99 in 99: #7 Kansas Jayhawks

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The Kansas Jayhawks were supposed to be the unstoppable beast heading into the NCAA Tournament and practically every expert’s pick to bring home the championship.  Instead, KU was upset in the second round by Northern Iowa and saw their title hopes vanish quicker than Bruce Pearl’s recruiting ethics in the past couple of months.

Despite losing three starters, the Jayhawks reload on talent and should be in Final Four conversations come March; assuming they finally get highly touted freshman Josh Selby’s status straightened out.

The Sports Bank’s “99 in 99” ranks the 72 power conference college basketball teams and top 27 mid-majors for the 2010-2011 season.  Click here if you missed teams #8-#99.

By: David Kay

Kansas Jayhawks (1st, 15-1 in Big 12, 32-2 overall)

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Marcus Morris (Jr)/Jeff Withey (Jr)
F: Markieff Morris (Jr)/Thomas Robinson (So)
G/F: Mario Little (Sr)/Travis Releford (So)
G: Tyshawn Taylor (Jr)/Brady Morningstar (Sr)/Tyrel Reed (Sr)/Royce Woolridge (Fr)
PG: Josh Selby (Fr)/Elijah Johnson (So)

Gone: PG-Sherron Collins, C-Cole Aldrich, SG-Xavier Henry

Kansas Bill Self

2010-2011 Outlook:
Kansas has been patiently waiting all off-season for the NCAA to rule on prize recruit Josh Selby’s eligibility.  Selby is a talented combo guard who can run the point or play off the ball and is a critical piece to the Jayhawks’ success this season.  The longer the NCAA takes in investigating his amateur status, the bigger setback KU will suffer.

When/If he is cleared to play, Selby will form a dynamic, athletic, versatile backcourt with Tyshawn Taylor who is looking to bounce back after a disappointing sophomore season.  In the time being, senior guards Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Redd will see a significant amount of minutes while Elijah Johnson and Royce Woolridge try to crack the rotation.

On the wing, Mario Little and Travis Releford both redshirted a year ago but should figure into line-up with hopes of replacing Xavier Henry’s production.

The Jayhawks relied on Cole Aldrich in so many different ways the past couple of seasons and will try to replace his presence in the middle.  The Morris twins return to help fill that void but there is not a whole lot of depth.

Marcus Morris KansasMarcus made a nice jump during his sophomore season showing off his physicality and ability to knock down jump shots.  Markieff should step into a more prominent role and has a game very similar to his brother’s though he is more aggressive on the glass.  Sophomore Thomas Robinson will have to provide depth until seven-footer Jeff Withey fully recovers from foot surgery which could be another couple of weeks.

Without Selby, Kansas is still a Top 20 team.  With him, they are Final Four contenders; that is how big of a difference maker he can be.  Regardless, you can bet Bill Self will coach this team up and have them highly competitive in the Big 12.

Player to Watch: Tyshawn Taylor, G

With each game Selby is not on the floor, Taylor’s impact becomes more and more important.  After showing great promise during his freshman season, Taylor found himself in and out of the starting line-up last season due to his inconsistencies especially with shooting the ball.  On a positive note, he did show improvement as a true point guard which is encouraging since he will take ownership of that position now that Sherron Collins has moved on in his basketball career.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/27 vs. Arizona (in Las Vegas)
12/2 vs. UCLA
12/7 vs. Memphis (in New York)
12/18 vs. USC
12/22 at California
1/9 at Michigan

Other 99 in 99’s:
#8 North Carolina
#9 Florida
#10 Illinois
#11 Kentucky
#12 Villanova
#13 Baylor
#14 Washington
#15 Georgetown
#16 Missouri
#17 Memphis
#18 Wisconsin
#19 Purdue
#20 Butler
#21 Virginia Tech
#22 Tennessee
#23 Gonzaga
#24 Texas
#25 San Diego State
#26 Xavier
#27 West Virginia
#28 BYU
#29 Georgia
#30 St. John’s
#31 N.C. State
#32 Florida State
#33 Marquette
#34 Temple
#35 Vanderbilt
#36 Arizona
#37 Murray State
#38 Dayton
#39 Notre Dame
#40 Mississippi State
#41 Utah State
#42 Maryland
#43 Richmond
#44 UNLV
#45 Seton Hall
#46 Wichita State
#47 Washington State
#48 St. Louis
#49 Old Dominion
#50 Minnesota
#51 New Mexico
#52 UConn
#53 Northwestern
#54 UCLA
#55 Southern Mississippi
#56 St. Mary’s
#57 Texas A&M
#58 Louisville
#59 Arizona State
#60 Northern Iowa
#61 Creighton
#62 Clemson
#63 Cincinnati
#64 Texas Tech
#65 Miami, FL
#66 Charlotte
#67 UTEP
#68 Ole Miss
#69 George Mason
#70 Colorado
#71 Weber State
#72 Alabama
#73 Bradley
#74 Central Florida
#75 Wake Forest
#76 Georgia Tech
#77 USC
#78 Oklahoma State
#79 Cal
#80 Oklahoma
#81 Virginia
#82 South Carolina
#83 Indiana
#84 Stanford
#85 Oregon
#86 Penn State
#87 South Florida
#88 Arkansas
#89 Boston College
#90 LSU
#91 Providence
#92 Michigan
#93 Oregon State
#94. Nebraska
#95. Auburn
#96. DePaul
#97. Iowa State
#98. Rutgers
#99. Iowa

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and The Washington Times Communities.  You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

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Comments

  1. I shall correct some mistakes here: Josh Selby, Markieff Morris, or Marcus Morris are the players to watch, T.Taylor will start at SG, Morningstar will start at SF, Markieff is a PF/C, Marcus is a PF/SF.

  2. Brian-

    I was trying to avoid picking the obvious player to watch which is why I went with Taylor… Taylor will be running the point until Selby’s situation gets figured out… Their starting line-up is still a question mark… they used two different starting five’s in the pre-season games so we’ll see… this is my long-term thought obviously since Selby is in the starting five… Taylor’s impact on the team will be huge until Selby returns… he needs a bounce back year for KU to be this good…

  3. Starting Lineup with Selby: PG: Selby and backup: M.Little, SG: T.Taylor and backup: T.Releford, SF: B.Morningstar and backup: T.Reed, PF: Marcus Morris and backup: T.Robinson and C: Markieff Morris and backup: J.Withey. Without Selby: PG: M.Little and backup: E.Johnson, SG: T.Taylor and backup: T.Releford, SF: B.Morningstar and backup: T.Reed, PF: Marcus Morris and backup: T.Robinson, and C: Markieff Morris and backup: J.Withey. See how much that changes, that why they need Selby alot, with Selby: Final Four contender, without Selby: Sweet 16.

  4. Correction: Marcus at center and Markieff at PF and Reed is starting SF and Brady Morningstar is backup.

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