If you have followed college basketball even loosely over the last 30 years, it is pretty much impossible to ever feel bad for the Kansas Jayhawks unless you’re a fan of the Kansas Jayhawks. They won 14 regular season Big 12 titles in a row. They won a national championship in 2008. They’ve made five Final Fours in my lifetime to Tennessee’s zero. In 10 of the last 18 NCAA Tournaments, they’ve at least gone to the Elite Eight. How could anyone feel bad for Kansas?
And yet: here I am, typing that I did feel really bad for the 2019-20 version of Kansas. The Jayhawks finished the regular season at #1 on KenPom by over three full points, the widest gap between #1 and #2 since Kentucky had a 4.4-point edge on the field heading into the 2015 NCAA Tournament. (At the time, it really did make sense.) If the NCAA Tournament had gone on, they would’ve been the favorite to win it all and bring home a second championship for Bill Self. In terms of pure Efficiency Margin, it was the third-best team Bill Self has ever coached (2007-08 and 2009-10 a bit ahead) and one of the best teams in school history.
And then…the NCAA Tournament never happened. Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike left for professional pastures; Isaiah Moss graduated; Bill Self suddenly had to replace two of the 10 or so most impactful players in all of college basketball with nothing to show for it. Objectively, that’s brutal. So, yeah, I do hurt for them, in the way you would hurt for the Green Bay Packers or something. This year’s team isn’t anywhere near what last season’s was, but if nothing else, they will get to see this team play on a Turner Sports affiliate in March.
The following game information section is included to relieve pressure from Grant Ramey’s mentions.
- THE OPPONENT: #15 Kansas (11-5, 4-4).
- THE TIME: 6 PM ET.
- THE CHANNEL: ESPN.
- THE ANNOUNCERS: Bob Wischusen (PBP) and Dick Vitale (color).
- THE SPREAD: Is not up as of publishing time, but is Tennessee -2 on KenPom and Tennessee -4.3 on Bart Torvik.
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