Can Kansas Basketball Be Trusted in the 2021-22 Season?
It seems like every season that Kansas Basketball is in the preseason conversation for national title favorites. That is certainly a reflection of how successful Bill Self has been as the head coach in Lawrence. He has done an excellent job keeping the program at the high level where Roy Williams left it. However, on closer inspection, the results for the Jayhawks year-to-year are not as dominant as I think most fans would assume given the preseason talks surrounding the program annually.
Kansas Tournament History Under Bill Self
This upcoming campaign is Bill Self’s 19th season as head coach of the Jayhawks. They have made the NCAA Tournament every year of the 17 possible during his tenure, certainly no small accomplishment. 14 of their 17 tournament selections have come as a top-three seed. Here’s the breakdown of where their tournament runs have ended over their 17 appearances:
|R64||R32||Sweet Sixteen||Elite Eight||Final Four||Title Game||National Champions|
That resume is up there with any other program in the country, although the seven losses in the first two rounds is definitely an eyesore. The Jayhawks’ last two trips to the Big Dance ended in such fashion. For a team that has ranked in the AP Preseason Top 10 in all but two years under Bill Self, is that good enough?
I don’t really know, to be honest. I just know that I have bought in on the preseason expectations for Kansas almost every year, and they always seem to let me down. Will this year be any different?
Kansas Basketball 2021-22 Roster
It’s safe to say that the Jayhawks have reloaded for this season. They have brought back major pieces from last year’s team in Ochai Agbaji, David McCormack, Christian Braun, and Jalen Wilson. Bringing back four starters from a 21-9 No. 3 tournament seed would be reason enough to be high on Kansas for this season, but they added even more through the transfer portal.
No more Marcus Garrett? No problem! Bill Self brought in four players via transfer who averaged double-digits last season. Remy Martin joins from Arizona State and was immediately named the Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year coming off a 19.1 PPG season with the Sun Devils. Joseph Yesufu averaged 12 points per game for a feisty Drake team last year. Although Iowa State had a horrible year, Jalen Coleman-Lands put together a solid season where he averaged 14 points and four rebounds a game. Cam Martin enters the fold after posting an astounding 25 points, nine rebounds, and three assists per game in Division II. It’s unclear how much playing time Martin stands to see after making the jump to Division I.
Returners Mitch Lightfoot and Dajuan Harris also stand to see a fair amount of playing time this season. The Jayhawks bring in four four-star freshmen who will fight for minutes on a very deep roster. Wichita native Zach Clemence, a top-50 recruit, headlines the No. 11 national recruiting class per 247Sports.
Kansas Basketball Outlook
I’ve been burned by them before, but I think Kansas is legit this season. Although the Big 12 will be very competitive, the Jayhawks have the depth and high-level talent to be a top-five team in the nation wire-to-wire. Their odds to take home a national championship are +1600 at the time of this writing, which seems way too long for a team of this caliber. This should not be a Bill Self team that goes home with another second-round exit.
Kansas Basketball posted a video on Twitter where they broke the huddle in a September practice with “national champs.” That’s the goal. Time will tell if they follow through this time around.
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