a No. 1 seed five times, and now two times apiece on the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 seed lines.
The unpredictability of March is what makes the tournament a national treasure. Earning a top-four seed guarantees nothing.
Can KU make it all the way to the Final Four as a No. 2 seed? Absolutely. It happened two years ago. But as KU's rabid fan base is completely aware, playing as a favored seed can go in the other direction, too.
Here is a look back at how Kansas has played on each seed line in the Self era.
No. 1 seeds
The first No. 1 seed for the Jayhawks under Self didn't come with an accommodating road to the Final Four. The Jayhawks played the first weekend in Chicago, but the selection committee placed KU in the West regional, which meant an Elite Eight matchup with UCLA in San Jose, California, where the Bruins ended KU's season.
1st round: Kansas beat No. 16 Niagara, 107-67
2nd round: Kansas beat No. 8 Kentucky, 88-76
Sweet 16: Kansas beat No. 4 Southern Illinois, 61-58
Elite 8: No. 2 UCLA beat Kansas, 68-55
You could say the 2008 NCAA Tournament worked out all right for Kansas. The Jayhawks' No. 1 seed gave them two games in Omaha, Neb., and two more in Detroit, before they moved on to the all-No. 1 seed Final Four in San Antonio, where KU defeated Memphis in overtime to win the national championship.
1st round: Kansas beat No. 16 Portland State, 85-61
2nd round: Kansas beat No. 8 UNLV, 75-56
Sweet 16: Kansas beat No. 12 Villanova, 72-57
Elite Eight: Kansas beat No. 10 Davidson, 59-57
Final Four: Kansas beat No. 1 North Carolina, 84-66
National Championship: Kansas beat No. 1 Memphis, 75-68 (OT)
This is the worst-case scenario for a No. 1 seed, from a historical perspective. No top seed ever has lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. But Kansas is one of the No. 1s to bite the bullet without getting to the Sweet 16. The Jayhawks opened in Oklahoma City, Okla., but never made it to St. Louis, because Northern Iowa ended KU's run before it had a chance to pick up any steam.
1st round: Kansas beat No. 16 Lehigh, 90-74
2nd round: No. 9 Northern Iowa beat Kansas, 69-67
Kansas handled its coveted No. 1 seed better the season following its second-round exit against Northern Iowa. But after the Jayhawks advanced out of Tulsa, Okla., another mid-major team, VCU, stopped them short of a Final Four by ending KU's season in the Elite Eight, in San Antonio.
1st round: Kansas beat No. 16 Boston, 72-53
2nd round: Kansas beat No. 9 Illinois, 73-59
Sweet 16: Kansas beat No. 12 Richmond, 77-57
Elite 8: No. 11 VCU beat Kansas, 71-61
First weekend sites don't get any cushier for Kansas than Kansas City, Mo. The Jayhawks moved on to the Sweet 16 via Sprint Center. However, the Jayhawks' run ended in their first game at the next stop, Arlington, Texas, with an overtime loss to Michigan.
1st round: Kansas beat No. 16 Western Kentucky, 64-57
2nd round: Kansas beat No. 8 North Carolina, 70-58
Sweet 16: No. 4 Michigan beat Kansas, 87-85 (OT)
No. 2 seed
Kansas couldn't make it three No. 1 seeds in a row, but the selection committee kept No. 2 seed KU close to home, and the Jayhawks responded by sweeping through Omaha and St. Louis, en route to the Final Four, in New Orleans. Kansas got all the way to the tournament final, where Kentucky stopped the Jayhawks from capturing their second championship in five seasons.
1st round: Kansas beat No. 15 Detroit, 65-50
2nd round: Kansas beat No. 10 Purdue, 63-60
Sweet 16: Kansas beat No. 11 North Carolina State, 60-57
Elite 8: Kansas beat No. 1 North Carolina, 80-67
Final 4: Kansas beat No. 2 Ohio State, 64-62
National Championship: No. 1 Kentucky beat Kansas, 67-59
No. 3 seeds
As a No. 3 seed playing not too far away, in Oklahoma City, for the first weekend, many figured Kansas was primed for another deep run in the tournament — and potentially a showdown with the regional's No. 1 seed, North Carolina, in the Elite Eight. Instead, Bucknell bounced the Jayhawks in the first round.
1st round: No. 14 Bucknell beat Kansas, 64-63
A year after the program's first national championship in 20 years, Self rebuilt quickly. A young group of Jayhawks earned a No. 3 seed and won two games in Minneapolis before falling to eventual national runner-up Michigan State in the Sweet 16.
1st round: Kansas beat No. 14 North Dakota State, 84-74
2nd round: Kansas beat No. 11 Dayton, 60-43
Sweet 16: No. 2 Michigan State beat Kansas, 67-62
No. 4 seeds
Even though the Jayhawks were a No. 4 seed, they enjoyed a more than generous bracket assignment, playing the first two rounds at Kemper Arena, in Kansas City, and the next two in St. Louis, Mo. KU got all the way to the Elite Eight in Self's first season, and were minutes away from a third straight Final Four appearance before losing to Georgia Tech in overtime.
1st round: Kansas beat No. 13 Illinois-Chicago, 78-44
2nd round: Kansas beat No. 12 Pacific, 78-63
Sweet 16: Kansas beat No. 9 UAB, 100-74
Elite 8: No. 3 Georgia Tech beat Kansas, 79-71 (OT)
A young Kansas team didn't quite have the résumé for a top-three seed, and opened the postseason in Auburn Hills, Mich. Though the players were different from the previous season, the result was the same: a first-round exit for the Jayhawks. This time it came at the hands of another B-school, Bradley.
1st round: No. 13 Bradley beat Kansas, 77-73