Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas Jayhawks vs. Seton Hall Pirates Preview and Prediction

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Texas Christian

As we enter the Round of 32, we will begin individual posts previewing the upcoming games for the NCAA Tournament games involving Big 12 teams.

(1) Kansas (28-7) vs. (8) Seton Hall (22-11) Preview, Saturday, 6:10 p.m. CT, TBS

How they got here: Kansas won its 14th-straight Big 12 title this season and then went on to win the Big 12 tournament to reach the NCAA Tournament for a 47th time in program history. On Thursday, the Jayhawks had a bit of a scare early against Penn but were able to pick up a 76-60 win. Meantime, Seton Hall is in the Big Dance out of the Big East, where the Pirates went 10-8 in conference play, tied for third. Seton Hall held on to beat NC State Thursday 94-83.

 

Expected starters and head coach

Kansas Jayhawks — G Devonte’ Graham (17.3 ppg, 7.5 apg), G Svi Mykhailiuk (15.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg), G Malik Newman (13.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg), G Lagerald Vick (12.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg), C Udoka Azubuike (13.7 ppg, 7.1 rpg) Head coach — Bill Self (650-200 overall, 443-95 Kansas)

Penn Quakers — G Khadeen Carrington (15.2 ppg, 4.5 apg), G Myles Powell (15.5 ppg, 2.8 apg), G Myles Cale (4.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg), F Desi Rodriguez (17.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg), C Angel Delgado (13.3 ppg, 11.5 rpg) Head coach — Kevin Willard (195-161 overall, 150-112 Seton Hall)

About Kansas Jayhawks: The Jayhawks may not have that one-and-done star, but this is a complete team that improved as the season went on. Devonte’ Graham is a senior leader running the point and the Big 12 Player of the Year. The talent around him is quality and there is plenty of depth off the bench with Mitch Lightfoot, Marcus Garrett, and Silvio De Sousa. It’s the third-straight season Kansas has been a No. 1 seed and 14th time in program history. Azubuike is a force down low and leads NCAA Division I in field goal percentage at 77.4%. Kansas is poised for a deep run and Bill Self would love to remove the notion that despite all his success in Lawrence, his teams have fallen short of expectations come March Madness. On Thursday, the Jayhawks got off to a slow start against Penn, trailing by 10 in the first few minutes. But a 19-2 run late in the first half propelled Kansas to the win over the 16 seed Quakers. 

About Seton Hall: It’s been a turbulent season for the Pirates, as they were caught up in the FBI corruption probe in regards to former star player Isaiah Whitehead. But Seton Hall put together a solid season finishing T-3 in the Big East Conference. The Pirates also have solid non-conference wins over Texas Tech and Louisville. It’s a veteran-laden team led by senior Khadeen Carrington, Angel Delgado and Desi Rodriguez. They’ve suffered disappointment in recent years in the NCAA Tournament and this was viewed as the kind of year Willard had to go win a game or two in the Big Dance. But this program has now been to three-straight NCAA Tourneys, something it hasn’t done since the P.J. Carlesimo era in the early 1990s. The Pirates dropped 94 on NC State on Thursday and can fill it up, as they’ve scored at least 80 points 17 times this season.

Prediction: This is going to be a great game and the Jayhawks should be on upset alert. Seton Hall’s senior are looking to put together a legacy that will be remembered for a long time in South Orange, New Jersey. A win over Kansas and a trip to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 18 years and just the fifth time in program history would be a huge deal. Angel Delgado’s match up down low with Udoka Azubuike will be one to keep a close eye on. I’m not sure Azubuike has dealt with a player of this size (6’10”, 245) and skill in the Big 12. Plus, guard Khadeen Carrington will give Devonte’ Graham all he can handle. I think the Jayhawks pull this game out, but it will be a close one. Final: Kansas 78, Seton Hall 76.

Next up: The winner faces either Clemson, New Mexico State, Auburn or Charleston in next week’s Sweet 16.

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