March Mania — or “Madness” for those who don’t abide by the NCAA’s strict copyright rules — is here, and with it comes distracted viewers. Why? People are busy filling out basketball brackets, enjoying food and beverages and watching a bevy of games during the annual collegiate spring basketball tournament.

The tournament typically sidetracks fans regardless of which teams are playing, but especially so this Friday when three Kansas men’s college teams — Kansas State, University of Kansas and Wichita State — all begin play at the Midwest Regional in the second round at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Needless to say, attentive workers might be in short supply at the week’s end.

The Big 12 is a strong conference, and three Kansas teams with high seeds ensure our teams will get some great exposure in the national spotlight.

The contests of particular local interest begin at 3:10 p.m. Friday when second-seeded KU (24-9) faces off against 15th-seed Eastern Kentucky (24-9). The winner of that game faces off with the winner of the New Mexico vs. Stanford match-up. Undefeated No. 1 seed Wichita State (34-0) is up next at 6:10 p.m. Friday against the winner of Cal Poly vs. Texas Southern game. The victor of that game will play the winner of the next game, which could pit Kansas team vs. Kansas team. Ninth-seed Kansas State (20-12) competes against eighth-seed Kentucky (24-10) at 8:40 p.m. Friday.

Despite the possible intrastate match-up, it’s the uncertainty of game outcomes that make these match-ups must-watch competitions. No one knows which direction the proverbial ball will bounce.

The madness begins in earnest Friday. We wish the best of luck to each of the Kansas teams. They all are winners regardless of the outcome of the games.

— Jeanny Sharp,

editor and publisher