Conference: Big 12 Conference
How They Qualified: Big 12 Tournament Champions
It is so strange to just think that after the first three games of February, some folks were calling for Bill Self‘s job. Despite the longest losing streak in the Self era, the Kansas Jayhawks were still able to finish atop the Big 12 Conference. This is his tenth season and will be the team’s tenth appearance under his reign. Not too shabby for a guy who folks wanted to run from the state.
What You Need to Know:
Leading Scorer: Ben McLemore (16.7 ppg)
Leading Rebounder: Jeff Withey (8.6 rpg)
Leading Passer: Elijah Johnson(4.8 apg)
Bad Losses: TCU
Good Wins: Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Kansas State (twice)
Kansas is more complete of a team than given credit. While freshman bucket-maker Ben McLemore gets most of the (deserved) credit, senior Jeff Withey has added an inside presence which most teams to not possess. Withey scores over 13 points, grabs 8.6 boards and blocks an astonishing 4 shots per game. The inside/outside combination this team has makes them ever so dangerous.
After the rough stretch in the early parts of February, Kansas then went on a seven game winning streak. Considering Self’s NCAA Tournament resume, which includes a National Title, you would be hard-pressed to find an expert picking the Jayhawks as an early out in the big dance. As always with this program, expect Kansas to make another deep run in the tournament and possibly compete for a spot in the Final Four.
The Kansas Jayhawks are dancing!