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Reseeding and Vegas odds reveal wide open NCAA Tournament

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Kansas guard Devonte' Graham slaps hands with fans as he leaves the court following the Jayhawks' win, Saturday, March 17, 2018 in Wichita, Kan.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham slaps hands with fans as he leaves the court following the Jayhawks' win, Saturday, March 17, 2018 in Wichita, Kan. by Nick Krug

So we're down to the Sweet 16, with two No. 11 seeds, two No. 9 seeds and two No. 7 seeds for good measure.

Holy smokes!

While just two of the tournament's No. 1 and No. 2 seeds remain — Kansas and Villanova on the 1 line and Purdue and Duke on the 2 line — it's certainly anybody's guess as to who will make it out of this weekend and on to the Final Four in San Antonio.

I absolutely love how the bracket has shaken out thus far. For one, upsets are fun and this past weekend was as wild as I can remember. For two, it's a great look for the Big 12 Conference that its top four finishers — in both the regular season and the Big 12 tournament — make up 25 percent of the Sweet 16.

And, finally, I think it's great that the Final Four could end up being something wacky and unexpected like Nevada, Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Clemson or it could take on a blue blood, more-traditional look with Kansas or Duke, Kentucky, Villanova and Michigan all advancing.

Of course, it also could wind up being some combination of the two and that's what makes the days ahead so much fun.

Regardless of who is playing who or how this team matches up with that team, there is one reality that every team still standing must deal with at this point — every game from here on out is going to be a war.

Forget the fact that Duke is playing No. 11 Syracuse and is a double-digit favorite. Ask Michigan State how that worked out?

Forget the fact that Loyola-Chicago is a super Cinderella or that Kansas State is playing mighty Kentucky and look at the reality for both teams — Loyola has found a way to win two wild games and there's no reason to think they can't do it a third time. And K-State won its two games without its best scorer and rebounder. With Dean Wade expected back for the KSU-Kentucky game, Bruce Weber's squad has a real shot of reaching the next round or beyond.

We've still got a couple of days before things get going again, but that hasn't stopped anyone from breaking this thing down to the Nth degree.

One of the most popular things for college basketball analysts to do this time of year is to reseed things after each break in the action. Sure, Kansas and Villanova remain as the only 1 seeds left, but does that mean they're the favorites?

Far from it.

According to Andy Katz, of NCAA.com, and Myron Medcalf, of ESPN.com, there are at least a few teams who currently qualify as better picks than Kansas to cut down the nets.

So say the folks who setting the betting odds, as well.

According to Bovada.lv, the Jayhawks have just the sixth best odds of winning it all of the 16 teams remaining, at 17/2, with Duke (13/4), Villanova (9/2), Gonzaga (7/1), Kentucky (7/1) and Michigan (8/1) all ahead of them.

As for that whole reseeding thing, that appears to be a little murkier.

Medcalf has the Jayhawks ranked as the 10th best team remaining and Katz lists Kansas as the fourth best team still alive.

Medcalf's picks are based largely off of how the teams played in the first two rounds and not as much their overall body of work.

Wrote Medcalf:

Bill Self might be approaching his most impressive postseason feat. The Jayhawks are playing a four-guard lineup that works best when Udoka Azubuike is healthy and avoiding foul trouble. That wasn't the case Saturday against Seton Hall, as he was hindered by a sprained MCL and drew his fourth foul with 8:53 to play, but Kansas still beat Angel Delgado and Seton Hall with a strong finish.

On a day when Devonte' Graham finished 1-for-7 from the field, Azubuike played only 22 minutes and still had 10 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals. Azubuike changed the game in limited time. And Kansas continues to find a way in challenging circumstances.

Katz, meanwhile, believes that KU's experience has served them well thus far and will continue to do so in the rounds ahead.

Wrote Katz:

The Jayhawks rolled through the Big 12 tournament and haven’t stopped. Penn gave Kansas a game for a spell, but then the second gear took over. Seton Hall certainly pushed the Jayhawks, but Kansas had the look of a champion in the final minutes. Experience matters at this time of the season and the Jayhawks are using theirs to the max.

Time will tell how things shake out and we'll be there every step of the way that the Jayhawks are playing to bring you everything you need from Omaha.

We'll kick start this week's coverage with a new KU Sports Hour podcast this afternoon and then start to breakdown that KU-Clemson matchup, set for 6:07 p.m. Friday on CBS.

So check back with KUsports.com often throughout the week for all of the latest from the Jayhawks' charge toward San Antonio.

And, if you haven't taken our latest quiz yet, check it out and enter to win a $25 gift card.

QUIZ: Which current Kansas basketball player are you?

Updated odds to win 2018 national championship, per Bovada.lv

Updated odds to win 2018 national championship, per Bovada.lv by Matt Tait

Comments

Joe Ross 4 years, 6 months ago

(Wrote the following elsewhere)

First of all, I'm astounded that we're talking about Championship aspirations for Kansas. Pleasantly surprised, given that this discussion would have been unthinkable sometime in January or February, when Kansas looked like it was coming apart at the seams. Somehow they've pulled it together and have a 10-1 record against the remaining field in the NCAA Tournament.

Here's the rub, however:

NONE of those wins came against ACC foes, and they are the consensus top-conference in the country. Supporting that view is the fact that the ACC now has more teams remaining in the field than any other conference, and Kansas would have to survive two of its best teams in a span of 3 days.

Having said that, here's what it comes to. The National Championship will be won or lost for Kansas THIS weekend. If you beat Clemson and (presumably) Duke, then you've fought and won against the Big12 (the number 2 conference) and the ACC, vanquishing both. The optics for a team to bests both of these conference would have to be the prohibitive favorite to win the Tournament. Yes, the games in the Final Four would still have to be played, obviously; but we're talking about "favorite" status at the moment, and Kansas would have to be the favorite if it wins its next two games (even assuming Villanova wins their regional).

But again, that 10-1 record was not facing any ACC teams.

Regarding the article, I saw that same thing. Pundits are often wrong, but you'll notice that Duke and Clemson are seeded 2nd and 3rd (resp.), while Kansas is seeded at 10th. Moving beyond Homerism, I DO believe it's true that if the remaining field were re-seeded, both Clemson and Duke should be ahead of Kansas, although I think the gap is much narrower than suggested by the article. Even so, however, if Kansas faced this scenario 10 times, I'd say the number of times they survive would be about 4. We're gonna have to be on our game! If they survive the weekend coming, then those 17/2 odds turn in Kansas' favor, I believe. Winning the weekend will mean that Kansas has improved as a team and began peaking at the right moment. With Devonte Graham and a healthy Azubuike, we have a supporting cast that can give us more than a good chance.

Hopefully, the lack of respect being given to Kansas right now can be used by Coach Self to express the seriousness of the challenge facing his team, and get them to focus. Lots of rest for Udoka. Duke has a pair of twin towers under the basket. May need to practice some 3 around 2 (move Lightfoot to his natural power forward position). Prepare for zone (if we survive Clemson). Get DeSousa dialed in. Make perimeter shots!

Stephen Burtin 4 years, 6 months ago

Don't the Big XII and ACC have the same number of teams in the Sweet 16 or did I miss something? Also, we played, and beat Syracuse who is in the ACC so that 10-1 record includes at least one ACC team even if it is the weakest one left.

Duke, Syracuse, Clemson, Florida State

Kansas, Texas Tech, West Virginia, Kansas State

Dale Rogers 4 years, 6 months ago

ACC - 4 of 15 (27% of their conference)

Big12 - 4 of 10 (40% of their conference)

At the start -

ACC - 9 of 15, 60%

Big12 - 7 of 10, 70%

Remaining -

ACC - 4 remain of 9 selected - 44%

Big12 - 4 of 7 - 57%

Matthew Roesner 4 years, 6 months ago

Dale, if you really want to add to the stats, you should consider not just pure wins, but playing to your seed. The Big 12 had only one team, TCU, lose who was a higher seed. KU, TT and WVU played to their seeds. KSU exceeded by winning over Creighton. The ACC losses came to lower seeds for Virgina, NC, Miami, and Virginia Tech. Syracuse and Florida State exceeded. So in all, Big 12 is doing well in that regard as well.

Jacob Zutterman 4 years, 6 months ago

Joes, did we not play Syracuse earlier this year?

Bryson Stricker 4 years, 6 months ago

"Somehow they've pulled it together and have a 10-1 record against the remaining field in the NCAA Tournament.

Here's the rub, however:

NONE of those wins came against ACC foes, and they are the consensus top-conference in the country. Supporting that view is the fact that the ACC now has more teams remaining in the field than any other conference, and Kansas would have to survive two of its best teams in a span of 3 days."

As our president, Donald Trump would say: "WRONG".

I stopped reading after this because you clearly didn't do enough research to be making a post like this.

We beat Syracuse in neutral site with Clay Young @ Center. We also have the same amount of teams in the sweet 16 as the ACC. Our teams are favored to win 2/4 while ACC is favored 1/4. While there's no doubt the ACC is a very good basketball conference. There is a compelling argument as to which conference was better this year. It was not clear cut like you stated and I'd put money down that a Big 12 team will make it over an ACC if only one conference could get in.

Making long posts, doesn't make you smarter. Remember that.

Dale Rogers 4 years, 6 months ago

ACC? All I've heard this entire season is the Big 12 is the best conference, top to bottom, in the country, by far. The only people I've heard say otherwise are ACC fans.

Len Shaffer 4 years, 6 months ago

Definitely not up to Joe's usual standards.

Joe Ross 4 years, 6 months ago

Ill take that criticism, Bryson. I'll own it. Even the authors of the articles here get caught occasionally making mistakes, so I don't feel at all bad about the human error. But I'll go the full 9 by saying you're absolutely right. Correction noted.

But I'm going to give some criticism, too. And I hope you embrace it with as much gusto, since ostensibly you have an affinity for truth. First, it's a whole lot easier to sit back with your fingers laced behind your head and point out others' flaws when you have actually not put anything out there yourself in the way of "research" (to use your word). Secondly, and much more importantly, while I don't object to your facts (on the contrary, I embrace them), your sharp tongue toward people who showed you no initial malice is the kind of kindergartenish behavior you expect from children. You fit well the mold of a jaybate or jay scott.

That kind of mindlessness should also be owned. Making posts of any length with your kind of venom doesn't make you better. Remember that.

Gary McCullough 4 years, 6 months ago

Both Joe and Bryson make good observations. But I don't think we've given enough credit for the experience factor. Devonte is the best point guard in the tournament with the possible exception of Jalen Brunsen. But he'll have to deal with the Mountaineers and their stifling defense before he can take on the Jayhawks. Regardless, this has become one of the most entertaining NCAA Tournaments in recent years.

And how are we not talking about TTU going up against Purdue? I love this Red Raider team! They have athleticism, talent, and are as motivated as any team still in the Tournament.

I know a lot of Jayhawks have transplanted our hatred of Mizzou to our little brothers down I-70, but I will cheer for the Wildcats as long as they are not playing us. And my favorite team to despise is Duke. Not because of Grayson Allen or Ratface, or even because they are an elite, entitled, and ignorant basketball fans, but because every time Duke beats us it's because they got to the freethrow line more then we did. Ratface whines and moans every call and intimidates the referees. Seriously, how does Grayson Allen still get to play when he's been caught cheating so many times?

Marcia Parsons 4 years, 6 months ago

Kansas does indeed have as many teams in the Sweet Sixteen as the ACC, and how many teams did they have in the tournament? 10, I believe. We only had 7 and still tied them. I don't think 4 out of 10 is a compelling argument for their superiority when compared to 4 out of seven.

Jonathan Allison 4 years, 6 months ago

Sporting News' Mike Decourcey had a column to express why each team has a chance to reach the final four and why each team will fail to reach the final four. These types of columns are typically pretty valueless except for entertainment purposes. This particular one is no exception.

I did find particularly hilarious his take on Kansas State:

Kansas State

Why they’re headed to the Final Four: They’re not headed to the Final Four. No team ever got the chance to play a 16-seed in a second-round game, and the Wildcats almost blew it. They might have a shot at Kentucky if Dean Wade is able to play, and if Kentucky is freaked by the stage, but it’s tough to see K-State winning two more.

Why they'll go home: Because that's where teams go when the season is over. It’s been a good ride, though.

http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-basketball/news/march-madness-ncaa-tournament-2018-ranking-sweet-16-from-number-one-duke-kansas-kentucky-purdue/1e1lfo1wggyb21x9nte07y2xws

Justin Kruse 4 years, 6 months ago

I think K-State has the easiest path to the Final Four & title game. I could definitely see them getting past Kentucky. I sure hope I'm wrong!

Jonathan Allison 4 years, 6 months ago

I could see them beating Kentucky maybe once in a best 5 out of 9 series. Kentucky should mop the floor with these guys. Hopefully Dean Wade is miraculously healthy, otherwise the Kentucky walk-ons should get some serious PT at the end of this one.

4 years, 6 months ago

After all that's happened this weekend in college basketball I'm surprised any pundit in their right mind would even remotely want to try and forecast any results of future games. Some supposed top level teams have totally underachieved against supposed lower level teams and at this stage it's anybody's to win. Having said that I'd risk a few bucks on our Jayhawks as all season they have fought adversity and conquered. Here's to an NC, RCJH

Ryan Zimmerman 4 years, 6 months ago

Duke looks like they're on another level... same can possibly be said about Nova I suppose. Of course, you can't have a title game with both of them so who knows what will happen on the other side of the bracket

I'm thinking Final Four of UK Gonzaga Duke Nova

With the Zags losing to Duke in the final

Michael Mitchell 4 years, 6 months ago

Last year, after our sweet sixteen game...WE looked like we were on another level! Then the elite eight game showed differently. I don't think any teams first two games means anything. You only get to play one team at a time and you had better show up ready to play, or, like last year...we will go home. I have enjoyed this years Jayhawks for the intensity they have shown in the first two games...if this intensity keeps up, then we have a great chance at running the table!

Ryan Zimmerman 4 years, 6 months ago

And at least Clemson doesn't have anyone over 6'9 :)

Pius Waldman 4 years, 6 months ago

Yes it is hard to understand the results so far. But it appears Kentucky has the easiest way to the final four. K-State-Loyola Chicago or Nevada. Well at least possible. Villanova might be next although West Virginia might beat them. Look for Purdue and Tech to not survive Villanova. Kansas may have the tuffest challenge. Clemson and Duke are great teams. That zone defense from Syracuse requires distant shooting. I'm all in favor of KU winning but Kentucky will be in the final four and final game. Duke will be the favorite with Villanova. Hope I'm wrong but Duke to beat Kentucky.

Joe Joseph 4 years, 6 months ago

This is exactly where Kansas wants to be.

Jonathan Allison 4 years, 6 months ago

Absolutely. And as far as KU is concerned, all of the chaos on the left-hand side of the bracket is just another distraction to us. The tournament has panned out so far exactly as we should have imagined it to as it relates to KU. As of right now, it would not be until the championship game when we would be impacted by the wild weekend of upsets that occurred over the past few days.

We will face #5 seed Clemson, then if we advance likely face #2 Duke, and then if we advance to the FF the likely opponent is #1 Villanova.

Andy Tweedy 4 years, 6 months ago

I got a totally separate question for you all! I'm literally sitting on my couch 20 minutes from CenturyLink, and always go to games when local. But this year, they're rounds 3 and 4 (or 4 and 5 if you count the play ins), so tix are $125 per round face and since I have no interest in Creighton season tix, I don't have any. How much would you guys spend on tix to see our guys? I know how much I want to spend, just curious if I'm crazy!

Mike Riches 4 years, 6 months ago

I think 125 is a pretty good deal. I checked on the tickets for Wichita and I think they were more than that.

Andy Tweedy 4 years, 6 months ago

Agreed! The problem is they start at 125 face, there was an article in the Omaha World-Herald today that this is the most expensive regional! Third party are starting at $300, but I'm hoping to find a deal on game day, the nice part about being so close

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 6 months ago

Very succinct and accurate, Mr. Joseph. You just know that this is what Coach Self is telling the team. Now, the only job is to execute the game plan, and let the chips fall where they may.

I like our chances against Clemson because we give them a much different look and challenge (or lack thereof) which Auburn provided. Actually, given the perpetual scandals surrounding Bruce Pearl, I am thrilled that Clemson beat them.

We typically have played very well in Sweet Sixteen games with a week's worth of preparation. Our challenge then comes in the Elite 8 game, when we are favored to beat teams like Villanova and Oregon.

In this case, if we beat Clemson and end up playing Duke, then my guess is that Duke will be the betting favorite, which might work to KU's advantage. Furthermore, Duke has had to resort to using a zone defense quite a bit this year because their man to man defense hasn't been up to their standards.

If we end up playing Syracuse, we did beat them earlier in the year. However, we would then be in the same situation as the last two years where we are favored to win the game. That could be a problem given KU's track record.

I don't think that the crowd demographics will be a significant factor. We looked awesome against Purdue last year in KC and then laid an egg against Oregon. Besides, if we end up playing Duke, they travel exceptionally well, and the crowd would be split a lot more evenly than one might expect.

One thing is probably certain. Most of the pundits will end up being wrong to the same degree that they have been thus far. They are more interested in creating conversation pieces than they are actually making astute analyses before the games are played.

Tony Bandle 4 years, 6 months ago

Hall of Shame Playoff Candidates by order of failure:

First: Virginia, Losing to a....you all know the rest.

Second: Xavier, s##t happens but every #1 is supposed to win at least two games.

Third: Cincinnati, it's hard enough to blow a 22 point lead when you are TRYING to do it!!!

Fourth: Arizona, cheaters never prosper!

Fifth: Michigan State, Sparty had a Chokey!

Sixth: Auburn, Maybe they should have sent the football team!

Seventh: North Carolina, nice defense of your title, losers!

Eighth:Tennessee, lost to a team whose mascot is a 98 year old nun!

Ninth: Missouri, proved that they still don't belong in the Big Dance!

Tenth: Everybody else that lost tied for tenth except for UMBC and Marshall.

David Kelley-Wood 4 years, 6 months ago

The odds as indicated above, while maybe correct in terms of their relative rankings, are obviously only what Vegas is prepared to pay you for a successful wager. The probabilities of winning it all are actually much lower for each individual team.

Just taking Duke (or more precisely, Puke) for example, 13/4 implies an approximate 31% chance that they'll win the championship, but it should be clear that the probability is lower. If their probability of winning each of the next four games is 80%-70%-70%-70%, then their probability of winning all four is 19.6% (not saying any of those probabilities are even remotely close to accurate).

What you can say for sure is that, everything else (heart, health, luck and other unknowable and indeterminable factors) considered equal, while some teams may have a better chance than others, none can be considered a favorite to win it all, and yet it's a certainty that one team will. Until our guys are out, they're in, and until they've lost, they have a legitimate shot.

Bottom line: ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!!!

David Kelley-Wood 4 years, 6 months ago

Edit: For Puke above, that was supposed to have been 80%-70%-70%-50% (and, should have added "screw them")

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