Talented Kansas a challenging obstacle for No. 15 seed EKU

March 16, 2014 

  • Tournament opener

    Eastern Kentucky vs. Kansas

    South Regional at St. Louis, Mo.

    When: 4:10 p.m. Friday

    Records: No. 15 seed Eastern Kentucky 24-9, No. 2 Kansas 24-9

    EKU Roster | Schedule/results | Team Stats
    Kansas Roster | Schedule/results | Team Stats

    ABOUT KANSAS

    Location: Lawrence, Kan.

    Enrollment: 27,939

    Nickname: Jayhawks

    School colors: Crimson and Blue

    Head coach: Bill Self (348-77 in 11 seasons at Kansas; 555-182 in 21 seasons overall)

    Conference: Big 12 (Kansas won the regular-season championship, then lost to Iowa State in the semifinals of the conference tournament)

    All-time series: Kansas leads 1-0

    Last meeting: Kansas won 79-65 on Dec. 5, 1970 at Lawrence, Kan.

    Most notable victory this season: Kansas beat No. 3 Midwest Region seed Duke 94-83 in the Champions Classic at Chicago on Nov. 12.

Eastern Kentucky earned its first trip to the Big Dance since 2007 by winning the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament last weekend. Its reward? A big-time assignment.

The No. 15-seeded Colonels are bound for St. Louis, where they'll take on No. 2 seed Kansas on Friday in a South Regional matchup.

The Colonels (24-9) are making their eighth NCAA Tournament appearance.

Kansas has made the tournament 24 years straight, the longest active streak in the nation.

The Colonels face one of the nation's most talented teams in the Jayhawks (24-9), who are led by star freshman Andrew Wiggins.

It looked at one point as if Kansas was in line for a No. 1 seed, but the Jayhawks went 2-2 over their last four games and lost starting center Joel Embiid to stress fracture in his back. Kansas lost nine games but played the nation's toughest schedule.

In EKU, the Jayhawks face the type of guard-oriented team that has given them trouble.

Coach Bill Self said the Jayhawks need to focus on playing with energy on defense and guarding the three-point line.

"We're not great defensively," Self said, "but we can play great defensively when we play with energy. And that's been proven. But when we don't, there's too big of dropoff."

The Colonels, led by guards Corey Walden (14.1 ppg) and Glenn Cosey, have won seven straight. Walden, who scored 29 points in the OVC title game, was named OVC defensive player of the year. Cosey (18.8 points, 4.2 assists, 42.5 three-point percentage) was named OVC first team. Kansas also needs to keep an eye on high-flyer Marcus Lewis, a 6-4 guard who will probably be in the college dunk contest on Final Four weekend.

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