NCAA Tournament Futures Consideration: Kansas

by Nelly's Sports

Tuesday, Feb 27, 2024
March Madness is just around the corner and now is the time to lock in a few futures positions, looking for teams that could see their seeding improve or that are capable of winning multiple games in the NCAA Tournament. Kansas is a team that may be underpriced due to recent inconsistency but could still land a very attractive path in the Big Dance. 

Kansas Jayhawks +3500

Depending on where you look there are at least a dozen teams with lower odds of winning it all than Kansas even though many well established bracketologists have Kansas projected as a #2 seed. Kansas is only 9-5 in Big XII play but that is good enough for third place in the ultra-difficult conference, and only two teams in the Big XII have top five offensive and defensive numbers: Houston and Kansas. 

The Jayhawks still must play BYU, Baylor, and Houston in addition to a rivalry game with Kansas State as winning out is unlikely, but Kansas won’t slide far on Selection Sunday as they have an impressive collection of non-conference wins, defeating Kentucky, Tennessee, and Connecticut. They also have wins over Houston and Baylor already in Big XII play and every win in the final two weeks of the regular season and in the Big XII tournament will be a quality result. 

Kansas is rated as a top 10 defense nationally and while the current offensive efficiency ranking is in the 30s, that figure could improve as the season completes. Kansas has not lost a home game this season and four of five conference losses have come by six or fewer points. 

Kansas has good shooting numbers at every level as the top effective field goal rate in the Big XII while also taking good care of the ball. Kansas isn’t a strong outside shooting team, but they also take the fewest 3-point shots in the Big XII. Johnny Furphy and Dejuan Harris are both 41 percent 3-point shooters as there are solid options for the team from beyond the arc despite the marginal team numbers. Hunter Dickinson is a difficult matchup even if his career ascension has stalled from his very promising early years at Michigan. Kansas is also going to get Kevin McCullar back to full strength at some point after he has missed a few recent games as the lineup could be in great form by the tournament.  

Bill Self has had a few early tournament flameouts in his career, but he does have two Championships and 10 trips to at least the Elite 8 in his career. His two championship teams were better offensively than this year’s team, but this year’s team has the potential to be one of his highest rated defensive teams in the last decade. 

Teams like Tennessee, Duke, Alabama, and North Carolina are going to get more attention but won’t likely be seeded above Kansas and there are numerous favorable options for locations for Kansas in the Round of 64 and Round of 32 games including Omaha, Indianapolis, and Memphis. Kansas would be well supported if they landed in the South or Midwest regions and advanced to games in Dallas or Detroit as a favorable March path could line up for the Jayhawks.

This year’s team has provided some inconsistency, but the high-ceiling wins have been very impressive, and this will be one of the most experienced and tallest teams in the NCAA Tournament field and looks like a worthy risk at this price when a #2 seed with a favorable travel path is still realistic. Kansas also still has great ammunition in its schedule as making a great late season run including a second or even third win over Houston could push the Jayhawks to the #1-seed line given that they will have one of the best strengths of schedule ratings in the nation. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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