March Madness Predictions: Kansas Jayhawks Favored In Midwest Region

Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel has the task of predicting how the Midwest region will play out for the 2012 NCAA Tournament, and he has good news for Kansas Jayhawk fans: he has them all the way to New Orleans in the Final Four. To do so, North Carolina will have to fall among others, but he believes Bill Self's team will be standing in the end.

Mandel writes, "Bill Self's Jayhawks have had a slew of tourney misfortune when faced with capable mid-majors (Bucknell in 2005, Bradley in '06, Northern Iowa in '10 and VCU last year), so it's entirely possible that Saint Mary's or Belmont (who I'm picking to reach the Sweet 16) could torment them this year. But provided Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor get through the first two rounds they'll be at a distinct advantage playing in partisan St. Louis, and they'll catch a break when Creighton or Michigan takes down North Carolina."

Kansas plays No. 15 Detroit in the tourney's second round.

For more on the 2012 NCAA Tournament bracket, stay with SB Nation's Selection Sunday StoryStream, and stick around SB Nation's NCAA Tournament hub for a complete printable NCAA Tournament bracket and tons of analysis on who was snubbed, who got the best bracket, and who will make it all the way to New Orleans and the Final Four.

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