Only two top-seeded teams remain in the NCAA Tournament entering the Elite Eight.
One is the Villanova Wildcats, and the other is the Kansas Jayhawks. Essentially, Kansas entered the NCAA Tournament as one of the top four teams in the entire field.
Thus far, the Jayhawks have lived up to that seeding. After notching wins over Pennsylvania, Seton Hall and Clemson, Kansas is back in the Elite Eight for the third time in as many years.
However, Kansas may not be the top team left in the tournament, or even one of the top two teams.
Bleacher Report’s Kerry Miller power-ranked the Elite Eight, and Kansas came in at No. 3, trailing Villanova and Duke.
In hopes of also being ranked in Bleacher Report’s Final Four power rankings, Kansas will have to advance past Duke, the team Miller ranked No. 2 in the Elite Eight. Miller detailed how Kansas can do just that and earn a trip to the program’s first Final Four since 2012.
“Own the perimeter. Kansas has shot better than 41 percent from 3-point range in each of its three tournament games, and limiting Clemson to just 30 percent from the same distance was a big reason the Jayhawks were able to advance to the Elite Eight,” Miller said. “They aren’t great in turnover margin, and they often lose the rebounding battle, but they can more than hold their own when the four-out offense is doing what it does best.”
Thus far, the Jayhawks’ sharpshooting has produced 26 made 3-pointers in three NCAA Tournament games, and that per game total has climbed each time out from 7 to 9 to 10. With another sharpshooting squad set to occupy the opposite side of the court in Duke, Kansas can certainly help its cause by continuing its ascension yet again, after the Jayhawks made 10 3s against Clemson in the Sweet 16.
Duke has allowed just 16 made 3s in three NCAA Tournament games, so the key for Kansas will be its ability to shoot the Blue Devils out of their zone defense.
How well Bill Self’s squad can do that should largely decide whether Kansas’ season ends on Sunday.