LAWRENCE, Kan. – Picked as a No. 3 seed for the fifth time in program history, the Kansas men’s basketball team will make its 31st-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The nation’s longest-active streak, and the best all-time, will start against the No. 14-seed Eastern Washington Eagles in the West Region on Saturday, March 20.
Kansas posted a 20-8 overall record throughout the 2020-21 season to this point, while going 12-6 in Big 12 play for a second-place regular-season finish. Eastern Washington held a 16-7 overall record and 12-3 in conference during the 2020-21 season, winning the Big Sky Conference Tournament for an automatic qualifier bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles have won 13 of their last 14 games after a 1-4 start to the season.
This marks the fifth time and first since 2009 that the Jayhawks have held the No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament, where they hold an 8-4 overall record. The Jayhawks and Eagles have not met in the NCAA Tournament, with their only meeting coming on December 5, 2007 in Lawrence, where KU defeated Eastern Washington, 85-47.
About No. 3 Seed Kansas (20-8, 12-6 Big 12)
No. 11/12 Kansas is 20-8 (12-6 Big 12) after 69-62 win against No. 25/24 Oklahoma on March 11. Kansas averages 73.1 points per game and has a +7.4 scoring margin. KU leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense (40.6%). KU also ranks in the upper half of 12 Big 12 statistical categories: scoring defense (second at 65.7), scoring margin (fourth at +7.4), rebounding (fourth at 38.0), 3FG% (fifth at 34.4), 3FG% Defense (fourth at 32.6), 3FGs made (fourth at 7.5), blocked shots (third at 4.1), assists (third at 13.7), turnover margin (fifth at +1.6) and assist-to-turnover ratio (fifth at 1.1).
- Kansas is making its 49th NCAA Tournament appearance and has a 108-47 record in the event. The Jayhawks have advanced to 31 Sweet 16 contests, 15 Final Fours and three of their five national championships have been in NCAA Championship format (1952, 1988, 2008).
- Kansas’ 31-consecutive NCAA Championship appearances, beginning in 1990, is the longest active streak and the longest consecutive in NCAA tourney appearances history.
- Since seeding in the NCAA Tournament began in 1979, this is the fifth time Kansas entered the event a No. 3 seed. KU was also a No. 3 seed in 1985, 1991, 2005 and 2009. The Jayhawks are 8-4 all-time as a No. 3 seed.
- This year marks the 21st-straight season that the Jayhawks have earned a top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament.
- Kansas has won its last 13 NCAA Tournament first-round games, a string which started in 2007.
- Kansas has two active players – Marcus Garrett and Mitch Lightfoot – who played in KU’s last Final Four appearance in 2018. Lightfoot was also part of KU’s 2017 Elite Eight run.
- Under head coach Bill Self, Kansas is 38-15 (71.7 percent) in the NCAA Tournament with 10 Sweet 16s, eight Elite Eights, three Final Fours, one NCAA National Championship and one NCAA runner-up finish.
- Kansas sports an all-time NCAA Tournament record of 108-47. The Jayhawks’ 108 wins trail only Kentucky (131), North Carolina (126) and Duke (115).
- The Jayhawks will play their 156th NCAA Tournament game in its first round. The Jayhawks’ 155 games in the event rank third all-time in NCAA history, behind Kentucky (184) and North Carolina (182).
- KU’s NCAA Tournament winning percentage of 69.7% ranks sixth all-time for a minimum of 20 games played.
- KU is one of nine schools that has won at least three NCAA Tournaments. The Jayhawks won the NCAA crown in 1952, 1988 and 2008. The other schools are: UCLA (11), Kentucky (8), North Carolina (6), Indiana (5), Duke (5), Connecticut (4), Kansas (3) and Villanova (3).
- Kansas has appeared in the Final Four 15 times, making KU one of just seven schools to reach the Final Four 10-plus times: North Carolina (20), UCLA (17), Kentucky (17), Duke (16), Kansas (15), Michigan State and Ohio State (10).
- Five different Jayhawks have been named NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player, including B.H. Born in 1953 and Wilt Chamberlain in 1957, who both won the award even though KU lost in the title game. Clyde Lovellette (1952) and Danny Manning (1988) also won the honor. Mario Chalmers won the Most Outstanding Player Award for the 2008 NCAA Championship.
About No. 14 Seed Eastern Washington (16-7, 12-3 Big Sky)
Eastern Washington will make its third appearance in the NCAA tournament after earning an automatic qualifier bid by winning the 2021 Big Sky Conference Tournament over Montana State, 65-55. The Eagles average 78.0 points per game with a +8.6 scoring margin. Eastern Washington was led by Big Sky Tournament Most Valuable Player, Jacob Groves who averaged 16.4 points per game.
- Eastern Washington enters the NCAA Tournament for the third time in school history and the first time since 2015.
- The Eagles were a No. 13 seed in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, where they fell in the first round to No. 4 seeded Georgetown, 84-74.
- In the 2004 NCAA Tournament, No. 15 seeded Eastern Washington fell to No. 2 seed Oklahoma State in the first round, 75-56.
- Eastern Washington is 0-2 in the round of 64.