#4 Kansas Jayhawks: College Basketball 111 in 111

kansas jayhawk cheerleaders

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

The Big 12 title has run through Lawrence as the Kansas Jayhawks have cut down the nets in each of the past nine seasons.  While Bill Self loses Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor, there is plenty of talent on this roster that should have KU once again competing for a trip to the Final Four.  Their first big test early on comes tonight versus Michigan State.

KANSAS JAYHAWKS
Last Season: 1st, 16-2 in Big 12, 32-7 overall
Predicted Big 12 Finish: 1st

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Jeff Withey (Sr)/Justin Wesley (Jr)/Landen Lucas (Fr)
F: Perry Ellis (Fr)/Jamari Traylor (Fr)/Kevin Young (Sr)/Zach Peters (Fr)
G/F: Travis Releford (Sr)/Andrew White (Fr)
SG: Ben McElmore (Fr)/Rio Adams (Fr)
PG: Elijah Johnson (Sr)/Naadir Thorpe (So)

Gone: PF-Thomas Robinson, PG-Tyshawn Taylor, SG-Conner Teahan, SG-Merv Lindsay (transfer-New Mexico)

2012-2013 Outlook:
With Taylor taking his talents to the NBA, Elijah Johnson will transition from the off guard position to run the point.  He is a capable ball-handler who has seen some time at the one during his time at Kansas, but it will be interesting to see how he handles the full-time responsibility.  Seldom used a year ago, sophomore Naadir Tharpe will see an expanded role off the bench.  He did look much more comfortable in initiating the Jayhawk offense in Friday night’s opener versus Southeast Missouri State.

A lot of buzz surrounds shooting guard Ben McLemore who as a partial qualifier last season, was not allowed to play for Kansas.  The 6-5 wing is a terrific talent with the potential to be a game changer once he puts it all together.  The ultimate glue guy, Travis Releford returns on the wing as well.  He does a little bit of everything and doesn’t need to score to be a valuable player.

Freshman Andrew White is a great athlete and more than capable shooter who should contribute right away along with Rio Adams who is at his best off the bounce.  Their minutes will depend on how often Self decides to play Tharpe at the one and switch Johnson back to the off guard position.

Seven-footer Jeff Withey returns to once again hold down the fort in the middle.  He practically came out of nowhere to be one of the better rim protectors in college basketball last season.  Without Robinson, Withey must be more assertive as a low post scorer though to give Kansas some sort of inside presence.

McDonald’s All-American Perry Ellis steps into Robinson’s shoes at power forward.  Like T-Rob, he is strong and athletic but still a work in progress with his all-around offensive game.  KU didn’t have a whole lot of depth inside last season but that changes this year with role players Kevin Young and Justin Wesley returning.  A trio of freshmen led by Jamari Traylor, who was also sat out last season as a partial qualifier, adds some more options inside.  Young and Zach Peters have been banged up during the preseason though while Landen Lucas could end up redshirting due to a lack of available minutes.

Kansas is the clear favorite to take home another Big 12 title this season.  The play of newcomers Ellis and McLemore along with the new faces at the point will determine whether or not the Jayhawks are capable of making another March Madness run.

Player to Watch: Ben McLemore
Nobody has ever questions McLemore’s athleticism and explosiveness at the rim.  If the St. Louis native can shoot the ball with efficiency from the outisde, it will serve as a huge plus since KU doesn’t have a lot of perimeter weapons.  That could lead to McLemore blowing up the national scene and leaving early for the NBA Draft.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/13 vs. Michigan State
11/19 vs. Washington State (CBE Classic)
11/20 vs. St. Louis/Texas A&M (CBE Classic)
11/30 vs. Oregon State
12/8 vs. Colorado
12/15 vs. Belmont
12/18 vs. Richmond
12/22 at Ohio State
1/6 vs. Temple

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#7 UNLV Rebels
#8 San Diego State Aztecs
#9 Florida Gators
#10 Michigan Wolverines
#11 Syracuse Orange
#12 Duke Blue Devils
#13 Ohio State Buckeyes
#14 Arizona Wildcats
#15 North Carolina Tar Heels
#16 Michigan State Spartans
#17 UCLA Bruins
#18 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
#19 Cincinnati Bearcats
#20 Marquette Golden Eagles
#21 Creighton Bluejays
#22 Gonzaga Bulldogs
#23 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#24 Memphis Tigers
#25 Baylor Bears
#26 Wisconsin Badgers
#27 Tennessee Volunteers
#28 Pitt Panthers
#29 New Mexico Lobos
#30 St. Mary’s Gaels
#31 Georgetown Hoyas
#32 North Texas Mean Green
#33 Ohio Bobcats
#34 Texas Longhorns
#35 Miami Hurricanes
#36 Purdue Boilermakers
#37 Alabama Crimson Tide
#38 St. Joseph’s Hawks
#39 Murray State Racers
#40 VCU Rams
#41 Davidson Wildcats
#42 Stanford Cardinal
#43 UMass Minutemen
#44 St. John’s Red Storm
#45 Butler Bulldogs
#46 Florida State Seminoles
#47 Drexel Dragons
#48 St. Louis Billikens
#49 West Virginia Mountaineers
#50 BYU Cougars
#51 Temple Owls
#52 Washington Huskies
#53 California Golden Bears
#54 Kansas State Wildcats
#55 Nevada Wolfpack
#56 Colorado Buffaloes
#57 Iowa State Cyclones
#58 Northern Iowa Panthers
#59 Colorado State Rams
#60 Iowa Hawkeyes
#61 South Florida Bulls
#62 Valparaiso Crusaders
#63 Illinois Fighting Illini
#64 Arkansas Razorbacks
#65 Wichita State Shockers
#66 George Mason Patriots
#67 Virginia Cavaliers
#68 Villanova Wildcats
#69 Maryland Terrapins
#70 Marshall Thundering Herd
#71 Iona Gaels
#72 Northwestern Wildcats
#73 Oklahoms State Cowboys
#74 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#75 USC Trojans
#76 UConn Huskies
#77 Harvard Crimson
#78 Xavier Musketeers
#79 Ole Miss Rebels
#80 Clemson Tigers
#81 Oregon State Beavers
#82 Texas A&M Aggies
#83 Providence Friars
#84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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Comments

  1. Well, there goes that. Oh well, my Jayhawks looked good vs Michigan State but Releford looked f*cking terrible! McLemore, Withey, Johnson and Traylor all were crazy good.

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