The No. 2-seeded Kansas Jayhawks (24-9) face a bit of risk and reward when they take on the No. 15 Eastern Kentucky Colonels (24-9) in the South Region second round on Friday afternoon in St. Louis.
Risk, in that the Colonels, who upset Belmont to win the Ohio Valley Conference's automatic bid, were ranked No. 6 by Bleacher Report's Thad Novak on his list of teams most likely to make a Cinderella run in this year's tournament.
Reward, in that for all of EKU's outside shooting prowess, they are one of the absolute worst rebounding teams in all the nation, and don’t have a big physical presence that could exploit the Jayhawks lack of stud freshman Joel Embiid.
Still, it always seems that a No. 15 seed either pushes a No. 2 to the absolute limit, or like Florida Gulf Coast a season ago, actually pulls the upset.
Kansas remains one of the most dangerous teams in the field, and should they become healthy, could find themselves heading to Arlington to compete for a national championship. But first they'll need to take care of business against a group of upstarts from Richmond, Ky.
These are the X-factors who will determine the outcome when No. 2 Kansas locks up with No. 15 Eastern Kentucky in the Round of 64.