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Kansas Inexperienced But Still Picked To Finish First
November 08, 2013

By Wendell Barnhouse | Correspondent

Story line
Being favored to win the Big 12 regular-season title isn't foreign to Kansas. After all, the Jayhawks have won or shared nine consecutive Conference titles. What is unusual is that KU has no returning starters and the only senior who will see significant playing time is Tarik Black, who transferred from Memphis. Junior Naadir Tharpe, who averaged 20 minutes a game as a backup last season, will be a key factor with his play at point guard. Freshman Andrew Wiggins is the jewel of an outstanding group of freshmen but Perry Ellis, a 6-8 sophomore forward, is expected to be the top scorer.

Coach: Bill Self, 300-59 in 10 seasons, 507-164 in 21 seasons overall.
Last season: 31-6 overall, 14-4 in Big 12 tied 1st.
NCAA Tournament: Lost in regional semifinal.

Top players
Junior guard Naadir Tharpe, sophomore forward Perry Ellis, senior forward Tarik Black, freshman guard Andrew Wiggins, freshman forward Joel Embiid, sophomore guard Andrew White III, freshman guard Wayne Selden, sophomore forward Jamari Traylor.

Coach Self
"It seems like to me there is more hype around this team in large part because of our recruiting class. All we've really done is basically tell our guys there's been some pretty good players here before you that have proven their ability and how they can impact a program, and none of you guys have even made a basket yet.  It's not going to be easy. You're going to have to fight for everything you get."

Kansas has won 13 of 17 Big 12 regular-season titles. … Under Bill Self, Kansas has won more conference championships (nine) than it has lost home games (eight), including just two home losses in the last six years. Self is 161-8 in his career at Allen Fieldhouse. … Nine of the scholarship players on the roster have not played in a college game. … Kansas led the nation in field goal percentage defense (36.1 percent). The Jayhawks have finished in the top 10 in field goal percentage defense in nine of Self's 10 seasons.

Season opener
Nov. 8 vs. Louisiana-Monroe

Top nonconference games
Nov. 12 vs. Duke
Dec. 7 at Colorado
Dec. 10 at Florida (Big 12-SEC Challenge)
Dec. 14 vs. New Mexico
Dec. 21 Georgetown
Dec. 30 Toledo
Jan. 5 San Diego State

Conference opener
Jan. 8 at Oklahoma

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