Kansas Basketball: Jayhawks' Easiest Road to Winning the 2013 NCAA Title
Unless you are the 2008-09 North Carolina Tar Heels, a team that blew through the NCAA tournament by winning each game by at least 12 points, nothing comes easy at the dance.
Despite that, a few potential attractive matchups remain for Kansas in its quest for a second title in six seasons.
The Jayhawks, a team oftentimes flustered by aggressive double-teams and hot perimeter shooting, see a bevy of versatile teams with plenty of tourney experience ahead as we look at the easiest road to a title.
Elite Eight: Florida Gulf Coast
Florida Gulf Coast could record the greatest Cinderella run in tourney history with two wins this weekend. While the Eagles' run-and-gun high-flying offense has both John Thompson III and Steve Fisher scratching their heads, Andy Enfield's team remains the best Elite Eight matchup for Kansas.
FGCU's opponent, the Florida Gators, present matchup issues for the Jayhawks with a versatile offense hitting on all cylinders.
Mike Rosario led Florida's eighth-ranked offense (field-goal percentage) to a 65 percent first-half shooting clip en route to a dominating offensive performance in Sunday's win over Minnesota. Florida also shot 50 percent from three-point land, a terrifying stat for Kansas fans and all the more reason to cheer for the Eagles.
Those Eagles are led by their immensely efficient point guard Brett Comer, who has recorded 24 assists and only five turnovers in two games. If Elijah Johnson and Ben McLemore can contain the sophomore guard, the versatile Florida Gulf Coast frontcourt trio of Chase Fieler (6'8"), Eric McKnight (6'9") and Eddie Murray (6'8") will have difficultly drawing the Kansas bigs away from the paint.
The entire non-Jayhawk world would despise KU on Sunday if the Eagles advance, but it remains a better matchup than Florida.
Final Four: Marquette
Marquette is alive and two wins away from the Sweet 16, somehow.
The Golden Eagles are not a dynamic scoring team and struggle rebounding the basketball while fighting off agonizing turnovers for much of the regular-season. Furthermore, Buzz Williams' squad is horrendous from beyond the arc (30 percent) and Davante Gardner is only one of two big men taller than 6'7".
Yes, Marquette is easily the best potential Final Four matchup for Kansas.
The Jayhawks could have difficulty guarding Indiana's quartet of possible three-point shooters, containing Miami's Shane Larkin and preventing Syracuse's James Southerland from luring the KU's bigs into foul trouble.
National Championship: Arizona
First, facing No. 13 seed La Salle in the title game gives Kansas its best chance at its second title in six seasons, but the Explorers have a better chance of landing an ACC invite than reeling off three more wins.
That being said, Arizona would be the most appetizing matchup for the Jayhawks in Atlanta.
A wildly inconsistent bunch, the Mark Lyons-led Wildcats have rode excellent perimeter shooting and near-flawless free-throw shooting into their Sweet 16 game against Ohio State.
While Lyons is one of six players who can hit from deep, none of the six present overwhelming matchup issues for Kansas, assuming the Jayhawks can continue a recent trend of frustrating point guards with narrow passing lanes and suffocating paint defense.