Midwest Region: Northeastern vs Kansas Prediction
Northeastern vs Kansas Preview
The 4th-seeded Kansas Jayhawks are the heavy favorites over the Colonial Athletic Association champ, 13th-seeded Northeastern, but this KU squad is very susceptible to the upset.
You don’t have to look too far back in NCAA tournament history to find No. 13 seeds having success against their No. 4 seeded opponents. Two No. 13 seeds pulled off upsets just last year when Buffalo silenced Arizona, 89-68, and Marshall knocked off Wichita State, 81-75.
The last time Kansas was a No. 4 seed was back in 2006 when the Jayhawks were upset by No. 13 seed Bradley, 77-73.
This Huskies team is talented, experienced and is one of the most dangerous teams in the country from downtown. Led by senior Vasa Pusica, Northeastern focuses on a four-guard lineup and all of them have success from beyond the arc:
• Jordan Roland: 97 for 238 (.408)
• Vasa Pusica: 57 for 142 (.401)
• Bolden Brace: 56 for 135 (.415)
• Donnell Gresham Jr.: 55 for 140 (.393)
Expect a lot of three-pointers to be attempted, it’s just a matter of if they fall.
“You know, that’s what worked for us at our level,” Northeastern head coach Bill Coen said. “We’ll see what happens at the next level.”
The obvious advantage for Kansas is going to be their size, and Coen knows it:
“We’re like most mid-majors, it’s hard to get quality bigs,” Coen said of Northeastern’s style. “We play a little bit of a ball-screen motion offense. We share the ball, and obviously the 3-point shot is a big part of what we do.”
Kansas has posted a 25-9 record and went 12-6 in Big 12 play, good for a third-place finish–the first time they did not earn a share of the Big 12 regular season title in 14 years.
Northeastern: Three-point shooting and Pusica’s play against Power Five size. If the Huskies are successful from deep and they work inside-out—meaning they aren’t afraid to drive the ball inside against KU’s size and kick it out for open three-point looks. If NU keeps the ball along the perimeter, the Jayhawks will gameplan and focus solely on stopping the long-range shot. Showing that they are willing to go inside, will keep the Kansas defense honest.
Kansas: Dedric Lawson. He will be the most talented player on the floor in this game, but he needs to play like it. Too many times this season and when he was with Memphis did he disappear at times, seemingly losing focus. He needs to step up and be the top dog many expected him to be when he and his brother transferred to Lawrence last year. On the season Lawson is averaging a double-double 19.1 points and 10.7 rebounds per night–if he hits those numbers, KU should advance.
LINE: -7 Kansas
Dan’s Bet: +7 Northeastern
Bracket Pick: Northeastern
Score Prediction: Northeastern 80 Kansas 75