Ad Astra Radio Family Brands

No. 4 Seed Kansas to Face No. 13 Seed Samford Thursday in Salt Lake City


LAWRENCE, Kan. ( – No. 4 seed Kansas (22-10) will play No. 13 seed Samford (29-5) on Thursday, March 21, in the opening round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament. The contest from the Delta Center in Salt Lake City will begin at 8:55 p.m. CT and will be televised on TBS.

Kansas is making its 51st NCAA Tournament appearance and has a 112-49 record in the event. The Jayhawks have advanced to 31 Sweet 16 contests, 15 Final Fours and four of their five national championships have been in NCAA Championship format (1952, 1988, 2008, 2022).

Kansas and Samford are meeting for the first time in men’s basketball.

Since seeding in the NCAA Tournament began in 1979, Kansas enters the event a No. 4 seed for the sixth time overall and the first time since 2019. KU has been a No. 4 seed in 1994, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2019 and 2024.

This season, No. 17 Kansas has played No. 1 UConn, No. 2 Houston (twice), No. 4 Iowa State, No. 6 Tennessee, No. 8 Marquette, No. 12 Kentucky, No. 14 Baylor (twice), No. 21 BYU and No. 22 Texas Tech. The Jayhawks are 7-4 against ranked foes in 2023-24.

Kansas enters Thursday’s contest averaging 75.3 points per game with a plus-6.6 scoring margin. The Jayhawks pull down 36.0 rebounds per outing with a plus-2.4 rebound margin. Kansas leads the nation in assists per game at 18.8. The Jayhawks also lead the Big 12 and are 17th nationally in field goal percentage at 48.8%. KU also averages 7.3 steals and 3.9 blocked shots per contest.

Named to most every national player of the year late watch list and an All-Big 12 First Team selection, graduate G Kevin McCullar Jr. leads the Big 12 in scoring at 18.3 points per game. His two triple-doubles are the third most in the NCAA. McCullar is second on the team with 39 three-point field goals made and his 6.0 rebounds per game are also second on the team. McCullar ranks in 11 Big 12 statistical categories.

Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and an All-Big 12 First Team selection, senior C Hunter Dickinson leads the Big 12 and is eighth nationally in rebounds per game at 10.8. His 16 double-doubles lead the Big 12 and are 16th nationally and he leads the league with 14 games of 20 points or more and 17 contests with 10 or more rebounds. With an 18.0 ppg, which is second in the Big 12 behind McCullar, Dickinson is the only player in the Big 12 averaging a double-double. Dickinson also leads KU with 43 blocked shots and has 29 steals.

Junior F KJ Adams Jr. leads the Big 12 with a 60.1 field goal shooting percentage, which is 19th nationally. Adams averages 12.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game and is third on the team with 98 assists and 38 steals.

Redshirt-senior G Dajuan Harris Jr. is second in the Big 12 with 6.3 assists per game, which is 12th nationally, and fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.8), which is 31st nationally. Harris averages 8.3 points per contest and has a team-high 49 steals.

Freshman G Johnny Furphy (8.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg) averaged 11.4 points and 6.1 rebounds in Big 12 play. He has started in 17 games for KU and leads Kansas with 40 threes made this season.

Other KU regulars include graduate G Nicolas Timberlake (4.7 ppg, 25 3FGs, six starts), freshman G Elmarko Jackson (4.2 ppg, 55 assists, 23 steals, 17 starts), graduate F Parker Braun (2.2 ppg, 20 blocked shots) and freshman G Jamari McDowell (1.9 ppg).

Should Kansas win its game against Samford on March 21, KU would play the winner of No. 5 Gonzaga vs. No. 12 McNeese State on Saturday, March 23.

Kansas is 1-1 versus Gonzaga with an 80-66 win on Nov. 13, 1998, in Allen Fieldhouse and a 102-90 loss on Nov. 26, 2020, in the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tipoff in Fort Myers, Florida, in the first game of the 2020-21 COVID season. Gonzaga was No. 1 and Kansas No. 6 in the most recent meeting. Kansas and McNeese State would be meeting for the first time in men’s basketball.