Tulsa Excited As NCAA Tournament Nears Tip Off

Beth Cruz
March 19, 2017

After the Cyclones fell short in previous seasons, Morris has helped mold them into a potentially risky tournament team. "And the biggest thing about getting the seed that we got is that we get to play in Kansas City (March 23 in the Sweet 16 if KU wins two games in Tulsa)". He's also played fewer than 36 minutes in a game only twice since late January.

Michigan State is experienced, well-coached by Izzo and is no stranger to quality opponents after playing a grueling schedule that included non-conference games against Duke, Kentucky, Arizona and Baylor. This year, Montana State avenged that by defeating Idaho State in the Big Sky championship game.

Caleb Swanigan, Purdue. The 6ft 9in, 250lb forward is one of the strongest players in the tournament and can shoot (averaging 18.5 points) and rebound (12.6) with equal facility.

Asked earlier this week if he thought a No. 16 seed ever would beat a No. 1, Self said it was bound to happen.

As the tip-off of the 2017 NCAA Tournament draws closer, we look at some of the top storylines and how those teams were built through recruiting. Is this the year Kansas gets back to the Final Four? KU Head Coach Bill Self and the team are eager to hit the practice floor tomorrow. He's yet to win a game in the NCAA tournament, but he's been around the block and knows what's what. Averaging 17.3 points per game, Trier has the chance to turn into a star if the Wildcats make a long run.

The Jayhawks (28-4) on Friday will face the victor of Wednesday night's First Four matchup between North Carolina Central and UC Davis.

This doesn't change the fact that they have won the Big 12 for thirteen consecutive years in a row, and have locked in the No. 1 seed in the Midwest.

Drake will play 7 seed Kansas State on Saturday at 3 p.m.in Manhattan, Kansas.

Drake is averaging nearly 20 more points per game (83.1 to 64.3) than their opponents.

The Hurricanes are good enough to subdue Michigan State, and then take a second-half lead over Kansas. "And we're not just going there and saying 'Hey, we're a mid-major, we're in this tournament.' We're going there to win". Class of 2016's No. 1 player, Josh Jackson, is hoping to lead the Jayhawks to the promised land. Their Thursday shootaround at BOK Center, which is open to the public, will run from 4:25 p.m.to 5:05 p.m.

Read below for picks and analysis on every Midwest Region first round game, presented in rough order of confidence.

Entering the NCAA Tournament on a three-game losing streak, the Cowboys will match up against one the hottest teams in the country Friday. Oklahoma State is first. The team didn't leave until the next day, and the eighth-seeded Wolverines rolled to the championship. That would put the Jayhawks into a position very similar to the one they faced last season, when they took on UConn - a program had won a national title as recently as 2014 and two this decade - in the second round in Des Moines, Iowa.

Donovan Mitchell, Louisville guard (6-3, 200): The first-team all-ACC selection averages 15.7 points and 4.6 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. Third-seeded OR or sixth-seeded Creighton could be waiting in the Sweet 16.

The bottom half of the region includes two teams that at points during this season could have been considered candidates for No. 1 seeds. They were two of the more disappointing teams in the nation this season, largely due to turnover-plagued offenses that overshadowed their typically strong defensive play.

Seventh-seeded MI comes into the tournament on a huge roll after winning four games in as many days to capture the Big 10 Conference tournament championship.

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