The NCAA Tournament begins on Tuesday, March 14th with the First Four, and then moves on to the First Round on Thursday, March 16 and Friday, March 17. The No. 1 seed Kansas Jayhawks will face the No. 16 seed Howard Bison on Thursday, March 16.
Here’s an early look at what we can expect from the matchup.
Once 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: Thursday, March 16
Game time: 2 p.m. ET
TV channel: TBS
Location: Des Moines, IA
Odds: Kansas -23
No. 1 Kansas
Kansas has a serious shot to repeat after going through an absolute gauntlet of a regular season. Given how good the Big 12 was this year and how challenging the Jayhawks’ non-conference schedule was, they went an unbelievable 17-7 in Quad 1 games. Essentially, Bill Self’s group has been supremely battle tested in the regular season and shouldn’t face any situation in the tournament too big for them.
Jalen Wilson (20.1 PPG) and Gradey Dick (14.1 PPG) give Kansas two legitimate scoring threats, keeping opposing teams from being able to consistently double-team either player. It’s hard to believe, but less than a year removed from a national title, Kansas might be better this year. The Jayhawks will not concede their title defense without a legitimate fight.
Record: 27-7, 13-5 Big 12
Coach: Bill Self
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 28
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 7
PPP overall: 1.041
Leading scorer: Jalen Wilson
Quad 1 record: 17-7
Against The Spread: 16-18-0
Over Total: 16-18-0
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +750
No. 16 Howard
Howard dethroned Norfolk State to claim the MEAC Tournament title, and will be dancing for the first time since 1992. After a shaky start to the season in their non-conference schedule, the Bison picked up momentum during MEAC play and ultimately won the regular season title. Sophomore guard Elijah Hawkins is a player to look out for as he averaged 13.1 points and 5.9 assists this year.
The Bison has been prolific from beyond the arc this season, collectively shooting 37.9% from three as a team. They have also been excellent on the offensive glass with an offensive rebound percentage rate of 33.9%.
Record: 22-12, 11-3 MEAC
Coach: Kenny Blakeney
KenPom overall: 216
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 204
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 212
PPP overall: 1.005
Leading scorer: Elijah Hawkins