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No. 3 Kansas vs. No. 14 Eastern Washington preview for NCAA Tournament first-round matchup

The No. 3 Kansas and No. 14 Eastern Washington face off in the first round of the 2021 NCAA tournament. We’ve got an initial preview of what and how to watch following Selection Sunday.

Kansas Jayhawks forward David McCormack (33) reacts after a play against the Baylor Bears in the second half at Allen Fieldhouse. Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA Tournament begins on Thursday, March 18th with the First Four, and then moves on to the first round on Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16. The No. 3 seed Kansas Jayhawks will face the No. 14 seed Eastern Washington Eagles in the first round. Game time has yet to be announced but we will update this article with that and game odds as soon as it comes available. For now, we’ve got a preliminary preview of the two teams to get you ready for March Madness!

Once the odds from DraftKings Sportsbook are made available for this game, we’ll add that information below. We’ll also add the game time and TV channel once it’s settled.

Game date: Saturday, March 20
Game time: 1:15 p.m. ET
TV channel: TBS
Location: Farmers Coliseum

Odds: Kansas -11.5
Over/Under: 141

No. 3 Kansas

The 2020-21 version of the Kansas Jayhawks did not dominate the Big 12 as they typically do in most years. It was the Baylor Bears that dominated the conference this season. Though this isn’t the exactly the best Kansas team we’ve seen, they play hard especially on the defensive end of the floor. The Jayhawks enter the tournament ranked No. 8 in adjusted defensive efficiency. Kansas finds their struggles on the offensive end where they come in at No. 50 in adjusted offensive efficiency.

Though the offense does not rate well according to the metrics, Kansas has a balanced scoring attack with all five starters averaging in double digits. Ochai Agbaji and David McCormack are averaging more than 13 points per game, and freshman forward Jalen Wilson is the leading rebounder with 8.4 rebounds per game and 12.6 points. The status of McCormack for the NCAA tournament is up in the air however, and the team had to leave Kansas City and the Big 12 Championship due to COVID-19.

Record: 20-8, 12-6 Big 12
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 59
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 6
ATS: 14-12-1
Over Total: 13-14
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +2000

No. 14 Eastern Washington

The Eastern Washington Eagles defeated the Montana State Bobcats 66-55 in the Big Sky championship game to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament. It will be their third time in the big dance, with their most recent appearance happening in 2015. Eastern Washington was the No. 2 seed in the Big Sky conference tournament and finished with a record of 16-7. The Eagles are one of the better offensive teams in the country, averaging 78 points and 15.1 assists per game.

The two players to keep an eye on for Eastern Washington are junior forward Tanner Groves and junior guard Kim Aiken Jr. Groves is the team’s leading scorer with 16.4 points per game, while also adding 8.1 rebounds per game. Aiken Jr. leads the team in rebounds (8.5), steals (1.3), and blocks (1.1). He is also right behind Groves in scoring with 11.7 points per game.

Record: 16-7, 12-3 Big Sky
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 86
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency:152
ATS: 15-7
Over Total: 12-10
Odds to win NCAA Championship: N/A