Busting Brackets

NCAA Tournament 2024: 3 potential 1st round upsets to look out for

New Mexico v San Diego State
New Mexico v San Diego State / Ian Maule/GettyImages
2 of 3

2. #13 Samford vs. #4 Kansas 

  • Thursday, 9:55 PM ET, Midwest Region

This is a big gamble and should be monitored very closely. The status of Hunter Dickinson and Kevin McCullar Jr. for the Kansas Jayhawks will be vital and could bode well for Samford if they can't go. There's a key difference between these two teams. 

Kansas talent-wise beats Samford; however, this Jayhawk team compared to others in the past is not very deep, while Samford often goes ten deep. In a game where Kansas's health is in question and they don't have the most productive bench, this game calls for the possibility of an upset. Samford averages more PPG (86), plays with a faster pace (72.8), and shoots a higher percentage from the field and the three-point line. 

The potential loss of Hunter Dickinson plays a huge role in this matchup. Dickinson averages 18.0 PPG and 10.8 REB per game. Kevin McCullar leads the team in scoring with 18.3 PPG. If both cannot go, Kansas will rely heavily on veterans Dajuan Harris and KJ Adams.

Samford, on the other hand, is playing their best basketball of the season, winning the SoCon conference tournament and clinching their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2000. The Bulldogs are led by Achor Achor, who leads the team in points and rebounds with 15.8 PPG and 6.1 REB per game. 

They get key contributions from their entire team, with eight guys averaging five or more PPG. Four out of the five starters average double figures. The depth disparity is the biggest concern, but even if Dickinson and McCullar do play, Samford can very well pull off the biggest upset of round one if they can knock off Bill Self's Jayhawks.