This is going to be the year that Kansas' streak of seven straight Big 12 conference championships comes to an end. And we've said this before as Bill Self has been forced to dip into his talented rotation and cross the country recruiting players that can fill the void left by the Jayhawks departed, but this season, its serious. I'm sure that Kansas won't extend their streak to eight, but its just a matter of who will take advantage of the opening. Will it be Texas A&M, Baylor, or even Missouri? The Jayhawks are just a shade below the elite in the Big 12.
Last season, Kansas won 35 games, becoming one of three teams to be ranked in the top ten both offensively and defensively. This year we should expect a much different result with the departures of four starters, including Big 12 Player of the Year Marcus Morris, his brother, a fellow NBA 1st Rounder, two steady wings and a backup point guard as talented as he was troubled.
Thomas Robinson, the most efficient backup in the country last season, has scouts drooling over the potential, but what's stopping him from being constantly double-teamed? Tyshawn Taylor returns to the point to set up Robinson, and he will be paired with junior combo-guard Elijah Johnson to push the ball up the court. With little-used Jeff Withey at center, the last starting spot and the rest of the rotation is up for grabs. Freshmen forwards Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor were declared partial qualifiers by the NCAA; neither can practice or play this fall. The four-man recruiting class has been cut in half and now Self focuses on building up first-year point guard Naadir Tharpe and forward Braeden Anderson to compete with Loyola Marymount transfer Kevin Young and Travis Releford.