Kansas looking like ’08 squad (in theory, at least)

0 Comments

Kansas is deep, talented and capable winning its second NCAA title in four years. Whipping Nebraska with freshman starter Josh Selby sidelined with an injury helps cement that notion.

But here’s one that might be a stretch: The Jayhawks resemble their 2008 title team.

The team that finished 37-3 and outlasted Memphis in a classic title game featured six future NBA players and had incredible balance, depth and offensive and defensive efficiency. But Tom Keegan of the Lawrence Journal-World says many of those apply to this year’s squad as well.

From his column:

That team did some things better than this one, such as defend the post and the perimeter, and score more efficiently in transition. Then again, the country, and certainly the Big 12, isn’t stocked with as much experienced talent now as three years ago.

That last sentence is key. Yes, Kansas (22-1) looks damn good at times, especially when it’s moving the ball and getting production from every offense spot – and not relying on its post players to set carry the offensive load.

But while the 2010-11 version may boast impressive tempo-free stats ranks – fifth and second on kenpom.com – the raw numbers are a far cry from 2007-08. That offense was better and the defense was better. As Self told me before last season, “I could look down the line and say ‘He’s a pro, he’s a pro, he’s a potential pro.”

This season’s version isn’t to that level. They’re solid – Self refers to them as a group of “best players” that doesn’t have much drop-off in quality – but they’re short of ’08.  

Not that it’s a bad thing. If Kansas cuts the nets in Houston, it won’t matter how they rate. They’ll have the same hardware as ‘08.

Want more? I’m also on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.