The Kansas Jayhawks have been on a roller coaster ride since their Sweet 16 loss to Michigan last season. Things seemed to be rather bleak when head coach Bill Self let his star freshman Ben McLemore leave for the NBA without much protest. Losing McLemore, one of the most exciting players in College Basketball, was massive blow to the Jayhawk program. Without McLemore, Self did not have a single starter returning for the next season.
Self did not panic, and put together one of the best recruiting classes in the country. With five top 100 recruits, including No. 1 recruit Andrew Wiggins, Kansas basketball was back to being Kansas basketball. Wiggins had so much hype that it prompted him to declare for the 2014 NBA Draft before playing a second of college basketball.
Kansas jumped out of the gates white-hot, defeating a much more experienced Duke Blue Devil team. Wiggins out-dueled Duke’s touted freshman Jabari Parker. Suddenly Kansas was the No. 1 team in the country. The Battle for Atlantis was not a great tournament for the Jayhawks, who struggled mightily in every contest and eventually lost to Villanova.
The Jayhawks lost their last contest to Colorado on a controversial Euro-step three-pointer. This young team did not have much time to bounce back, as they had to travel down to Florida to take on the ranked Florida Gators.
Their Monday night loss to Florida proved two things. The first was that this Kansas team is extremely young. The Jayhawks had 24 turnovers on the night. In the first half, Kansas coughed up the ball 16 times, which fueled a 21-0 run that allowed Florida to coast all night with a lead.
The second thing is that Wiggins is really good. The young freshman had his first collegiate double-double, and made the game a respectable 67-61 loss. Wiggins hit three triples to whittle the lead down to six, but the Jayhawks could not get any closer.