Is it a surprise to anyone that the Kansas Jayhawks will be ranked number 1 in the country after beating Oklahoma Saturday, January 26, 2013? It was a pretty standard win for the Jayhawks. It wasn’t flashy. It wasn’t high scoring. It was workmanlike and defensively efficient. It was a trademark Bill Self win. With Duke losing in a blowout to Miami (Florida) last week and Kansas winning all of their games, Kansas will secure 1st place in the USA Coach’s poll while currently ranked 2 behind Duke until new rankings come out.
But yes, many are surprised that Kansas is looking at a top ranking at week 12 of college basketball. After losing Thomas Robinson to the NBA and the leadership of Tyshawn Taylor from last season, many wondered if Bill Self could pull off another stellar season.
Bill Self proved in the 2011-2012 season after losing 3 NBA starters, he could take a team with minimal game experience and make a Final Four team out of them. They made it to the title game, only to lose to NAB talent laden Kentucky.
All Bill Self does is win. He has only lost 7 games at home and is fast approaching the ranks of top winning coaches in college basketball. Under his leadership, Jeff Withey was defensive player of the year in 2011-2012 and looks to be on pace to top KU block records and take the same accolades for this season.
Elijah Johnson and Naadir Tharpe have been guided to be the best guards they can be at this point in time. Kevin Young has been molded into a serviceable big man and Travis Releford has matured into a smart basketball player. The Bill Self era has seen players that might have not flourished in other systems deliver the most they possibly can with their skillsets and potential.
Self has proven to be the master of making the most with what he has. Season after season he delivers wins, conference titles and the realistic opportunity to make a Final Four appearance.
Only time will tell if this scrappy KU team can keep playing tight defense and capitalize on holding their opponents to poor shooting percentage. Kansas has not had it easy through the Big 12. There’s a chance they could go undefeated through the Big 12 conference schedule with narrow wins and a few overtime performances, but rest assured that Bill Self will have this team playing the best basketball it can.
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