Kansas or Samford? How to pick 4 vs. 13 matchup in 2024 March Madness bracket

Kansas hobbled into March Madness and now — thanks to those key injuries — it will face a tough opponent in Samford.

The Jayhawks lost four of their last five games entering the NCAA Tournament. With key starters like Hunter Dickinson and Kevin McCullar Jr. in and out of the lineup due to injury, Kansas struggled to stay afloat.

After getting thrashed by 30 points to No. 1-ranked Houston to close the regular season, the Jayhawks lost to Cincinnati by 20 in their first Big 12 Tournament game.

Samford is not an opponent to be taken lightly, finishing just shy of a 30-win season while cruising its way to a Southern Conference Tournament championship.

Will Kansas be healthy enough to avoid a first-round upset? The Sporting News breaks down the matchup below.

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Kansas vs. Samford odds

Kansas is favored to beat Samford, according to odds from BetMGM.

  • Odds: Kansas -7.5
  • Date: Thursday, March 21
  • Time: 9:55 p.m. ET
  • TV: TBS
  • Arena: Delta Center, Salt Lake City, UT

Kansas (22-10, 10-8 Big 12)

Injuries will decide Kansas’ 2024 NCAA Tournament fate.

The Jayhawks got off to a strong start in the 2023-24 season until the injury bug came for key contributors. McCullar — who is arguably Kansas’ most important player — has been dealing with a nagging bone bruise on his knee. That ailment cost the senior guard six games this season and he was ruled out for the Big 12 Tournament.

To make matters worse, Dickinson dislocated his shoulder in the Jayhawks’ 30-point loss to Houston in the season finale. That injury also sidelined him for the Big 12 Tournament, resulting in Kansas losing the first game of the event.

There is no telling if Dickinson or McCullar will be ready to go for March Madness. Head coach Bill Self said Dickinson is “doing great,” and has returned to practice, while McCullar hasn’t done any on-court work as of Selection Sunday.

If those two are healthy and available, Kansas could have a deep run in it. If not, the team could be on upset watch against Samford.

  • NET ranking: 19
  • KenPom ranking:
  • Quad 1 record: 7-9
  • Quad 2 record: 6-0
  • Quad 3 record: 4-1
  • Quad 4 record: 4-0
  • Offensive efficiency ranking: 65
  • Defensive efficiency ranking: 10

Key players

Hunter Dickinson (7-1, 255-pound senior center)

18.0 PTS, 10.8 REB, 2.2 AST, 1.4 BLK

Kevin McCullar Jr. (6-6, 205-pound senior guard)

18.3 PTS, 6.0 REB, 4.1 AST, 1.5 STL

Dajuan Harris (6-1, 160-pound junior guard)

8.3 PTS, 6.3 AST, 1.8 REB, 1.5 STL

KJ Adams (6-7, 225-point junior forward)

12.4 PTS, 4.5 REB, 3.1 AST, 1.2 STL

Johnny Furphy (6-9, 202-pound freshman forward)

8.8 PTS, 4.7 REB, 0.9 STL

STREAM: Watch 2024 NCAA Tournament games live with Sling

Samford (29-5, 15-3 SoCon)

Samford dominated the SoCon this season as one of the highest-scoring teams in the nation.

Led by junior forward Achor Achor’s 15.8 points per game, the Bulldogs average the fifth-most points (86.0) in the NCAA. Their 39.3 3-point percentage and 9.9 3-pointers per game rank 16th and ninth in the country, respectively.

Two of Samford’s five losses came against Quad 1 teams, so Kansas poses a tough threat to this mid-major squad.

It was a long way back in November, but Purdue handled the Bulldogs by 53 points to open the season behind 16 points and 11 rebounds from Zach Edey. If Dickinson is healthy enough to play, he could give Samford’s smaller frontcourt similar issues.

  • NET ranking: 74
  • KenPom ranking: 
  • Quad 1 record: 0-2
  • Quad 2 record: 2-0
  • Quad 3 record: 10-3
  • Quad 4 record: 15-0
  • Offensive efficiency ranking: 69
  • Defensive efficiency ranking: 116

Key players

Achor Achor (6-9, 222-pound junior forward)

15.8 PTS, 6.1 REB, 1.8 BLK, 1.5 STL

Jermaine Marshall (6-6, 220-pound senior forward)

10.9 PTS, 5.1 REB, 1.4 AST, 1.3 STL

Jaden Campbell (6-5, 205-pound senior guard)

11.1 PTS, 3.3 REB, 0.9 STL

Rylan Jones (6-0, 179-pound senior guard)

9.4 PTS, 4.9 AST, 3.0 REB, 1.5 STL

A.J. Staton-McCray (6-5, 190-pound junior guard)

11.6 PTS, 4.6 REB, 1.6 STL, 1.2 AST

MORE: Buy tickets to 2024 March Madness games

Kansas vs. Samford prediction

This is a tough one to predict without knowing the availability of McCullar and Dickinson.

As mentioned above, head coach Bill Self said that Dickinson has resumed on-court work while McCullar has not. Dickinson’s size would give Kansas a significant mismatch to Samford’s small-ball style of play, but McCullar is also the engine that makes the Jayhawks go.

On top of that, those two Kansas stars combine for over 36 points per game. That scoring production is vital going up against a Bulldogs team that can put up a lot of points in a hurray.

If both players suit up for Kansas, it should have no problem winning — and covering 7.5 points.

If either Dickinson or McCullar are out of the lineup, Samford has a strong chance to cover. If neither of them plays, don’t be surprised to see the Bulldogs pull off an improbable upset.

Under the assumption that Dickinson and McCullar are going to suit up, rock with the Jayhawks.

HISTORY OF UPSETS BY SEED:
16 vs. 1 | 15 vs. 2 | 14 vs. 3 | 13 vs. 4 | 12 vs. 5

History of 4 vs. 13 matchups in NCAA Tournament

You can find the complete history of 13-over-4 upsets in the NCAA Tournament below.

Year Winner Loser Score
1986 Cleveland State Indiana 83-79
1986 Arkansas Little-Rock Notre Dame 90-83
1987 Austin Peay Illinois 68-67
1988 Murray State NC State 78-75
1989 Siena Stanford 80-78
1990 Northern Iowa Missouri 74-71
1991 Xavier Nebraska 89-84
1992 ETSU Arizona 87-80
1995 Old Dominion Villanova 89-81
1995 Weber State Michigan State 79-72
1997 Chattanooga Georgia 73-70
1998 Richmond South Carolina 62-61
1999 Weber State North Carolina 76-74
2005 Bucknell Kansas 64-63
2006 Northwestern State Iowa 64-63
2010 Ohio Georgetown 97-83
2013 Harvard New Mexico 68-62
2014 Mercer Duke 78-71
2015 UAB Iowa State 60-59
2015 Georgia State Baylor 57-56
2016 Stephen F. Austin West Virginia 70-56
2021 Abilene Christian Texas 53-52

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