By Wendell Barnhouse
Needing to replace two players who were the first and third selections in the NBA Draft would cause most teams to regress. Based on the projections and predictions, Kansas is not "most teams." The Jayhawks are ranked in the preseason top 10 nationally and are favored by Big 12 coaches to win their 11th consecutive regular-season title. KU must replace Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid but the roster is deep and talented. Junior forward Perry Ellis and sophomore guard/forward Wayne Selden Jr. are returning starters. A talented freshmen class is headed by forwards Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre Jr. along with points guard Devonte' Graham.
Coach: Bill Self (12th season at Kansas).
Last season: 25-10 overall, 14-4 in Big 12, 1st.
NCAA Tournament: Lost in third round.
Jr. F Perry Ellis, Soph. G/F Wayne Selden Jr., Jr. F Jamari Traylor, Soph. G Frank Mason, Fr. G Devnonte' Graham, Fr. F Cliff Alexander, Fr. F Kelly Oubre Jr.
Coach Self says
"We still have to play inside-out. I still think that's how you win — you play inside-out. But we'll shoot more 3s than we've maybe ever shot. There'll be more guys with green lights, so to speak, than we've ever had. "We need to use all 50 feet going sideways, the entire width of the court, to run offense, as opposed to focusing in on getting it inside so much. Hopefully that will create more scoring opportunities inside."
Cliff Alexander, a 6-8 foward was named Big 12 preseason co-freshman of the year. He was chosen the 2014 Naismith Boys High School Player of the Year. … KU leads the Big 12 with 245 regular-season conference victories since 1996-97. The Jayhawks are the only school in the Big 12 to have a winning series record against every conference team. … Kansas has 57 conference basketball championships all-time, an NCAA record. … Kansas lost 10 games last season – the first time Bill Self has had a team finish with double-digit losses since his 1998-99 Tulsa team went 23-10.
Nov. 14 vs. UC-Santa Barbara
Top nonconference games
Nov. 18 vs. Kentucky (Champions Classic)
Dec. 5 vs. Florida (Big 12-SEC Challenge)
Dec. 10 at Georgetown
Jan. 4 vs. UNLV
Jan. 7 at Baylor