KNOW THY ARCHENEMY: Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas

I'll keep this one short and sweet bitter, for obvious reasons. Everyone knows how good they are -- you don't need to hear me pontificate at length about it, and I sure as hell don't want to do so.

P.S. If you're looking for more of a fawning type of preview for KU basketball, you better head over to Rock Chalk Talk -- 'cause you ain't gonna find it here.

The Story So Far

KU is 11-0 against the 128th-ranked schedule in the nation. Last week, the Jayhawks finally acquired their first RPI Top 50 win, at home over Cal. Their schedule is a little better than Baylor's, but not by much.

All of which is a way of saying that while Kansas is ranked No. 1 pretty much based on reputation and last season's performance, all we know right now is that the Jayhawks are pretty good. But are they elite? That remains to be seen. They might run into their first RPI Top 25 opponent and wilt, for all we know.

Current Kansas RPI: 16

 

The Coach

BillSelf

Bill "Weave" Self
Seventh Season

180-40 (78-18) at Kansas
387-145 (143-43) overall

Bio

 

The Departures

 

Reserves

  • Tyrone Appleton (2.2 minutes per game | 0.8 point per game | 0.3 rebound per game)
  • Brennan Bechard (1.5 minutes per game | 0.1 point per game | 0.1 rebound per game)
  • Matt Kleinmann (2.1 minutes per game | 0.4 point per game | 0.6 rebound per game)
  • Quintrell Thomas (5.4 minutes per game | 1.5 points per game | 2 rebounds per game)

 

The Veterans

ConnerTeahan

#2 Conner "High School Musical" Teahan
Junior Guard
6-5 | 215
Leawood, Kan.

Bio

7.3 minutes per game | 2.7 points per game | 1.4 rebounds per game

SherronCollins

#4 Sherron "Otis" Collins
Senior Guard
5-11 | 205
Chicago, Ill.

Bio

30.3 minutes per game | 14.2 points per game | 1.9 rebounds per game

TyshawnTaylor

#10 Tyshawn "Point Plankn" Taylor
Sophomore Guard
6-3 | 180
Hoboken, N.J.

Bio

23.9 minutes per game | 7.4 points per game | 2.9 rebounds per game

BradyMorningstar

#12 Brady "DUI" Morningstar
Junior Guard
6-3 | 185
Lawrence, Kan.

Bio

21.5 minutes per game | 4.5 points per game | 1 rebound per game

TyrelReed

#14 Tyrel "Tyrelf" Reed
Junior Guard
6-3 | 185
Burlington, Kan.

Bio

15.2 minutes per game | 4.7 points per game | 1.5 rebounds per game

MarkieffMorris

#21 Markieff "Thing 1" Morris
Sophomore Center
6-9 | 232
Philadelphia, Pa.

Bio

15.5 minutes per game | 7.9 points per game | 5.8 rebounds per game

MarcusMorris

#22 Marcus "Thing 2" Morris
Sophomore Forward
6-8 | 225
Philadelphia, Pa.

Bio

24.1 minutes per game | 11.4 points per game | 5.9 rebounds per game

MarioLittle

#23 Mario "Bench Warmer" Little
Senior Guard
6-5 | 210
Chicago, Ill.

Bio

0* minutes per game | 0* points per game | 0* rebounds per game

*Little is redshirting this season.

TravisReleford

#24 Travis "Towel Guy" Releford
Sophomore Guard
6-5 | 205
Kansas City, Mo.

Bio

0* minutes per game | 0* points per game | 0* rebounds per game

*Releford is redshirting this season.

JordanJuenemann

#40 Jordan "Who?" Juenemann
Sophomore Guard
6-4 | 195
Hays, Kan.

Bio

2.1 minutes per game | 1.1 points per game | 0.3 rebound per game

ChaseBuford

#41 Chase "Token White Guy" Buford
Junior Guard
6-3 | 210
San Antonio, Texas

Bio

2.5 minutes per game | 0.6 point per game | 0.4 rebound per game

ColeAldrich

#45 Cole "Lumpy" Aldrich
Junior Center
6-11 | 245
Bloomington, Minn.

Bio

25.6 minutes per game | 11.2 points per game | 9.7 rebounds per game

 

The Redshirt

JeffWithey

#5 Jeff "I Wanna Be Like Cole" Withey
Freshman Center
7-0 | 225
San Diego, Calif.

Bio

0* minutes per game | 0* points per game | 0* rebounds per game

*Withey will be eligible to play in the Belmont game because he began redshirting in January.

 

The Newcomers

ThomasRobinson

#0 Thomas "Morris Twin Motivator" Robinson
Freshman Forward
6-9 | 230
Washington, D.C.

Bio

11.6 minutes per game | 4.8 points per game | 4.5 rebounds per game

XavierHenry

#1 Xavier "One-and-Done" Henry
Freshman Guard
6-6 | 220
Oklahoma City, Okla.

Bio

28 minutes per game | 17.2 points per game | 4.2 rebounds per game

CJHenry

#13 C.J. "Package Deal" Henry
Freshman Guard
6-4 | 205
Oklahoma City, Okla.

Bio

8.6 minutes per game | 5.2 points per game | 1.2 rebounds per game

ElijahJohnson

#15 Elijah "Tyshawn Motivator" Johnson
Freshman Guard
6-2 | 183
Las Vegas, Nev.

Bio

11.1 minutes per game | 3.9 points per game | 1.9 rebounds per game

My thanks to the Kansas sports information department for the photos.

 

The Analysis

OK, let's get this over with quickly.

Sherron Collins is really good. Cole Aldrich is really good. Xavier Henry is really good. Marcus Morris is much improved. Markieff Morris also is improved, but not quite as much. When Tyshawn Taylor actually plays hard, he's pretty good -- but he's always a G about it.

Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar continue to be useful "glue guys," which is a nice way of saying "bench warmers with just enough talent to play a few minutes so Bill Self can motivate the more talented guys."

Elijah Johnson and Thomas Robinson have been pretty good, but not nearly as good as every Kool-Aid-drinking Jayhawk fan thought after the first two games, when they put up ridiculous numbers against teams such as Fort Hays State. Jeff Withey, the transfer from Arizona, has a chance to gather some minutes behind Aldrich, but he's trailing the larger Morris twin because he hasn't played in almost a year.

The Jayhawks are so ridiculously deep that Self ran off Quintrell Thomas and Tyrone Appleton, redshirted Mario Little and Travis Releford, and felt comfortable benching Morningstar because he knew it wouldn't hurt the team's performance overly much.

Connor Teahan, Little, Releford, Jordan Juenemann, Chase Buford and C.J. Henry (we all know why he's on the team, Hawks, so quit pretending otherwise) make up this year's resident cheer and pom squad, which actually is multiracial for once.

KU is the favorite to win everything because the only team that really can beat them is themselves. (Oh, yeah, and the fighting John Walls of Kentucky.)

There, I'm done. Now I'm going to go take a shower.

 

Projected Big 12 Starting Lineup

SherronCollins TyshawnTaylor XavierHenry MarcusMorris ColeAldrich
Sherron Collins Tyshawn Taylor Xavier Henry Marcus Morris Cole Aldrich
1 2 3 4 5

 

Projected Top Big 12 Reserves

ElijahJohnson TyrelReed BradyMorningstar ThomasRobinson MarkieffMorris
Elijah Johnson Tyrel Reed Brady Morningstar Thomas Robinson Markieff Morris
1 2 3 4 5

 

The Final Verdict

As much as we would like to deny it, KU will improve its play once it starts playing better teams. I still don't think the Jayhawks will win in Austin, and I'm pretty confident we can take them in Manhattan, but other than that, it's hard to see them dropping a game.

Expect them to have a No. 1 or No. 2 seed going into the Big 12 Tournament, and since it's at Sprint Center, it's fairly hard to imagine them not securing the automatic bid and a No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

But they better enjoy it while it lasts. They're going to lose a minimum of three to five impact players off this team, and there is no doubt in my mind that we are slowly gaining on them.

Next year, first will be available.

Big 12 preseason prediction: 1st

My predicted finish: T-1st (with Texas)

Best-case scenario: National champion

Against K-State?: Toss-up in Manhattan, win in Lawrence

 

The Quotable Bill Self

"I mount their butt at halftime and try to get them back, but still yet I don't think body English or energy was as good coming out."

WTF? Yes, he actually said this. It appeared in The Wichita Eagle a week ago today, if you don't believe me.

 

Previously on KNOW THY ENEMY...

  1. ???
  2. Texas (T-1st with Kansas)
  3. ???
  4. Texas A&M
  5. Oklahoma State (T-5th with Texas Tech)
  6. ???
  7. ???
  8. Baylor
  9. ???
  10. Missouri (T-9th with Iowa State)
  11. ???
  12. Colorado
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