Bill Self has Kansas back in the NCAA tournament and back in the conversation as a Final Four possibility. All this after losing Marcus and Markieff Morris, Josh Selby, two other starters and one other player from last years rotation.
All in all it's been quite a year for Kansas and one that has come as a bit of a surprise. This was supposed to be the rebuilding year. After missing on some fairly high profile recruits in recent years, Bill Self was going to rely on several unproven players and very little in the way of a bench.
Now five months later the Jayhawks are Big 12 Champions for an eighth consecutive season, a no. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament and they have the pieces to make a pretty deep run if things go the right way. So is this Bill Self's best coaching job to date?
That issue is debatable. Much of it depends on how you evaluate a coaching job. Is it in season coaching, or are you considering player development a huge piece of that? No one could have predicted that Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor would become one of the most impressive starting duo's in the country and that was a huge part of where Kansas is. So does that rest on coaching or do those players make Bill Self's coaching job easier?
Really no matter how you look at it this season still has to be considered one of Self's best. If you give Self's coaching and Self's system credit for Taylor and Robinson, then it's hard to argue that their have been two players elevate their games this significantly from one season to the next.
If you choose to believe that those two take away from the coaching job by Self, you still have to acknowledge that this team, while top heavy in talent, is painfully thin and managing that rotation and the personnel is a credit to the coaching job.
In addition to that you have the argument that Self and the Jayhawks won their eighth straight league title in a year where the Big 12 had two of the most formidable contenders in recent years. Missouri is probably considered a more likely Final Four team by many and Kansas won the league over the Tigers by two games. Baylor was dismantled by Self and the Jayhawks twice before finally exacting some revenge in the Big 12 Tournament.
Throw the first full round robin in league history and Bill Self showed why he is better at coaching and managing a program than anyone in the Big 12. That sentiment is echoed by the fact that Self was named a finalist for National Coach of the Year along with Jim Boeheim, Frank Haith and John Calipari. While Haith has done a great job at Missouri, no coach in the Big 12 has done what Self has done and he does it with a Kansas team that constantly has a target on it's back.
While there have been great years at Kansas during Self's nine seasons, this one has to stand out as the best coaching job for Self. Kansas had the least room for error and they won the Big 12 with room to spare. Now they head into the NCAA tournament with expectations as high as they always are, and that is the standard that Self sets for this program.