Kansas has started the season with an 8-1 record. On opening night, the Jayhawks went to MSG and lost a neutral site game to a top ten team, Duke. The Jayhawks have not lost a game since then, and have looked great thus far. They are a deep team, with nine players averaging 9+ minutes, and seven averaging 15+ minutes a game.
The bulk of their scoring comes from three guys, but there is a handful of guys who can make shots on this team. Senior leader Udoka Azuibuike (14.8 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 82% FG) is the vocal leader of this team and him along with sophomore guard Devon Dotson (19.8 PPG, 5.0 APG). Both will surely continue to take this Kansas team to the top.
They are a definite Final Four contender in a year where no one is really sure what’s happening. They have two top 25 wins, winning over Colorado at home, and Dayton, which was a part of a Maui Invitational championship.
They also have two tests late inDecember against Villanova and Stanford – away from Allen Fieldhouse; and I think they will be able to pass both of them. I think they can keep the #1 curse (Multiple No.1’s have lost to an unranked team while ranked at the top so far this season) away until mid-late January. One important thing that most teams don’t have this year is experience, and Kansas has plenty of experience, and talent to go along with it to be the #1 team this season.
The Other Contenders
Ohio State’s undefeated start has been great, but their one win away from home is against a UNC team who is unable to produce any offense this season. The Buckeyes have home wins over Penn State and Villanova, but it’ll be interesting to see when they play outside Columbus against Kentucky on December 21st.
There are six other one loss teams who I think also have a legitimate chance to contend for a title this season, and those teams are Louisville, Duke, Kentucky, Gonzaga, and Baylor. The next tier below them consists of Michigan, Oregon, Dayton, Auburn and such.
Let’s start with the Cardinals, they are a great team with a superstar forward, Jordan Nwora. They looked near perfect before their surprising loss to Texas Tech at the Garden. Their win over B4A Champion Michigan was a great win, but a loss to Texas Tech taints their record.
Duke and Kentucky are grouped together for me, and there are two reasons for that. One being their Champions Classic victories and the second being their shocking losses to SF Austin and Evansville in November. Duke’s best wins this season are Kansas and Michigan State, but that home loss to the Lumberjacks keeps me from putting them above Kansas. Kentucky is in the same boat as of now, but future tests against Louisville and Ohio State could change my opinion.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs came out of the Bahamas with a 2-1 record, one of the wins was against the Oregon Ducks, a top 10 team. They also were able to take down the Washington Huskies on the road this past Sunday as well. The Michigan loss puts them under the Wolverines for me, but upcoming games against UNC and Arizona can boost their tournament resume.
Baylor is an interesting team and are realistically five bad minutes of basketball in Alaska from being a top five team. They have three ranked wins in Butler, Arizona, and Villanova already. The Washington loss isn’t necessarily bad, but it keeps them from being at the same level as the Jayhawks. The Jayhawks will meet up with Baylor twice, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they saw some of these other teams in the tournament’s second weekend.
The 2019-20 season has been more than confusing, but the Jayhawks are the country’s best basketball team this season; and will continue to prove that as the season progresses.