Kansas might see its reign as Big 12 regular-season champion end this year. The Jayhawks might not care, however, if a Sports Illustrated writer’s prediction comes true.
Kansas is one of eight teams that are capable of winning the national championship this season, according to Sports Illustrated’s Dan Greene.
Greene’s reason to put Kansas over current Big 12 leader Texas Tech on his list of eight comes down to the Red Raiders’ lack of firepower on offense, as well as a Jayhawks team starting to find itself in Big 12 play.
“They don’t have interior depth. They’re too dependent on jump shots. They may finally not win the Big 12 title,” Greene wrote of Kansas. “But how many teams have more quality wins than the Jayhawks? Going by the NCAA’s new quadrant system, they have nine Quadrant 1 wins (against four losses), which leads all teams, and they’ll have the chance to pick up at least three more.
“They’ve gone from being the country’s worst team at getting to the free throw line to nearly doubling their rate in Big 12 play. We have yet to see the best of Lagerald Vick and Malik Newman at the same time. If those two are both clicking and Devonte Graham plays like he did in the first three rounds last year, this supposedly disappointing Kansas team could prove reports of their death greatly exaggerated.”
Kansas has looked vulnerable lately with losses to Oklahoma State and Baylor. But against the best competition, Kansas has played at a high level.
Coach Bill Self can only hope his team is on trajectory to peak at the right time. Even if they did stumble once or twice more in the regular season, the Jayhawks are a program that can never be counted out in the postseason until they actually fall.
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