Tuesday, October 17, 2006

College Basketball Top 25 Preview: 4. Kansas

More will be expected from this Kansas team now that coach Bill Self has settled into the program and the KU athletic department has accepted a 3-year probation from the NCAA.

The probation is little more than a slap on the wrist, though KU could face sanctions if it does not toe the compliance line. There will be one less scholarship awarded in 2007, but the probation is more a set of guidelines than anything else and will not affect this season's basketball program.

Self returns for his 3rd season as the Jayhawks' coach and hopes to put the onus of back-to-back first round losses in the NCAA tournament deep into the memory hole.

Self was highly successful as the head coach at Illinois, leading the team deep into the tournament from 2000 through 2002 and capturing a pair of Big 10 titles along the way. He has the goods, with this current Kansas team, to go even deeper.

The success of the Kansas program starts and ends with sophomore Brandon Rush, who led the team last year in points and rebounds at 13.5 and 5.9, respectively. But this team will not rely on a single player. While Rush is a consensus All-Big 12, the Jayhawks are very deep, having returned their top seven scorers from a year ago.

Julian Wright, a 6'8" sophomore forward, is also expected to have a break-out season after having started 15 games as a freshman. The Jayhawks are loaded with talent at every position, making them a top 5 choice in just about every preseason poll.

A big test comes November 25 at defending champion Florida, and another measuring stick game comes December 23 when Boston College comes to town.

For more insight on the Jayhawks, see this article on Kansas.com.

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