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.