WICHITA, Kan. — No. 1 seed Kansas (27-7) vs. No. 16 seed Pennsylvania (24-8)
First round, Midwest Region; Wichita, Kansas; Thursday, 2 p.m. EDT
BOTTOM LINE: The Jayhawks won their 14th consecutive Big 12 title, then validated it by winning the league tournament to secure the top seed and a favorable geographic start. But the counterpoint to that is facing face Penn, which several metrics label one of the toughest 16-seeds ever.
HEALTH CHECK: Jayhawks center Udoka Azubuike could play against Penn after missing the Big 12 Tournament with a sprained ligament in his left knee. Coach Bill Self said Wednesday that “we feel he’s making unbelievable progress,” but it would be a game-time decision against the Quakers.
WHERE’S WICHITA: Kansas is 4-0 in NCAA Tournament games played a couple hours’ drive south of Lawrence, but the last one was in 1981. The Jayhawks have balked over the years at playing nearby rival Wichita State, making it a rare trip for coach Bill Self’s squad.
FAMILIAR FOE: Penn coach Steve Donohue was an assistant on Quakers teams that went 0-3 against the Jayhawks in the 1990s, including a home-and-home series at The Palestra and Allen Fieldhouse. Donohue also coached Cornell against Kansas at the Phog in January 2010, a game that went down to the wire.
DID YOU KNOW: Penn, which won the Ivy League Tournament, has not won an NCAA tourney game since March 17, 1994, when the Quakers beat former Big 12 school Nebraska. They have lost nine straight.