Kansas Doesn't Underestimate Elite Eight Game Against VCU: "They're Scrappy"

Martha CoppCorrespondent IMarch 27, 2011

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 25:  Head coach Bill Self of the Kansas Jayhawks reacts during the southwest regional of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament against the Richmond Spiders at the Alamodome on March 25, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

And then there was one.

No. 1, that is.

With No. 1 seeds Ohio State, Duke, and Pittsburgh out of the NCAA tournament, one has to wonder: Will Kansas fall, too? Or will it dance its way to the Final Four?

No. 1 Kansas will face No. 11 Virginia Commonwealth Sunday at 2:30 p.m. As always,  loyal Jayhawk fans are confident that Coach Bill Self will lead his team to the Final Four.

But as we saw earlier this week, anything can happen.

Coach Self understands the pressure and scrutiny of being the remaining top seed. "It's exciting because we're the one, but I don't know how these guys feel. I haven't really spent much time studying anything but the Southwest bracket. And the Southwest bracket has the two remaining teams in it that's played the best."

"So it's not about seeds. It's not about anything other than matchups and players and certainly two teams that are playing very well at the same time, playing for high stakes. To me, that's exciting. But the No. 1 seeds that have exited the tournament so far I think is more of a statement to what can happen in college basketball than anything else," Coach Self told the media at Saturday's press conference.

"I'm really looking forward to a great challenge against a really good team that's on fire right now and has kind of caught the attention of America with the way they performed. [We] know we'll have to play very, very well to give us the best chance to advance."

"But they [VCU] play—I don't want to say a unique style, but an aggressive style. They're very scrappy. They'll press. They'll play straight man, they'll play zone. They've been in attack mode for their first four games of the NCAA tournament and been very successful."

Coach Self has been reminding the players of how easy it is to get knocked out and how easy it is to get caught up in rankings.

Kansas star Brady Morningstar agrees. "I feel like there's pressure on every team in the NCAA tournament, there's pressure on us and pressure on VCU, regardless of the seedings. We know they're playing really good right now. They're shooting the ball real well, and they're on a four-game winning streak against some really great teams."

"I think we don't want to overlook no team. I don't think we have. I think we did a good job our first couple of games. We want to go into every game when we're playing against every team respecting them, like Duke and North Carolina. VCU beat a lot of good teams so far and we don't want to overlook no team," Markieff Morris said.

Though Kansas was favored in several brackets to win the NCAA tournament, VCU has made a surprisingly strong case. Few fans picked this No. 11 seed bracket buster to make it this far. There are rumblings that compare VCU to the 2006 George Mason team. George Mason, also a No. 11 seed, beat Connecticut in the region finals to advance to the Final Four.

However, VCU lacks experience. The Rams have made only nine tournament appearances, let alone made it to the Final Four. They are 5-9 in the NCAA tournament, whereas Kansas boasts an impressive 85-38 record, including a 2008 championship.

VCU is certainly on fire, but how long until the flames burn out?