SALT LAKE CITY — Kansas may have had its streak of consecutive Big 12 regular season championships snapped at 14. However, the Jayhawks are still racking up NCAA Tournament appearances. They’ll extended the nation’s all-time longest active streak to 30 straight years Thursday (1:50 p.m, TNT) at Vivint Arena against Northeastern.
“Our focus is trying to win two games this weekend and we know we’ve got a tough opponent,” Kansas coach Bill Self said at a press conference Sunday evening.
Although Self declined to elaborate too much on the possibility, the Jayhawks would be sitting pretty with a couple of wins in Utah. The Midwest Regional finals are in Kansas City.
That’s the good news for the fourth-seeded Jayhawks (25-9). The bad news is they’re not a No. 1 or No. 2 seed for the first time since 2009. In fact, they’ve been a No. 1 seed in each of the previous three seasons.
Kansas started off strong this season by opening with 10 straight wins. The early victories included a 92-87 topping of Michigan State, an 87-81 overtime decision against Tennessee and a 74-71 triumph over Villanova.
The Jayhawks reached the Big 12 Tournament championship game, but fell to Iowa State 78-66.
Junior forward Dedric Lawson leads Kansas with 19.1 points and 10.3 rebounds, while freshman guard Devon Dotson averages 3.6 assists.
Northeastern (23-10) claimed the Colonial Athletic Conference’s automatic berth with an 82-74 win over Hofstra in last week’s league tourney.
“We’re so excited to be included and so excited to play wherever they send us,” Huskies coach Bill Coen told the Associated Press after the game.
Senior guard Vasa Pusica leads Northeastern with 17.8 points and 4.2 assists. Junior guard Bolden Brace is the leading rebounder with 6.0 per game.
This will the first meeting between Kansas and Northeastern. The winner will face Auburn or New Mexico State in the second round on Saturday.
Kansas (25-9, 12-6) vs. Northeastern (23-10, 14–4)
- Kansas: Dedric Lawson, 19.1 ppg; Dedric Lawson, 10.3 rpg; Devon Dotson, 3.6 apg
- Northeastern: Vasa Pusica 17.8 ppg; Bolden Brace 6.0 rpg; Vasa Pusica 4.2 apg
Best winsComment on this story
- Kansas: Kansas 92, Michigan State 87; Kansas 87, Tennessee 81 (OT)
- Northeastern: Northeastern 68, Alabama 52; Northeastern 81, Harvard 71
- Kansas: Arizona State 80, Kansas 76; West Virginia 65, Kansas 64
- Northeastern: Boston 77, Northeastern 74; Delaware 82, Northeastern 80 (2OT)
- Kansas: The Jayhawks dropped a 78-66 decision to Iowa State in the Big 12 Conference Tournament finals.
- Northeastern: The Huskies won the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament for the second time in five years.