No. 1 overall seed Kansas looks to kick off a deep NCAA Tournament run with a rout of Austin Peay in the round of 64. A No. 16 seed has never beaten a No. 1, and that isn’t about to change with this matchup. Austin Peay had a miracle finish to its regular season en route to winning the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament and an automatic bid to the Big Dance. Meanwhile, the Jayhawks continued one of the more impressive streaks in all of sports, securing their 12th Big 12 title in a row.
No. 16 Austin Peay Governors (18-17) vs. No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks (30-4)
When: 4 p.m. ET (Thursday)
Where: Wells Fargo Arena (Des Moines)
Line: Kansas -26
Keys for Austin Peay
The Governors are going up against the most complete team in all of college basketball this season. They were unfortunate enough to not only draw a matchup with a No. 1 seed, but also the strongest in the field. Senior big man Chris Horton must have the game of his life in order to keep this contest even remotely close. One advantage that Dave Loos’ Governors have is depth, with nine players averaging more than 10 minutes per game. Still, it will require nothing short of a miracle for them to pull off the biggest upset in tournament history.
Keys for Kansas
The Jayhawks have fallen prey to a couple of early exits in recent years. It is paramount that they do not come into this game completely unprepared. Bill Self and company will most definitely be looking ahead to a potential matchup with the always-dangerous UConn Huskies in the second round. Before they worry about that game though, they must take care of business and avoid becoming the first No. 1 seed to ever lose to a No. 16. Establishing a big lead and getting the bench some quality Tournament minutes could prove to be beneficial in the long run as well.
Kansas is simply too talented to let this game become even close. The Jayhawks’ emotional leader, senior forward Perry Ellis, has been knocked out of the Tournament too early for his liking each of the last three seasons. Self and No. 1 overall seed Kansas will cruise to victory in this matchup.