The Jayhawks routed the Governers, setting up a meeting with No. 9 seed UConn in Des Moines on Saturday.
Austin Peay kept this one close—through the first two media timeouts. The Governors started 3 of 4 from the field but a 6–5 lead was the biggest, and last, advantage they had in the game. Kansas sophomore guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk came off the bench and made back-to-back threes as the Jayhawks were off to the races. Guard Josh Robinson was the lone bright spot for the Governors, scoring 14 first-half points—10 more than any of his teammates—and finishing with 24. Their offense dissolved into too much dribbling and isolation offense while Kansas's size, depth and athleticism was too much to handle. The Jayhawks took a 48–28 lead into halftime. A 10–2 Austin Peay run early in the second half forced Kansas coach Bill Self to call a timeout, but Kansas quickly regrouped and coasted to a 105–79 victory. Four Jayhawks scored in double figures, led by Mykhailiuk's career-high 23 points.
Why it matters
First and foremost, No. 1 seeds are still undefeated against No. 16 seeds. Kansas put away a pesky Austin Peay team with relative ease and took away the Governors' strengths in the process. Austin Peay senior center Chris Horton is the nation's leader in offensive rebounds and the Governors made a team-record 16 threes in their last game. Kansas out-rebounded Austin Peay by seven and held the Governors to 4 of 15 from behind the arc. The Jayhawks handled the early resistance and the second-half foul trouble of Devonte' Graham and Wayne Selden Jr. with composure. Kansas played like the No. 1 overall seed in the first round.
Kansas will face No. 9 seed Connecticut in the Round of 32 on Saturday in Des Moines. The Huskies overcame an 11-point deficit against Colorado in the first half for a 74–67 first-round win Thursday afternoon. Kansas has won 15 straight games and UConn has won its last five.