Letter to the editor: Hoops excellence

To the editor:

  • 347 Division I basketball schools.
  • 32 automatic bids by the hottest teams in March.
  • 36 at large bids, hoping they did well enough.
  • 68 out of 347, just under 20 percent enter a single elimination tournament with the hot teams that were able to make a run in their conference tourney and the 36 strongest performers over an entire season.

There are no easy wins in the NCAA Tournament. Only easy outs.

Being one of the last teams standing, whether that’s a group of 16 (top 4.6 percent), an Elite Eight (top 2.3 percent) or the Final Four (top 1.1 percent), is never a disappointment.

Why is it that Kansas can be cited as a letdown at all in March? It’s because every year we’re in a position that over 300 teams envy — a position to compete for the highest stakes.

There are over 4,500 players scattered among those 347 teams. And there are 15 in the heart of America that know every season that the question isn’t about whether we can make it. It’s about how many banners we’re going to hang that year.

No matter who those 15 are, they’re part of one of the greatest team legacies of any sport. They walk onto a legendary court, ensuring that every year Kansas’ expectations remain as high as Phog’s name in the rafters.

l 347 teams start; 68 earn a chance; one wins a year.

But every year, Kansas is there. And that’s something that any fan base, coach or player in this country would call excellence.