Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas vs. Texas Southern NCAA Men’s Basketball Preview and Prediction

Here is everything you need to know about the Kansas Jayhawks and the Texas Southern Tigers in our Kansas vs. Texas Southern NCAA Tournament men’s basketball preview.

NCAA Tournament

Midwest Region – First Round

No. 1 Kansas (28-6) vs. No. 16 Texas Southern (19-12) 8:57 p.m. CT, Thursday, truTV, Dickies Arena, Fort Worth, Texas

How They Got Here:

Kansas won the Big 12 Conference tournament. Texas Southern won the SWAC Tournament and defeated Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 76-67, in a First Four game on Tuesday.

Winner gets: A second-round game against the winner of the San Diego State-Creighton game.

 

Projected starting lineups

Kansas: G Christian Braun, G Dajuan Harris Jr., F Jalen Wilson, G Ochai Agbaji, F David McCormack.

Texas Southern: G Bryson Etienne, G Jordan Gilliam, F Justin Hopkins, F John Walker III, C Brison Gresham.

Players to watch

Kansas G Remy Martin: He, may, finally be ready to be a big part of Kansas’ rotation. Before his knee injury in late December, he was in the starting lineup and playing a big part in Kansas’ offense. But, since that injury, Martin had a hard time getting healthy and getting re-integrated into the game plan. But, in the Big 12 Tournament, Martin started to show signs that he’s healthy and ready to be a problem for opposing teams. Against TCU in the semifinals he scored 10 points, grabbed three rebounds and had three assists. Then, against Texas Tech in the championship game, Martin had 12 points, four rebounds and four assists. The timing is perfect, since teams are going to throw everything they have at All-America guard Ochai Agbaji. If that happens, Martin is positioned to pick up the slack.

F John Walker III: Walker was the Tigers’ leading scorer entering the Tournament, averaging 9.9 points per game. He’s also bringing 4.3 rebounds. The senior hit double figures in three of his last five regular-season and SWAC postseason games, including a 17-point game in the title game against Alcorn State. He can have a big game against big-time competition. He had a season-high 19 points in the Tigers’ season opener against Oregon.

 

Key storylines

Kansas: Kansas coach Bill Self has, perhaps, the deepest team he’s had in years, and certainly one that looks like its trending upward going into the NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks have 32 consecutive NCAA Championship appearances, which is the longest active streak and the longest consecutive in NCAA tourney appearances history. Kansas is 39-13 all-time as a No. 1 seed and has been a No. 1 seed in four of the last six tournament. Forward David McCormack is playing hard through soreness in his surgically-repaired foot, and forward Jalen Wilson is playing like he played last season. All of that is good news as Kansas tries to better its run to the second-round last season. The Jayhawks are well-positioned to do just that.

Texas Southern: The Tigers are in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season and for the fourth time in the last six seasons. With the win over TAMU-CC, the Tigers have now won eight of their last nine games. TSU is 3-9 all-time in NCAA Tournament contests and 3-1 in First Four/Opening Round games. TSU is used to playing teams from big-time conferences, as the Tigers faced teams from the Pac-12, the ACC and the SEC. The Tigers also have a transfer from a Final Four team from last season — center Brison Gresham, who was with Houston during their tournament run. The Tigers also became the first SWAC team to defeat a ranked SEC team when they beat Florida, 69-54, on Dec. 6.

 

Fun Fact

Kansas is making its 50th NCAA Tournament appearance and has a 109-48 record.

Prediction

Kansas 82, Texas Southern 62. Kansas moves on without a whole lot of drama. Well, maybe some first-half drama. The Tigers have proved big-time teams don’t intimidate them.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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