Bill Self's squad will take on the No. 15-seeded Detroit from the Horizon League on Friday, March 16 at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb.
The Jayhawks are making their 41st NCAA Tournament appearance, as well as their 23rd-consecutive trip to the tournament and are a number two seed for the fifth time since seeding began in 1979. The Jayhawks were a two seed in 1990, ’93, ’96, ’03 and this season.
KU, which is ranked No. 3 in the latest Associated Press and USA Today/Coaches polls, has won eight-straight Big 12 regular season championships dating back to 2005 under head Coach Bill Self. This season, KU enters the postseason tournament boasting a 27-6 regular season record and a 16-2 clip in Big 12 conference play. Kansas has won nine of its last 10 games.
The eight-time defending Big 12 regular season champions are lead by 2012 Big 12 Player of the Year junior Thomas Robinson, who is averaging 17.9 points per game to go along with his 11.8 rebounds. Senior guard Tyshawn Taylor, first team All-Big 12 selection, gives KU 17.3 points per game and leads the team in assists with 4.8 per game. The Big 12’s defensive player of the year, sophomore center Jeff Withey, gives KU a presence under the basket with a conference-leading 3.3 block per game and adds 9.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Junior guards Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford round out the KU starters with Johnson tallying 9.6 points per game and adding 3.8 assists per game, while Releford posts 8.5 points per game.
Detroit posted a 22-13 overall record and a 11-7 mark in Horizon League play. The Titans defeated Valporaiso 70-50 in the conference championship game on Tuesday to punch the team’s automatic ticket to the NCAA tournament. Detroit will be making its sixth overall appearance in the NCAA Men's Tournament and first since 1999.
DU is lead by sophomore guard Ray McCallum who averages 15.6 points per game and 4.5 rebounds as well as senior guard Simon Chase who boasts a 13.5 point per game average and 4.5 boards. Also averaging double digits for the Titans is junior Eli Holman with his 10.9 points as well as his team-leading 6.8 rebound per game average.
Kansas and Detroit have met three times prior to Friday’s matchup. KU holds a perfect 3-0 record all-time against the Titans with the most recent meeting a 63-43 KU victory in Lawrence on Dec. 28, 2006.
If the Jayhawks beat the Titans, they will take on the winner of the No. 7 St. Mary’s vs. No. 10 Purdue game on Sunday. Kansas has never played St. Mary’s, while the Jayhawks hold a 2-2 series tie with Purdue.
Kansas in the NCAA Tournament Notes
--2012 is Kansas' 41st NCAA Tournament appearance.
--Kansas' 23-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, from 1990-2012, is the nation's longest active list and ranks second-best all time. North Carolina had 27 straight from 1975-2001.
--Kansas is making its second NCAA Tournament trip to Omaha and its first since the 2008 sub-regionals. The Jayhawks are 2-0 in NCAA Tournament games played in Omaha. KU's two victories came during its 2008 national championship run.
--Under head coach Bill Self, Kansas is 18-7 (72.0 percent) in the NCAA Tournament, with five Sweet 16s, four Elite Eights, one Final Four and one NCAA National Championship.
--In the last nine NCAA Tournaments, Kansas has a 27-9 (75.0 percent) record with one NCAA National Championship (2008), three Final Fours (2002-03-08) and six Elite Eight (2002-03-04-07-08-11) appearances.