By now, I'm sure you have heard all of the post-bracket release chatter about Kansas drawing the toughest region of the four. It was the lead off to every ESPN show on Monday. Now, I believe they have the toughest bracket when examining as a whole, but most of the scary teams come from the bottom half of the Midwest bracket opposite of Kansas. As I stated last entry, I believe Kentucky has the toughest path to reach the Final Four (of the top seeds DBZ), and Ohio St or West Virginia has the biggest gripe. The committee gave those four teams, the best four teams in the country right now, no love. However, I don't see this as a negative thing for Kansas at all, and in fact think this will benefit them.
Now how could facing a bigger challenge than another team be a good thing? Well, realistically, it doesn't make sense. Tangibly, it does not make sense. So how does it make sense? Mentality. Instead of going into this tournament with the mindset of being the overall favorite, with anything short of a National Championship being considered a choke job, they go into it with an extra chip on their shoulder. Remember, these kids are watching the exact same sports shows we are watching. They are wandering why we got screwed just as much as Kansas fans everywhere. Hopefully, this means that they are not focused on 10 of the 13 talking heads from ESPN picking Kansas to win it all. I will forever be convinced that a team will play with more heart when their attitude reflects an "us against the world" mindset. Mentality.
Let's take a look at the recent history of KU bringing a 1 seed into the Tournament: 1995- Lost to 4th seeded Virginia- don't remember. 1997- Lost to 4th seeded Arizona- possibly best KU team ever losing to the eventual National Champion. 1998- Lost to 8th seeded Rhode Island- worst of the batch, especially since in came to the dislikable L'Odom. 2002- Lost to 1 seed Maryland in the Final Four- Nothing too shabby. 2007- Lost to 2nd seeded UCLA- technically an upset, but UCLA was the better team. 2008- National Championship. The trend seems to be on the upswing, with most of the big upsets occurring in the 90's, but I assure you if you asked an avid Big East fan their perception of Kansas, it would not be too kind. Perception.
I see this tournament as Kansas' chance to forever move past their mantra of being soft favorites come March. Maybe it's just me that is still caught up on this. Maybe most Kansas fans moved past it with the 2008 National Championship. But, they were not the favorite in that tournament. They were a one seed, but the lowest ranked of the one seeds. They thrived in the underdog role once reaching the Final Four. They almost gagged with being the huge favorites against lil' Davidson. I now want that exact same path for every future KU team because I've seen it work. Triumph.
A National Championship completely erases anything ugly from the recent history of Kansas basketball. They would find themselves sitting atop this generation of College Basketball. They have an opportunity to triumph over their perceived image, in the exact situation that led to that image. Hopefully, the tough draw has provided them with the correct mindset necessary to win it all. Mentality. Perception. Triumph.