I'm calling it.
If Coach continues to let the Jayhawks play. Shooting the three, pushing the pace and going to the bench early and often. KU wins the Big 12 conference championship, the Big 12 conference tournament, and the National Championship.
I know I’m stepping on that taboo line. It’s bad luck. Yet I don’t care. No more wishing and praying for me. This KU team has everything a Jayhawk fan could want. Depth, the ability to shot the three, and the ability to shoot the mid range jumper, not one but two point guards, a designer in the paint, and the Inglourious Bastereds
Yes I’m drinking the Kool-Aid. Hell I’m pounding the stuff. ")
@DoubleDD I hear you man, I feel the same way. After watching other top ten teams, there is no one that you can point to and say they are definitively better than us. Watched Oklahoma almost get beat by Hawai’i. We can most certainly give them their first loss in a few weeks.
This is definitely a very good team with a good shot at winning the title, but I think it’s too early to declare that KU is the favorite. This is a team that hasn’t been tested much yet as their strength of schedule is not even top 100 and is still not a great rebounding team. Oklahoma may have struggled tonight, but they aren’t going undefeated just like every other team in D1. It also doesn’t change that OU is still an elite defensive team with a bunch of experienced upperclassmen.
Sorry sir this topic is for that believe. I don’t want to hear how KU isn’t the best team this year. Yes I stepped on that taboo line, and I don’t regret it.
This KU team has everything to win 3 championships.
If you can’t see that or can’t get on board. Then this topic isn’t for you.
Maybe you should root for OU?
@DoubleDD I actually do like OU after Kansas because that’s my dad’s alma mater. Apparently my first sentence where I said KU has a good shot at winning the title doesn’t mean anything, It also doesn’t change that OU is a really good team this year as well and will be a very strong test for Kansas.
@Texas-Hawk-10 ah, I knew there was a Paul Harvey to what you said!
@Texas-Hawk-10 did you see the OU Hawaii game tonight? It was horrible to watch, sloppy, sloppy! Settling for quick shots. Not smart ball. Maybe just an off night?
@Crimsonorblue22 This was the 4th or 5th game I’ve watched of OU’s this year and it was an off night for them probably because it was their 2nd game in 2 days and it looked like fatigue was setting in on them. It played out a lot like the SDSU game did except OU never pulled away after losing a big lead. OU does have a 23 point neutral court victory over a good Villanova team this year OU is top 5 nationally in FG% and 3FG% defense. Their strength of schedule is similar to KU’s so far and they have a lot of offensive fire power as well as they are only 1 spot behind KU in PPG nationally, but OU appears to be the superior defensive team. I expect KU and OU to split their regular season games this year with each winning on their home court and each being strong contenders in March. This OU team will push KU in the Big 12 race this year.
FWIW, Ken Pomeroy now has Oklahoma and KU ranked #1 and #2…OU will be tough but KU has superior depth. Against Hawaii, OU played 8 players, the 3 non-starters combined for 40 minutes and 10 points, 2 rebounds and 5 fouls… Like ISU, OU has 5 good starters and then the quality drops quite a bit.
When will KU lose?
I’ve watched 3 or 4 OU games this year, and they look just like last year. They don’t have the great defensive core, which always makes them beatable. Great offense…great transition …beatable.
I betcha that Cowboys and Cyclones, come late February, will yearn for a bench like that of the Jayhawks. BIll Self’s bench is the ingredient which will propel the program to at least another tie for the league title. Right now it would help considerably if Vick could get healthy and savvy enough to relieve Mason or Graham from so many risky minutes.
@DoubleDD No, I totally agree. This year these guys are loaded and there isnt one team amongst the best that stands out as one that can hang with KU. Maybe OU just had an off night, or is it a trend but they are the team that will be in KU’s way of winning out in the Big 12. I mean as far as winning the conference and the conf tourney. They can do it this year. But, we most certainly will get OU’s top effort and it will be two games, possibly 3 that will be hard fought.
Given a second chance at Michigan St, Im betting they beat them. Im also betting they get a second chance at Michigan St in March. KU, Virginia, Michigan St and Xavier are my one seed guesses this early and if it plays right, KU could match up with Michigan St in the Final Four.
One last thing. OU is most definitely a title contender and will most definitely bring their A game to KU and vice versa. Like @REHawk said up there The difference maker for KU in that is their deep bench. There really isnt much drop off between their starting 5 and their second 5. Plus in the battle between Lon Kruger and Bill Self, Coach Self has the upper hand. He is a better coach.
@DoubleDD In regards to your original post - I’m leaning that way myself. I think the only way it will not happen is if the TEAM believes it. You’ve been watching this team for a while now - overconfidence is their worst enemy. As @drgnslayr (I think!) has frequently mentioned - we need to find a “chip” of some sort to work with. A CHIP and a KILLER INSTINCT = NC.
This team certainly CAN win a national title.
The challenge is that this team isn’t significantly better, at least at this stage, than the other contenders. There is a bit of a muddle at the top of the polls, with, at least by my count, 9 teams that I consider good enough to challenge for the title (Michigan State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Arizona, Kentucky, and Duke). I need to see Louisville and Kentucky play to figure out how I feel about the Cardinals. I want to watch Arizona and Maryland again against some better competition to decide how I feel about them.
But those 9 teams all seem to be good enough. There are a bunch of other teams (Xavier, Butler, Providence, Iowa State, West Virginia, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Cal, LSU, Cincinnati, Villanova, a couple others) that have enough talent to beat any of the 9 I just named, but probably can’t get consistent enough to actually win the title.
In all likelihood, two or three of those nine teams I named will fall off and there will only be six or so that stick around come March due to injury or just getting exposed in conference. I think KU will be one of those last six, along with Kentucky, UNC, Oklahoma, Arizona and Maryland. After that, it will be all about seeding and matchups.
But as always, you have to be in the group to have a real chance unless this is another one of those years where the top contenders all have serious flaws that allow a lesser team (think Purdue or Vanderbilt) to make a run in the tournament.
The only real questions for KU are will they keep playing their most advantageous style, and will Coach Self remain loose, or will he tighten up and resort to trying to pound the ball inside in a half court game if things get dicey come March?
I’m not sure about OU. They are a bit like us in the fact that they have most of their talented guys back.
But I question their depth and their defense. Gosh… a team like Hawaii hangs almost 80 points on them.
Lon is a great coach, I really respect him. I’m just not sure he is as capable as Self on building top notch defense.
I think I’ll use one of Self’s phrases when talking about OU… “fool’s gold.” They live and die by their offense, and their offense relies heavily on treys. Some day those treys aren’t going to be there, and then what?
The same goes for Kansas but we can buckle down on defense and win grind games.
@drgnslayr I know, thats what I thought too when I saw Hawaii hang 80 on them! Even if OU had an off night, they should have kept them under 70 points at least. Still, statistically speaking this far into the season, OU is the biggest threat to KU. But, you’re right, I think that Lon is a great coach but Self is better at building defensive greatness. That is going to win us the conference.
@Lulufulu Roderick Bobbitt was absolutely unconscious for Hawaii. Self has been beaten in the past by someone going off (Valentine, for ex.). I think we would have handled Hawaii but I’m saying it was a bit of an outlier performance by Bobbitt
I too like Lon, and think he’s quietly assembled one of the three best teams perenially in the Big XII, now that Hoiberg has left.
@drgnslayr After the Hawaii game, OU is 3rd in FG% defense and 10th in 3FG% defense. If that’s fools gold, then sign me up for KU playing fools gold defense.
@Texas-Hawk-10 You won’t be saying that after we play them. We will score at will against them.
Have they played anyone?
I spoke on that based on my only experience watching OU this year… last night’s game. They definitely didn’t look like a tough defensive team to me.
I question their post defense, and also the ability of their guys to stay focused for 40 minutes. They seem more like the team that needs the Self sermon on “fool’s gold.”
Okay… they played Memphis at Memphis. And Villanova in Hawaii. Games like their home with Washburn surely helped their stat line. This OU team likes to run, and many of their games were against opponents that couldn’t keep up, especially in Norman.
How freaky is this… they have now been to Hawaii TWICE this year!
I can imagine OU fading out later in the season. Their production is pretty much from all veteran players and they don’t seem to have a bench. And their game is a fast pace. All those guys are going to wear down and some will face injuries or at least nagging injuries.
If March Madness was today, I can more imagine OU being a contender.
I have been proven wrong many times before… That’s why I’m not a gambler!
OU caught Nova on a terrible night from 3, where they shot 4 for 32 from 3, which has helped OU’s stats. The jury is still out whether they are some defensive juggernaut - I say they aren’t.
@KUSTEVE they were bad last pm, hard to watch.
I think OU has several good defenders, while some of their other guys don’t hold their own. You can’t be a top defense and have holes. Eventually the entire defense breaks down because the holes leak points like cracks in a dam.
OU is a fine team that can shoot. Yet that’s all they can do. Is shoot.
KU is redefining how an Offense should be played. There is no one way KU plays or runs it’s offense. They are becoming a hybrid on many facets of the offense side of the ball. Able to change on a dime in the flow of the game with out missing a beat. I really marvel at what Coach and KU are doing.
KU is always looking to attack. Unlike some teams that come down looking to run their offense to feed the ball to their point monster in specific spots. The Jayhawks are like sharks, always looking to attack. Even on fast breaks they are looking for the open shot. This KU team can be so fluid on offense that Doctor Naismith would just shake is head and clap his hands, as KU can play the old concept Naismith had when he created the game. SPACING AND PASSING. We have seen this KU team come down on offense and then pass the ball and score without the ball ever touching the ground.
I’m even more impressed with Coach. For to change or at the very least adjust his concepts to fit his current team is no easy task. Yet he has and is now getting quite creative with the offense. I few times last game Coach and no man in the post. Creating confusing for the opposing team and opening the door to what this KU team can do. It’s almost scary how good this team can be come March. With the addition of Diallo and Bragg getting more experience and more minutes as the season progresses. What do you want me to say? I Called it.
PS. KU will curb stomp OU.
The starting 5 for KU, OU, ISU and maybe even WVU and Baylor are fairly comparable, the big difference is the bench. ISU will play only 7 and OU 8 and the bench payers for both contribute very little other than to spell the starters; the 5 starters for both teams are averaging over 30 MPG. KU, on the other hand can go 10-11 deep and not miss a beat…well, may be a little beat.,
@DoubleDD All aspects of how they play have improved since last year, and it is fun to watch, and there is still room for improvement.
@DoubleDD KU hasn’t beaten OU by more than 8 in the past 3 years (the core of this team) and has dropped 2 of the last 3 in Norman. The Pomeroy Rankings currently have OU as the 5th best defensive team in the country with WVU 7th and KU 9th so you can say OU isn’t a good defensive team all you want, but the evidence doesn’t support that opinion. One other stat that OU is ranked pretty highly in points per possession allowed in which they are 10th nationally. Over the course of 1/3 of the season, that’s not a stat that’s going to be fluky, OU is a very good defensive team this year and the core of that team has beaten the core of this KU team multiple times in their careers and has never lost by more than 8 to KU.
@drgnslayr Who exactly has KU played outside of Michigan St.? KU and OU both have SOS’s outside of the top 100 (both between 100-115) so KU hasn’t exactly been challenged the way they have been the past 2 years. Being 3rd in FG% defense and 10th in 3FG% defense after playing 1/3 of your schedule isn’t exactly a fluke. Basing your opinion of a team off of probably their worst game of the year is a flawed way to look at a team.
@KUSTEVE Did you actually watch the OU-Villanova game or just look at the box score? I watched that game and OU’s defense was a big reason why Villanova shot the ball poorly that night.
@drgnslayr So true, I’ve played on teams like that…one whole in the dam turns the whole team into a fishnet.
@DoubleDD There were moments in the first half against NM State that were reminiscent of Golden State with great spacing, pace and threes splashing home. Love it, hope the “new era” offense continues.
@Texas-Hawk-10 Why don’t you go over to the Jokelahoma homer forums instead of here? No one is saying that Oklhoma does not have a good team. Regarding the Villanova game, it sounds like Nova hurt themselves a lot by shooting 32 threes on a cold shooting night - Oklahoma did not look like a great defensive team last night or against Memphis earlier in the season.
Anyway, we may share the conference with Oklahoma, but I highly doubt we will lose on the 4th.
@Texas-Hawk-10 In a few weeks, we’ll see how good OU’s defense is, and then it will be settled. And you’ll be wrong…lol.
@JayHawkFanToo Yep. KU’s bench has no equal. I wonder if Coach Self will continue to keep his bench this deep throughout the season. I mean, it has to be a huge advantage having guys like Diallo, Bragg, Greene and Svi and Traylor coming off the bench. It must make life miserable for opposing teams because they have to game plan for sooo many different line ups, it just becomes impossible to cover all the bases. KU can go small, KU can go big, KU can play fast or slow. It doesnt matter.
I like the shark comparison. I also like the wolf pack comparison. These guys are legit this year. They have it all and whats worse for opposing teams is that KU will get even better! They havent reached their ceiling yet.
@DinarHawk Where the hell did I say KU would lose to OU at home? I’m on record that KU and OU will split the regular season meetings with each winning on their home floor. Considering the Jan. 4 game is in Lawrence, that would seem to indicate that I’ve been on record as saying KU wins that game, but since I’m an OU homer according to you, I must not have clue about what I’m talking about.
I guess it’s no allowed to watch other teams play basketball or acknowledge that other teams are are very good as well. Thanks for letting me know that independent thought that isn’t blind to the rest of college basketball, pro-Kansas homerism is not allowed on here.
@KUSTEVE If you’re referring to the Jan. 4 game, KU should win that game. Last 3 years have all been close games decided by 8 points or less so it probably won’t be a blowout either. The Feb. 13 in Norman is probably a different story considering KU has dropped 2 of 3 in Norman.
Neither game is likely to be played in the 50’s or 60’s as both teams play an up tempo style and that points per possession is how to determine how good each team does on defensive end.
Interesting you think Zona, Duke, and UK are good enough right now. I think all 3 have showed they are not nearly as good as past years. Zona because they have seniors is a team that I could see getting good if the Freshman Trier takes over the team.
I think Xavier, Butler and Purdue have all played well enough so far to be final 4 type teams. I could see all 3 continuing their sucess, veteran squads.
I do think KU is the best in the nation. Right now I believe we have separated ourselves with Michigan St as the favorites so far. If we can best Oklahoma and Baylor coming up it will only strengthen that feeling.
I wasn’t comparing SOS… KU with OU. But historically, Kansas is known more for defense under Bill than Oklahoma is under Lon.
My comment was based on watching OU not able to contain Hawaii. And we all know their players from last year. We scored 75 on them in Norman and 85 in AFH. And we weren’t always catching the world on fire with our offense last year.
You are right… basing opinions on one game is flawed. But I also remember most of their team from last year and their defense didn’t impress me last year either. It is pretty hard to imagine OU being able to win often in a grind game.
I think OU is capable of getting hot and beating anyone. But they will have to get hot (and stay hot) to beat the top teams.
They may prove me wrong this season. But I doubt it. They just seem way too focused on offense.
@drgnslayr Points per game are not always the best indicator of defensive prowess. OU plays a faster tempo which means there are more possessions in a game which means scores are generally going to be higher. OU is in the top 10 nationally in points per possession defense this year which isn’t a fluke 1/3 of the way into the season. Most people didn’t consider KU a good defensive team last year and it’s still mostly the same team this year so why would people assume KU is any better this year if the Harvard game was the only KU game people saw of KU this year?
KU didn’t play particularly well against Harvard in Allen Fieldhouse, but people still consider KU one of the title favorites this year. KU is also considered an above average defensive team this year despite mostly the same pieces from last year’s subpar defense so why wouldn’t OU’s group be able to improve by a similar margin as well? You’re right OU probably isn’t going to win many games played in the 50s because that’s not in line with their offensive philosophy of playing up tempo ball.
My posts aren’t intended to imply KU is a bad team, but just that KU isn’t head and shoulders better than OU like seemingly everyone here thinks. Of the 6 games these teams have played the past 3 years, KU is 4-2 and none of the games have been decided by more than 8 points so why should anybody expect the 2 regular season match ups to go any differently this season.
@Texas-Hawk-10 Im not certain that anybody on here thinks KU is head and shoulders above OU.
For me personally, I think KU and OU will share the conference title. But, that also depends on which team reaches its ceiling first and which team keeps improving. Which team can gain that higher level of play through non quantifiable factors like focus and sheer will. KU has a higher ceiling imo. KU has already proven they can win tough games against harsh competition just by sheer will as evidenced by this summer. They literally had to grind out wins. It made them tougher. OU didnt have that bonus experience.
OU and KU actually play the same tempo per Kenpom. Its a toss up who will win either game they play each other.
@Texas-Hawk-10 One thing for sure…we’ll see how it plays out!
They didn’t pass my eye test… but as you said, looking at just a single game is flawed.
I’ll be extremely surprised if they can keep us below 80 points, and I will be extremely surprised if they can score 80 points on our defense.
I know the world is all hyped up on the Big 12 this year… but I just don’t see it. I see Kansas, and I see everyone else a very distant second.
I think it will be another year where the Big 12 doesn’t show well in March… except for us!
I appreciate you setting me straight.
When I look at teams, I look at how they have performed, but also at what their talent level is. Those three teams have all played pretty well so far, but their talent level is well above what Xavier, Butler and Purdue can boast.
For me, as I have noted many times before, I am talent over experience all day every day. An experienced guy might not make the mistakes that a less experienced player will make from time to time, but a more talented guy will make plays that a less talented guy simply cannot make. You can teach a guy to not make mistakes. You can’t teach him to be more talented.
I would add Louisville to that list of 9 teams I consider good enough to win the title, so the list is now 10 (Spartans, Jayhawks, Sooners, Terps, Wahoos, Heels, AZ Cats, KY Cats, Blue Devils and Pitino’s Cards). I don’t much care what a team looks at against lesser teams. I care much more about how a team looks when facing the top tier because that tells me their ceiling. OU didn’t play well out in the Diamondhead tournament, but they survived all of the games. Facing KU in a few days will tell me more about them than those games did, just like KU’s games against Michigan State, Kentucky, and Oklahoma mean more than looking shaky against Oregon State for a half.
I group everyone together more tightly than most because I believe that the true talent of certain teams is greater than either KU or Michigan State, who have played the best so far. We saw how far MSU’s true talent level dropped without Valentine. They just don’t have a depth of talent that allows them to weather a major loss.
I’ll start with your last comment about Valentine.
I don’t believe KU would do as well without Frank Mason either. It’s hard to compare KU to MSU because depth wise KU has it in spades. Michigan St’s most important and best player is Valentine.
KU’s best player is very debatable, you could go Mason, Ellis or even Selden at this point. But if you took Mason out of the offense I’m sure this team struggles. And because of his experience and leadership at the PG spot you can make a case that he’s our most important player.
I watch a lot of College Basketball and I like to see what other teams have. I just don’t think the blue-bloods in Kentucky and Duke have it this year.
Kentucky doesn’t have a star and with Skal playing like a freshman the potential for that team is limited. They needed him to be like an Anthony Davis or Towns but they are not getting that. Maybe he turns it around playing middling SEC teams. They don’t have a post scorer on a consistent basis. Poythress has done a nice job but he’s a junkyard dog at best. Murray is that guy who could take games over but he’s shown to be a volume shooter. Ulis has been solid but has been inconsistent shooting the ball. Briscoe is skilled but is another guy who’s struggled shooting.
Probably the biggest drop off from last yr to this year is their defense. Against Louisville they actually did a pretty good job from letting them run their offense. Without Lee taking over that game could have been ugly. Kentucky could win a lot of games because the SEC is a dumpster fire this year again. So many mediocre teams.
Duke has 1 guy who gets it in Grayson Allen, he can score at any point. It looks like the light has come on for Ingram as well so they have 2 very good scorers.
They lack the point guard play that they had last year. Look how good KU is running Mason and Graham out there. Duke had that in Jones & Cook and its gone now. I think Thornton will be good in time but its a lot asking a guy who re-classified (he was just a Jr in High School last year) to step into the role he’s been given.
Jefferson has been solid but he’s no Okafor and is hurt. They have little depth and so far Jeter has not looked like a 5-star prospect. It’s hard to look at them as serious contenders right now when they have serious questions about their depth and guys who were role players a year ago being asked to step up. No team can really expect to be better after losing Okafor, Winslow & Jones (all 1st round picks) and a senior in Cook.
I think this year is the year of veteran squads. Last year, youth was able to dominate but this years youth isn’t as good. And when many of the best freshman decided to go to mediocre teams in my opinion that has made it easier to see what teams are true contenders. I’m even willing to bet that teams like Providence & Miami are better teams that UK & Duke. They have veterans that know what is expected of them. Kris Dunn is a NBA starting PG. Miami has a back-court of seniors in their 5th year that understand how to win. It’s been exciting seeing how much experience has mattered so far. Maybe it won’t matter come March but it’s looking like you need deep experienced teams to have a chance.
How do you think Kansas matches up with Oklahoma?
I think our depth is a huge advantage.
I see our games as a points race. Fast pace… we like it and OU likes it.
What I see different this year is we are finally starting to realize how important it is to push the pace. Hopefully, Self is starting to realize the harm in playing guys like Frank for 36-38 minutes a game. I think he played 30 at SDSU.
Tired players don’t seem to do so well from treysville. OU seems to count on treys more than us. While we have more depth at shooting treys. If we limit Buddy from trey, OU is toast. Their margin for error or injuries is ZERO. And they not only need Buddy healthy, but also Woodard and Cousins. It is the triad that makes these guys dangerous. They spread the floor and all 3 are dangerous from the perimeter. Remove one of these guys and they lose their ability to create easy scoring space.
I think we have so many bodies at all positions, that we should be heavily favored against OU this year. I can see games going back and forth… but in the end, we should have the fresher legs if Self properly coaches the game to rest all our guys when needed. OU has less margin for victory so their main guys will have to play more minutes in our games. Buddy has to be on fire for them to win. It is that simple. He’s by far their leading scorer. Anything but a stellar game from Buddy, and OU gets smoked. We can have any of our guys be off and have the team carry the load.
Plus… with our bench, we have guys capable of making big positive impacts. A guy like BG might come in and nail 4 or 5 treys.
Hopefully, Cheick starts coming on. I think he could be a big difference maker if he can stay in games without fouling out and start contributing on both sides of the ball.
Heck… I think Hunter can be a big help with his shot blocking ability. Yes, we had him last year… rotting away on the bench.
I don’t think OU has a real answer for Perry Ellis… and also possibly Wayne Selden.
I think we have several players that can limit Buddy Hield. I’d probably start with Devonte Graham. I’ve been liking what I see out of most of his defense. He should be good at ball denial. And he isn’t too shabby at fighting through ball screens.
When considering match ups… I like how we match up.
If I was coaching Kansas against Oklahoma I would want aggressive defense on Buddy. Make him earn his points. Glue someone on him at all times to create ball denial. We still may not stop Buddy, but slowing him down means he is worn out at the end of the game, when OU will need his offense desperately.
Then I would pump up Perry big time and have him attack the low post. If Perry FINALLY starts using a few effective fakes, Ryan Spangler will quickly get in foul trouble. Talk about reducing the margin for victory with OU. Spangler is their solid post player, responsible for a majority of their rebounds.
Tire Buddy out and attack Ryan in the low post to draw fouls. Accomplishing either one of these tasks is enough to thwart OU.
The biggest improvement for OU in seeing some of their games has been the PG Woodard’s shooting. He’s not a liability from 3 land anymore which has given them the 3 headed perimeter nightmare. Good thing KU has the same talents in its perimeter.
I don’t think Hield is a guy who can be limited. You just hope he misses shots, he’s a gifted player. Maybe Selden or Graham can disrupt him but he’s a guy who has looked match-up proof so far.
Next Monday is going to be fun, unless we don’t play well…
I am optimistic about facing OU this year… but I know we could lose to a hot OU team.
I think the best way to “limit” Buddy is to tire him out. We used this strategy last year against Forte with OSU. Not many people know this, but Forte is like a turbocharged Tyrel Reed. I say that because both were (are) fitness freaks. We wore out Forte. Buddy is obviously a lot more athletic than Phil Forte… but Forte is the conditioning freak.
Very few players on this planet have been able to maintain a high trey percentage when exhausted. Lon is a great coach, but he knows how slim his margin for victory is against Kansas. He is going to keep Buddy on the floor for a ton of minutes.
Yeah… Buddy may go off for 25 or so points on us… how many of those points will come in the final 5 minutes of play? When it really counts… That is how we “limit” Buddy Hield.
Buddy has had some big games against us so I expect to get his best. 20-25 points won’t hurt us as usually KU is great in limiting the best player from beating us.
Its going to be Spangler’s junkyard buckets off rebounds so we will need to rebound well.
Or its Cousins & Woodard going off from 3… So we will need to play well out to shooters.
It would be great if we had one of those memorable defensive performances to let the rest of the league know that its not happening this year.
You’ve got some good analysis there.
I think one of the things that makes this year so interesting for college basketball is that there isn’t one really talented team out there. Experience matters more this year than normal because nobody is that much better, so rather than it coming down to just a question of are you good enough or not, it comes down to other things like, can you avoid making three straight boneheaded plays in close games.
Usually around this time I have identified five or maybe six teams that I think could win the title. Heck, a couple of years I have picked my Final Four around this time and had 75% of the picks right come March because you can just tell which teams stand out. That’s not the case this year, which is why I am pointing to 10 teams right now instead of six. Four of the teams I mentioned are absolutely going to flame out in the next six weeks. They just will. Two of the teams that I mentioned in that second group (the Xavier group) will step forward to be in position in case the top six teams fade. There will be one team that comes out of nowhere to be a semi-contender. I think you did a good job of identifying Providence as that team this year (I personally am keeping an eye on our old friend Frank Martin and what he’s doing at South Carolina).
Every top team is flawed this year because no team has two surefire, no doubt top 10 draft picks on it. I could see teams end up with two, but I could easily see different guys rise or fall this year because some guys aren’t playing well and basically nobody has been consistent.
But just like some of that top group will fade, some of that second group will fade. It’s likely that either Miami or Providence will fall apart once conference season gets going. South Carolina may disappear. Baylor could charge while West Virginia vanishes. Villanova could ascend and watch Butler tumble. There just isn’t much separation between a lot of these teams, so a stretch of poor play could really destroy a team’s confidence and knock them completely out of contention before the middle of February. The wrong injury could bury any team right now.
There’s a lot of parity this year. It’s going to take a while for teams to sort themselves out. That may benefit veteran squads that won’t panic, but I am going to bet on talent for now.