Bill Self, University of Kansas coach, likes to play top tier teams early.
Playing a tough early season schedule can expose a young team’s growing pains, but also serves as an opportunity to show a team’s ability to facilitate their five star recruits. In KU’s case, they opened the season in Hawaii in a game against Indiana, a top 10 team. They lost in a tough overtime battle, but a now experienced Frank Mason III put up 30 points, showing his ability to jump start the offense.
Four days later they took the court in New York City against the number one team in the country, Duke. It was Mason again who led the team in the low scoring affair. He put up 21 points as well as the game- winning shot to upset a veteran heavy Blue Devils.
Playing two tough teams revealed Kansas’ identity, and they appear to be a team that could be making headlines come March. Mason and Davonté Graham give the team excellent leadership at the guard position.
In the paint, Carlton Bragg Jr. and Landen Lucas will be expected to bring in the majority of the rebounds. All-American freshman Josh Jackson will also play an important role in the paint as he showed his ability, scoring 15 points against Duke.
The Big 12 is slowly becoming a competitive conference, placing five teams in the preseason top 25. Winning the Big 12 will be no easy task, but if Kansas is able to exhibit the talent they did against Duke, the Big 12 title will be in the rear view mirror by the time March rolls around as they look toward a deep run in the NCAA tournament.