Bill Self

Are we overlooking Kansas this preseason?

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Unless you write for Lindy’s, the general consensus seems to be that Kentucky should be the nation’s No. 1 team in the preseason.

And that’s fair, considering the fact that they are bringing in one of the best recruiting classes of all-time, they have eight guys that could one day be picked in the first round of the NBA Draft and they have a coach that has excelled at convincing teams with an overload of talent to buy into their roles.

Lindy’s had Michigan State ranked No. 1, a team that seems to join with Louisville to complete a consensus top three.

Arizona has gotten plenty of preseason hype as well, in large part due to landing Aaron Gordon, and with Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood joining Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke has been crowned as the favorite in the ACC, the best league in the land.

It may just be me, but it seems like one of the nation’s best programs has been overlooked throughout much of the summer: the Kansas Jayhawks.

Now, when calling Kansas overlooked, we have to keep it in perspective. But the fact of the matter is that, given the talent on their roster and the head coach they have stalking the sidelines, doesn’t it make sense that the Jayhawks be in the conversation with Kentucky, Michigan State and Louisville as a title favorite?

Think about it like this: the guy that everyone expects to be the best player in the country and the No. 1 overall pick, Andrew Wiggins, is a Jayhawk. There are quite a few people that expect him to have the impact that Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant did in their one season on campus, and I count myself among them.

But he’s not alone. In Draft Express’ latest 2014 mock draft, Kansas is projected to have two of the top six picks (Joel Embiid) and three of the top 14 picks (Wayne Selden), which is more than anyone else in the country.

Yes, Kansas does have question marks. The point guard spot could end up being an issue all season long, and youth isn’t guaranteed to be good immediately at the college level. Perry Ellis’ development will be critical as well, and it will be interesting to see just how good the Jayhawks end up being from a defensive standpoint.

But while everyone has spent the summer lauding Kentucky’s recruiting class, it seems like the talent that Bill Self has amassed has managed to somehow slide a bit under the radar.

BUBBLE BANTER: All of the action on the fringe of the NCAA tournament

Fred VanVleet
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Tonight’s bubble action. This post will be updated as the games are completed.

Cincinnati at UCF, 7:00 p.m.
Pitt at No. 12 Miami, 7:00 p.m.
No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.
Ole Miss at Florida, 9:00 p.m.
Georgia at No. 22 Kentucky, 9:00 p.m.
Arkansas at Mississippi State, 9:00 p.m.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: A Big 12 and a Big Ten showdown

Denzel Valentine
(AP Photo/Al Goldis)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.

The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.

We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  1. Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
  2. Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
  3. Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
  4. Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
  5. No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
  • No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.