Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks have won at least a share of their eighth straight Big 12 title with this weekend’s big win over Missouri in the final Border War showdown of a regular season. With it comes the respect of the national media in seeing Kansas as a power player good enough to win it all.
After the defections of the Morris twins, Markieff and Morris, to the NBA along with Josh Selby and the graduations of solid role players, KU was expected to have to reload this season. The incoming class wasn’t stacked like it will be next season. Thomas Robinson was more potential than proven. Tyshawn Taylor had not yet emerged as a co-star. Looking back, it’s clear that KU is living an unexpected scenario.
Jay Bilas of ESPN writes, "The performances of Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor against Missouri were really impressive. In a game that could have gotten away from the Jayhawks, they battled back and went 17-for-31 in the second half and overtime and made big play after big play. Taylor had 24 points, five assists and just one turnover and hit two big free throws in overtime. Robinson was his usual magnificent self, and Conner Teahan hit for 12 points on just four shots. Kansas also got good contributions from Kevin Young against smaller and quicker Missouri.
“Eight Big 12 titles in a row is hard to imagine, but that’s why Bill Self is a Hall of Famer. And he has a team that can win a title this year, with a little luck and a good draw.”
The Jayhawks have already proven they can hang with anyone in the country, so at this point I would argue it’s more a matter of skill — the same with the Missouri Tigers, Duke Blue Devis, North Carolina Tar Heels or Kentucky Wildcats. KU is no different and Bill Self’s team has shown that luck and draw are simply bonus items for a team that’s better than anyone realized.