Season Preview: Kansas
Last Season: 31-5, NCAA Elite 8
Key Losses: Josh Jackson, Frank Mason III, Landen Lucas
Key Additions: Billy Preston, Marcus Garrett
Even though the Kansas Jayhawks made it to the Elite 8 last year, it still seemed like a disappointing season due to their sky high expectations and stellar roster. Kansas became a favorite early-on, and that outlook stayed with them the whole season. They lost to a red hot Oregon Ducks team that used their hot shooting to advance to the Final Four. Despite not making it to the championship last year, the Jayhawks still had one of the best starting lineups in college basketball with Josh Jackson and Frank Mason III stretching the floor with their athleticism and shooting abilities. Even though they are losing their two top scorers, Kansas still has plenty of offensive weapons for the upcoming year.
Fortunately for the Jayhawks, they still kept many key players from last year including key scoring threats Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk. Both players are seniors entering likely their final season as experienced scorers who know how to stretch the floor and distribute to players like the big Nigerian 7’ center Udoka Azubuike who is entering his sophomore year. Azubuike should see a lot more minutes in his second season as Kansas tries to establish themselves as a team with a strong frontcourt presence. Look for him and Preston to take advantage of other teams with their size and athleticism.
It is realistic to expect another Bill Self team that is a title contender once again. The Jayhawks have a roster that is built with minimal weaknesses so there should be no excuse for them to not have a trip to the Final Four, and they should win the Big 12 with ease in the upcoming season. With a talented roster once again, and not having not won a national championship since 2008, expectations will be sky high once again for Bill Self and his Kansas team this year.
Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Devonte’ Graham
SG: Lagerald Vick
SF: Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk
PF: Billy Preston
C: Udoka Azubuike