Kansas freshman Josh Jackson has not even played a second of basketball for the Jayhawks this season and he’s already making headlines … for predicting a 40-0 season?
“We’re going for a national championship this year,” Jackson told USA Today. “We’re also trying to go undefeated. Hopefully that happens. I know it’s hard to do, but we’ve got the power to do it.”
Bill Self’s reaction to hearing the quote says it all:
First things first: It’s dumb to talk about an undefeated, 40-0 season at this point. It was dumb when we did it with Kentucky in 2014 and 2015. It would be dumb to talk about it with Duke this season. It’s dumb when Josh Jackson starts talking about it in October.
Going undefeated is so, so, so hard to do. There’s a reason no one’s done it since 1976.
That said … I think it is fair to say Kansas has the best shot to do it this year. Duke is the best team in the country this year, but the Blue Devils play in a loaded ACC that could send as many as 10 or 11 teams to the NCAA tournament. Kansas – who, for my money, is closer to being No. 1 over Duke than to being the No. 3 team – plays in the Big 12, a league that may not have another top 25 team in its ranks.
The Jayhawks also have a relatively easy non-conference schedule when compared to the schedule they’re played in the past. They get Indiana in Hawaii, Duke in New York City and Kentucky in Rupp Arena, but after that, they should be expected to win every game.
Kansas probably has the best chance to pull off the feat this season.
And that chance is better than zero.
But not all that much better than zero.
Pro-tip, Josh: Stop talking about undefeated seasons to the media.