With his team’s NCAA Tournament opener on the horizon, Bill Self has lost faith in one of his most trusted advisers.
Heading into Selection Sunday, the Kansas basketball coach was faced with two likely landing spots if his team were to advance to the Sweet 16 — Chicago in the Midwest Region or Louisville, Ky., out of the South.
With that in mind, Self turned to his iPhone to inquire which location is closer to Lawrence, an attempt to determine where his top-ranked Jayhawks might end up if they make it past the first weekend.
“Siri told me Chicago was, like, 448 (miles) and Louisville was 515,” Self said. “Maybe that’s by vehicle, instead of by air, so I don’t know.
“So Siri, obviously, can’t trust her — at all.”
That loss of trust is because the Jayhawks (30-4) did indeed land in Louisville, despite being the top-overall seed in the field and with other Chicago suitor Michigan State missing out on a No. 1 seed entirely. KU will try to navigate the South Region, while the selection committee handed top-dog status in the Midwest to Virginia (26-7).
David Worlock, the NCAA director of media coordination and statistics, confirmed Sunday via Twitter that KU will play in the South Region because the “(c)losest regional site is Louisville (barely).”
Google Maps agrees, placing Louisville about three miles closer to Lawrence than Chicago.
Self said he thought his team would end up in Chicago, and prevailing sentiment suggests the Jayhawks would’ve preferred to play in the Windy City, which has a larger alumni base.
For his part, Self said he is fine with his team’s situation, adding senior forward and Chicago native Jamari Traylor was the only player disappointed by the placement.
“You look at Maryland as a 5 seed and Arizona as a 6 seed. That was shocking. Cal (4 seed) has as many good, young players as anybody in the country, without question. I was surprised Villanova was a 2 seed in our region.
“I’m sure you could go through the other regions and make cases about them, too. I’m not hung up on that at all, but it was a bit surprising to see some of those names pop up on those lines,” Self added while speaking as a guest on ESPN’s Mike and Mike show.
…His Jayhawks could meet former KU guard Mark Turgeon’s Maryland squad in a Sweet 16 game a week from Thursday in Louisville.
Self agreed with Mike and Mike’s Monday panel that it would be nice to have a scenario in which NCAA Tournament committee members “could say, ‘This is the criteria we’re looking at in this order — whether it be record away from home, to neutral (sites), to top 25 wins, top 50 wins or however you want to word it.’
“It gets down to so many things. One team could be 72 in the BPI (Basketball Power Index) and be 47 in the RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) or vice versa. I think it is a little misleading and confusing. I think we can probably do a better job of educating so that way everybody has a better feel of what they are trying to actually accomplish during this.”
Self said he’d never want teams to be selected solely on things such as BPI and RPI.
“At some point in time, you want to take into consideration if a Denzel Valentine (Michigan State standout) was out eight weeks instead of three weeks (due to injury), or if there were certain things that happened in the course of the season,” Self said. “I still think the eye test to me is the best way to go — who you played, who you beat.”
…KU was ranked No. 1 in the AP poll Monday for the third straight week. Michigan State was second, followed by North Carolina and Virginia. KU received 63 first-place votes Monday from the 65-member national AP media panel. Michigan State received the other two No. 1 votes. Oregon, the NCAA’s other No. 1 seed, is fifth, followed by Villanova, Oklahoma and Xavier. Miami and Kentucky are tied for 10th.
“At the beginning of the year, we knew we had a very talented team,” Davis said. “But we weren’t sure how the lineup would shake out. So we shifted things a lot and struggled some. It was like a roller coaster, up and down. But when they moved Robinson to the one, that just made us harder to guard.”
And it led to a heck of a finish. Not only did Austin Peay (18-17) become the first 8 seed to win the Ohio Valley tournament, it also closed the season by winning eight of its last 10 games and, in the OVC tourney, avenged those three consecutive losses in mid-January, along with a fourth revenge-victory over UT Martin in the OVC title game.
That, Loos said, made qualifying for the school’s first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2008 all the more satisfying.
“It’s exciting,” Loos said. “Because of what this team is now and where it’s been.”
All that matters from this point on, of course, is what the Governors do next. Both Loos and Davis acknowledged that facing Kansas (30-4) in Thursday’s first round would be a heck of a challenge. But they’re hoping that their recent success when staring another monster challenge in the face will provide them with confidence.
“Us being the 8 seed (in the OVC tourney), that gave us nothing to lose, and we had to want it more to win it,” Davis said. “That helped. And we’re gonna have that same mentality against Kansas.
“The biggest thing with us is just going into the game and not saying, ‘They’re a 1, they’re gonna beat us.’ As long as we believe we have a chance, that’s the biggest thing.”
The strongest region in this year’s tournament boasts what our power ratings consider the nation’s No. 1 and No. 5 teams — Kansas and Villanova — at its top. But it also contains a whole host of underseeded squads down the seed line, which will probably make for some real carnage in the early rounds. For instance, “first four” opponents Wichita State and Vanderbilt, both vying for the right to be a lowly 11-seed, would have been seeded five or six slots higher if the committee’s S-curve had followed our ratings. (Instead, one will be eliminated before the tourney even begins in earnest.) Our model also says that Maryland, Iowa and UConn deserved better seeds and that sixth-seeded Arizona had a case to be moved all the way up to No. 3 on the basis of its talent, now that Kaleb Tarczewski and Allonzo Trier are back at full strength. (Instead, the Wildcats will be mild favorites at best in the first round against either the Shockers or the Commodores.)
As a byproduct of all this wacky seeding, the South will have claimed at least eight of the nation’s 26 highest-rated teams as victims by the middle of the second weekend, after beginning the tournament with 10. But amid this havoc is also opportunity: Regardless of the Vandy-Wichita victor, seven teams in the region will have at least a 29 percent shot at the Sweet 16 before the round of 64 starts Thursday. With so many solid teams stuffed into such close proximity within the bracket, chalk in the first few rounds would be surprising.
But for all the South’s potential turmoil, Kansas still has the best Final Four probability of any team in the tournament. UConn is a trendy dark horse for those thinking that 2011 will repeat itself, and it’s possible that Villanova will stand in KU’s way. But our ratings consider the Jayhawks the nation’s top team, and they may be the only No. 1 team this season that played like it deserved the mantle after re-assuming it late in the season.
The six blue bloods, listed in alphabetical order so as not to make six fan bases turn red: Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, UCLA.
At least one blue blood has participated in 50 of the past 54 Final Fours, including every year from 1962 through 1978 and every year from 1986 through 2012.
The longest national-title drought for the blue-blood class of six schools? Just three seasons (2002-04). Blue bloods have won 32 of the past 54 NCAA tournaments.
UCLA is the lone blue blood excluded from this year’s NCAA Tournament field, and 60 percent of this year’s blue bloods are playing in the same pod.
Des Moines, site of a subregional playing host to four teams from the East regional, four from the South, will be crawling with blue-blood fan bases this week.
Indiana and Kentucky, possible second-round foes, and Kansas play in the Thursday-Saturday sub-regional at Wells Fargo Arena.
Look for Kansas and Kentucky fans to boo each other at the games. With any luck, they’ll socialize in different watering holes.
They won’t be the only fan bases wearing gear that recognizes national championships of yesterday.
Starting in 1999, guess which school has won the most national titles.
Kentucky? Wrong. Just one (2012) during that time period. Ditto for Kansas (2008), which is one more than Indiana (last title came in 1987). North Carolina has won two (2005, 2009), as has Florida (2006, 2007). Duke? Wrong. The Blue Devils won in 2001, 2010 and 2015, giving Coach K three of his five titles during the time period in question here.
The correct answer, of course, is UConn, which has gone to the Final Four five times in the past 17 seasons and won the national title in four of those. The Huskies are 9-1 in Final Four games, winning national titles in 1999, 2004, 2011 and 2014.
UConn, which won the American Athletic Conference tournament title by defeating Cincinnati in four overtimes, 104-97, Temple by 15 points and Memphis by 14.
The ninth-seeded Huskies face Colorado for the right to play Kansas in the second round.
Dangerous UConn won the national title two seasons ago as a No. 7 seed.
The school’s winning history doesn’t stretch back long enough to merit blue-blood status, but nobody has been more impressive as cold-blooded killers in March in recent decades.
But, whatever, now is not the time for uncertainty. Now is the time we all get to pretend we know what’s what with this bracket, so here is how I pretend:
Kansas, Baylor, Kentucky and Michigan State in the Final Four. Kansas over Michigan State in the final.
South: Kansas over Wichita State in the regional final; KU over Maryland and Wichita over Iowa in the Sweet 16; KU over Connecticut, Maryland over Hawaii, Wichita over Miami, and Iowa over Villanova in the second round.
West: Baylor over Oregon State in the regional final; Baylor over Oregon and Oregon State over Texas A&M in the Sweet 16; Oregon over St. Joe’s, Baylor over Duke, A&M over Northern Iowa and Oregon State over Oklahoma in the second round.
East: Kentucky over Xavier in the regional final; Kentucky over UNC and Xavier over West Virginia in the Sweet 16; UNC over Providence, Kentucky over Chattanooga, West Virginia over Notre Dame and Xavier over Wisconsin in the second round.
Midwest: Michigan State over Butler in the regional final; Butler over Iowa State and Michigan State over Utah in the Sweet 16; Butler over Virginia, Iowa State over Little Rock, Utah over Gonzaga and Michigan State over Syracuse in the second round.
I like KU’s balance and defense, Baylor’s talent and experience, Kentucky’s point guard and coach, and Michigan State’s star and coach. I don’t like Virginia’s ability to score, or Oklahoma’s defense, or Villanova’s path. I wanted to pick West Virginia to go farther, and Xavier to lose earlier, but we all make compromises in this life.
Anyway, please feel free to save these picks and mock these picks, especially when Vanderbilt beats Wichita in the play-in game.
KC Star Mellinger
Pre-tourney open practices run from noon to 7:15 p.m. Wednesday at Wells Fargo Arena and are free and open to the public. KU’s 40-minute open practice is scheduled for 2:15 p.m.
Pregame party and pep rally
The KU Alumni Association plans a pre-game party for 9:30 a.m. Thursday in meeting rooms 313-318 of the Iowa Events Center. A pep rally will follow at 11:45 a.m.
Official watch party
A KU Alumni watch party in Des Moines is planned for 3 p.m. Thursday at Trophy’s Sports Bar and Grill, 2701 Douglas Ave. To find other alumni watch parties around the country, visit kualumni.org.
Des Moines is about three and a half hours from Lawrence, by way of Interstate 35, according to Google Maps.
Expect Thursday to be sunny and breezy with a high of 51 degrees and a low of 33 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Friday should be partly sunny. There’s a 40 percent chance for rain Saturday.
LJW: What you should know before heading to Des Moines
Kansas junior guard Wayne Selden Jr., has been named one of five finalists for the 2016 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award.
Kansas senior forward Perry Ellis has been named one of five finalists for the 2016 Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award.
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Big 12/College News
USBWA All-American Teams announced
Kansas City gets its share of college sports championship events, most recently the Big 12 men’s basketball tournament. But officials say big events that bring millions to the local economy could be at risk if a proposed “religious freedom” amendment is added to the Missouri Constitution.
At last year’s Final Four in Indianapolis, debate over Indiana’s divisive Religious Freedom Restoration Act came to a head as fans and coaches from around the country poured into town. “We believe that it absolutely, positively needs to get fixed,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said then.
Or else, the implication was that Indiana would bid farewell to events it holds dear — such as the NCAA Tournament and Final Four.
A similar “religious freedom” law has made its way to Missouri, and the argument against it rings familiar.
Opponents say the legislation discriminates against the LGBT community, and sports organizations are in lock-step when it comes to their customers. Everyone is welcome. Call it turnstile equality.
After catching wind of legislative acts or symbols of oppression, sports leagues fight back with the leverage they possess — awarding of championship events, which can be huge economic drivers for a community.
That’s why Kansas City is concerned about the recent events in Jefferson City. Last Thursday, Republicans in the Missouri Senate voted to amend the state’s constitution to allow certain businesses to refuse services to same-sex couples based on religious beliefs.
The proposed amendment goes to the Missouri House, and if approved there would be on the ballot later this year.
A vote to allow florists or photographers to refuse service for same-sex marriage could become a vote to move the Big 12 Tournament and NCAA events out of Kansas City.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement that the conference is watching with interest.
“The Big 12 Conference and its member institutions support the rights of all individuals regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation,” he said. “It is acknowledged that elected officials enact laws they believe reflect the desires of their constituents, however, as a conference we will consider the impact of the Missouri Legislature’s action on current and future Big 12 events.”
The Big 12 wrapped up its 20th men’s basketball tournament last weekend, the 15th in Kansas City, and the tourney is scheduled to be played at the Sprint Center through 2020. The event brings an annual economic impact of $13 million, according to city officials.
With attention on Gallagher-Iba Arena in anticipation of a decision on the future of the basketball program, Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford may be an option for open jobs outside of Stillwater.
It is believed Ford might be a candidate for two other jobs, a source said on Monday.
If Ford were to find another job, it could reduce the amount of money Oklahoma State would owe Ford if they part ways.
It could delay the time frame for Oklahoma State to announce any news on the program.
There was no official announcement from Oklahoma State on Monday, though it’s believed Ford and Athletic Director Mike Holder did meet.
Ford, 46, is 155-111 in eight seasons at OSU. The Cowboys went 12-20 this season, losing in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament to Kansas State. Ford has three years and $7.2 million left on his contract.
It’s unclear what jobs Ford may be a candidate for, or whether they are head coach or assistant positions. As of Monday, there were more than 10 Division-I head coaching vacancies, including Rutgers, Stanford and TCU at the Power-5 level.
In addition, a source said a committee has been formed to find the next coach at OSU.
The committee is believed to be made up of four members — Holder, President Burns Hargis and Regents Joe Hall and Calvin Anthony.
When Ford was hired to replace Sean Sutton in 2008, no search committee was created.
Below are updates on early returns for ESPN's 2016 Tournament Challenge as of Monday at 7 p.m ET.
Top title picks
1. Kansas (1-seed): 24.1%
2. Michigan State (2-seed): 21.1%
3. North Carolina (1-seed): 16.3%
4. Oklahoma (2-seed): 6.4%
5. Kentucky (4-seed): 5.3%
6. Virginia (1-seed): 4.5%
7. Oregon (1-seed): 3.4%
8. Villanova (2-seed): 2.4%
9. Duke (4-seed): 2.3%
10. West Virginia (3-seed): 1.6%
Since late last night both Kansas and Michigan State received a bump of about 2 percent, while North Carolina dropped about 1 percent. Others held firm.
Roy Williams isn’t in Kansas anymore. If the computer model is right, he might wish he was.
Less than 24 hours after the pairings were announced, Bing Predicts tabbed this year’s tourney field as the most “up-for-grabs” Final Four since the tourney expanded to 68 teams. It then picked four regulars _ Duke, Kansas, Michigan State and North Carolina to play on the final weekend of the season.
The championship pick: The Bill Self-coached Jayhawks over their former coach, Williams, and the Tar Heels.
The NCAA this year teamed up with Microsoft's search engine, Bing, to crunch statistical data from over the past decade to spot trends, dissect numbers and try to sort out the more than 9 quintillion potential outcomes in the 68-team field.
For upset-minded fans, the computer provided these early-round predictions: Arkansas-Little Rock will upset fifth-seeded Purdue and reach the Sweet 16 and Chattanooga will knock off fifth-seeded Indiana.
The computer is also taking Gonzaga over Seton Hall, Pittsburgh over Wisconsin, VCU over Oregon State and Butler over Texas Tech.
The computer found the four No. 1 seeds combined for 23 losses, the most ever. The previous high was 20 in 2000.
Last year, Microsoft’s Bing went the conservative route, picking Kentucky to win it all. The company Microsoft itself estimated that it finished in the top 30 percent of all brackets — and topped both Google and Facebook’s own tournament predictions in doing so.
Here are five tips gleaned from Chartier’s team looking at all regular season data dating back to 2002 (a 9 seed defeating an 8 seed is not considered an upset):
1. Want to pick a team with a seed of 10 or higher? Keep these stats in mind: Of teams with a 10 or higher seed, only two teams have won four games in the tournament (2.3 percent) and only four teams have ever won three games (4.5 percent). Of these teams, no team was higher than a 12 seed.
2. For teams in weaker conferences (conference RPI greater than 10), it is more difficult to tell how well they will play against stronger teams. To get a better sense of their strength as a team, look at the out of conference games that they play at the beginning of the season. Even if they lose, if it's a close game or they limit the number of points scored by the other teams, that may indicate that they are a potential cinderella team.
3. Seed Stats: 76 percent of upsets are by 10, 11, or 12 seeds (27 percent by 12 seeds alone)
4. One-third of lower-ranked teams who win in the first round are ranked within the top 30 offensively -- 55 percent were ranked within the top 50.
5. Stats of winning teams - in the past 14 years, every national champion except one was a 1, 2, 3 seed. The exception was Connecticut, a 7 seed. Every winner has been within the top eight best-or-strongest conferences. Every winner has been ranked within the top 25 (using KenPom.com pythagorean ranking method).
Now, fans have all the control. They have the ability to watch every single NCAA Tournament game live, simultaneously, and in 2016 will be provided the sleekest way yet to do it. I attended CBS and Turner's annual NCAA Tournament media day in Manhattan on Tuesday. The companies unveiled their latest streaming services with the NCAA March Madness Live app, and they look really good.
Here's a photo I took of how watching the NCAA Tournament will look like if you have an Apple TV.
…It's simple, strong, easy to use. And it's not just Apple TV; Roku and Amazon Fire TV are all new to the streaming experience this year. Google Chromecast is an option again, too.
"However a fan wants to experience and watch the Tournament, we try to make sure there is an opportunity for them to do that," McManus said. "We've helped navigate what games are where. If he wants to wants to watch at a restaurant on his phone, he can. If he wants to watch one game on his television and the second game on his laptop, third game on his tablet and the fourth game on this phone. However a person wants to consume it, it's available."
If you're wondering on bit rate, a 720p TV will stream at 4,500 kbps, while tablets and phones will run at 1,200.
There's a lot of elements at play here. One really good feature: There will be no spoilers. If you're watching one game, you can switch over to another one and not have the score ruined for you as you're doing it. This is cool, and plus, if you really want to know the score before you switch, you can get that information in a hundred other ways.
The redesign is simple and strong. Any and all games broadcast on CBS can be watched on NCAA March Madness Live without login. (The Turner, TBS and truTV games will require a login with a cable provider)
Snapchat will deliver "live stories" including behind-the-scenes footage from the "March Madness" NCAA basketball tournament under a partnership announced Thursday.
Turner Sports, the Time Warner unit which is one of the broadcasters for the annual collegiate tournament, announced a multiyear deal with the social network known for its disappearing messages which will allow Snapchat-contributed video from a variety of live sporting events.
The deal allows Snapchatters "to contribute their unique perspectives through video and photo Snaps" which will be compiled into a brief video that can be broadcast globally to millions of fans, according to a statement.
The videos will include various advertising products, including "vertical video ads" which will be interspersed throughout the content.
"There is nothing more powerful on social than a passionate sports fan expressing their emotions during that pivotal moment of a game," said Seth Ladetsky of Turner Sports.
"While providing fans the tools to enhance their shared experiences, we are also creating an opportunity for advertisers to showcase their brand in an organic environment rich with engagement and interaction."
KUAD: Postseason Information Hub
ncaa.com: 2016 NCAA Tournament Schedule w/game times
Announcing crews, etc
Find out the tournament history for specific seeds, teams, coaches or conferences.
NCAA Tournament Brackets and History interactive tool
CBS Interactive Tool: Pick two teams to compare record, RPI and SOS details head to head. By default, the top two teams in RPI are shown.
Big 12 Composite Schedule & Results
Recruiting Calendar (updated for 2016)
Late Night in the Phog
Bill Self Camp KU Alumni games
60 Years of AFH Celebration
Legends of the Phog game
2011-12 Final Border War
KC Prep Invitational
and more, now on YouTube