Bill Self must be having a ball…
His KU Jayhawks were supposed to be having a down year. They weren’t even picked to win the Big 12 for like the 99Th year in a row. Self and Kansas had accepted playing five top programs early in the season, including Duke, Kentucky and Ohio State – all strong contenders for the Final Four. KU was not taking on the Shawnee Mission Easts of the college world to build a fake record, as most top programs do each season.
In spite of all that, it worked!
Kansas played well against all three monsters, beating Ohio State, then the No. 2 team in the nation. And Kansas had to do it all with really just Thomas Robinson (a sure top five NBA pick at season’s end), the undependable Tyshawn Taylor at guard and some defense from Jeff Withey.
That was it.
Plus a bench with no real backups that could help much. They looked like a KU team that would finish maybe 3rd in the Big 12 and barely make the NCAA March Madness scene, mostly on their rep.
Not so! KU destroyed No. 3 and undefeated Baylor last night at home by a score of 92-74. My gosh, a win yes, but to bury an undefeated Baylor who had just killed OU by 50 – damn.
Big 12 player of the week and likely All Big 12 guard Taylor scored 28 and Robinson 27. Withey is now a double, double guy and had 10 points. And as the surprise player of the year, Travis Releford contributed 11.
So KU has FOUR big guns now – more than enough to wear the Big 12 crown again, and maybe, just maybe, be ranked in the top three or four to be a One Seed come March. It’s a team that could see KU’s first Final Four since 2008’s Championship season.
Again the area’s top sports program is clearly the Kansas basketball franchise.
And this just might be the year that KU, the Royals and yes, even the Chiefs make the post-season.
A fun time in KC for 2012…..we hope. With Kansas leading the way…..again.
P.S. KU is now in first place in the Big 12 with a 15-3 record, with likely only a challenge from turncoats MU for the title.