From the Associated Press...
The last two times Kansas won by more than 20 points in the first round as a No. 1 seed, it was upset in the second round.
Year 2nd-rd opponent Result
2008 UNLV ?
1998 Rhode Island Lost
1992 UTEP Lost
Apparently the AP is relying on a source that isn't quite up to date. I can't think of any other reason to not mention last year's run as a #1 seed that started with a 40 point win over Niagara and continued with a convincing win over Kentucky.
But enough about that. As expected (but never to be underestimated), the Jayhawks dispatched Portland St. with relative ease today and will now move on to play UNLV on Saturday. I don't know a whole lot about the Rebels just yet, except that they play exceptional halfcourt defense, but they're pretty small. The key player to stop will be Wink Adams, as he not only leads them in scoring, but also chips in some rebounds and is one of their better assist guys. As I'm sure you know, they are coached by ex-Wildcat Lon Kruger - who, by the way, would have been a lot better long-term choice than Frank Martin - but that's neither here nor there.
Long story short, UNLV is extremely solid and will definitely try and slow the game down and win it with their defense. Interesting stat from their game today - in the first half, they held Kent St. to 10 points, 1 assist and forced 17 turnovers. I wasn't watching it too closely, so it's hard to say if that was more on account of their defense or Kent St being nervous, but if I had to guess, I'd say a little bit of both. Clearly, this is their strength.
But the Hawks should have an ENORMOUS advantage on the inside as the tallest Rebel is Matt Shaw, who is listed at 6'8" and pulls down 4 boards a game. Their best inside player is Joe Darger (6'7"), who averages 11 and 5. Their third leading scorer is Curtis Terry (6'5"), and he puts together a 10, 5 and 3 type game. A la Brandon Rush, their leading rebounder is wing player, Rene Rougeau (6'6"), pulling down almost 6 a game, while scoring 9 per.
So if you can't tell, the game will be won in the paint. The Jayhawks have an incredible size advantage and have really no excuse for not dominating the boards. If it does turn out to be a slow, close game, this will prove especially key as winning the rebounding battle will not only limit them to 1-shot possessions, but also give the Hawks a chance to steal some easy points on the offensive end.
We'll try and check back in periodically, but are making no promises. As for the Big 12, so far the league is 1-1, as Baylor decided not to show up for their first tournament appearance in 20 years. I mean, why bother? But all kidding aside, I guess congrats are in order for them making it, but I can't imagine they are too happy with the piss poor showing they gave. There are two more conference games tonight as Beasley takes on USC and Texas A&M faces up against the Mormons of BYU.