NCAA Bracket 2011 Predictions: 5 Reasons Kansas Is Destined for a Championship
Another year, another Big 12 regular-season title and Big 12 tournament title for the Kansas Jayhawks.
As the 2011 NCAA tournament brackets have now been filled in, Kansas is looking to be one of the best teams in the country right now with a No. 1 seed.
Let us not forget that Kansas was a No. 1 seed in the 2010 NCAA tournament and collapsed in the second round to Northern Iowa.
It's the Big Dance, and with every tournament come jaw-dropping upsets.
Could Kansas drop another promising-looking postseason run to a mid-major? Or are the Kansas Jayhawks destined to be crowned the champions of the 2011 college basketball seasons?
Come along as we look at the road to the national championship for the Kansas Jayhawks and look into why Kansas will be cutting down the nets in Houston in a few weeks.
Kansas Isn't Playing Far from Home in the Tournament
As opposed to Duke, which will be playing its games out west, Kansas will be relatively close to its home in Lawrence during the 2011 NCAA tournament.
Kansas has the No. 1 seed in the Southwest Region and will play its first set of games in Tulsa, Okla.
Tulsa is about a four-hour drive from Lawrence, which means many fans will make the trip south to see Kansas play its first two games.
Assuming Kansas wins in Tulsa, it will then play its next two games in San Antonio, which will be a bit familiar to Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed (2008 national championship game was in San Antonio).
The KU fanbase runs deep, and you better believe that a majority of the crowd will be wearing crimson and blue. These won't be full-blown home court advantages, but it will help Kansas to have a bunch of fans in the stands.
Kansas fans travel well, especially when the venue isn't halfway across the country.
Kansas Has Experience
Not only is Kansas immensely talented, but the Jayhawks are also a veteran squad.
Two of the three seniors, Morningstar and Reed, were part of the 2007-2008 national championship team.
These guys have been under the pressure of playing in the Final Four and the national championship and have seen the ups and downs of March Madness.
Morningstar and Reed have experienced a national championship, as well as an embarrassing tournament upset to Northern Iowa last season. While the Morris twins and junior Tyshawn Taylor have much experience as well, the senior leadership on this team will help Kansas push forward.
Josh Selby is the only freshman who has seen significant playing time this season, and even his minutes are diminishing due to the solid performances from Taylor and sophomore Elijah Johnson.
Don't worry about the Jayhawks getting nervous before this tournament. They have been here too many times before.
Kansas Has Incredible Depth
I know I have said it before, but it's worth mentioning again.
Kansas may be the most stacked team in the country when it comes to its bench. That's what separates teams like Texas from Kansas. Sure, UT's starting five is solid, but what comes after that? One or two guys who get double-digit minutes?
Kansas can throw multiple combinations of players on the court at any given time. With guys like Josh Selby, Thomas Robinson, Elijah Johnson and Mario Little coming off the bench, it's hard for teams to keep up.
At least four of KU's bench players can start for any other team in the Big 12 and quite possibly the nation. They really are that good.
Kansas can throw the Morris twins and Thomas Robinson at opposing teams and go hard in the paint, and within a minute sub in three guards to run the floor.
This forces changes in defensive schemes almost on the spot. If opposing teams are weak on the bench, it's almost over before it begins.
Kansas Has Momentum
The only other teams that have momentum going into the NCAA tournament like Kansas are Duke and Ohio State.
It seemed as if Kansas had hit a wall when Kansas State ran the table in Manhattan on Feb. 14. Since then, Kansas has steamrolled the majority of its opponents and has looked unstoppable.
As Texas wet the bed while trying to hold on to the Big 12 regular season title, KU took full advantage, ending the season with victories at home against Texas A&M and on the road at Missouri.
But the Jayhawks weren't done there.
This past weekend in Kansas City, Kansas survived a scare against Oklahoma State and then went on to beat Colorado to get back to the Big 12 tournament championship.
This is what the players of Kansas wanted: a rematch with the Texas Longhorns.
Texas, which had defeated Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse earlier in the season to end the nation's longest home winning streak, was smacked in the mouth early and often by Kansas on Saturday.
A few times down the stretch the Longhorns were able to make a few short runs, but nothing could stop the offensive juggernaut that is the Kansas Jayhawks. Even Tyrel Reed threw down against UT for the first time in his collegiate career.
Simply put, the Kansas Jayhawks have more than a full head of steam heading into the NCAA tournament after winning the Big 12 title outright and the Big 12 tournament title.
They've also made a point not to dwell on these titles because a bigger trophy is in mind.
Kansas Has Passion Unlike Any Other Team This Season
If you follow college basketball, then you've probably heard about the tragedy that struck Thomas Robinson and the Kansas Jayhawks this season.
In a span of about three weeks, Robinson lost both of his grandparents and his mother unexpectedly.
Upon receiving the news the night before the Texas game, Robinson still dressed and played against the Longhorns. It was a very emotional game for Kansas, especially because it would end up losing.
But KU made no excuses about it. The players didn't complain about how they were up with T-Rob until five or six in the morning before that game. They shut their mouths and hit the practice gym again the following day.
In her honor, the Kansas jerseys now have an "LR" patch for Lisa Robinson—a tribute of respect and a symbol of passion and motivation.
The Morris twins have been preaching one thing all season: F.O.E., or "Family Over Everything."
If one thing is for certain, the Morris twins are proud of where they come from and who they play for. Every day one of them tweets about F.O.E. and taking no days off. It has become a huge trend for the Kansas fanbase and even beyond.
You can see the passion in every Jayhawk's face when they hit the floor. They yell, scream, clap and smile when playing well. When playing poorly, they huddle each other up and motivate each other.
Kansas is truly a band of brothers unlike any of the teams I have seen play this season. Not only tragedy has brought them close together, but also the bond of knowing that each guy is playing every game at 100 percent.
Marcus Morris' Twitter page states that the only place work comes after success is in the dictionary. These young players have proved just that but have one more stretch of games to endure.
It will be a long and tough road in the coming weeks, but rest assured, the Kansas Jayhawks will be cutting down the nets in Houston.
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