Let’s Talk About the Most Overrated Team in College Basketball this Year


Rich Sugg

Photo courtesy of kansascity.com

Evan Newcomb, Sports Editor

The Kansas Jayhawks are the most overrated team in college basketball, now hear me out before you start calling me an idiot. You are right not to believe me Kansas has been one of college basketball’s biggest names for decades and they have won 14 straight Big 12 regular season titles. They are known for having good young recruits, consistent four-year veterans and playing solid basketball on offense and defense. They also have head coach Bill Self who is one of the best in the game, maybe one of the best ever. This year, however, they have felt different from the great teams of the past, they have not played the level of basketball that you expect Kansas to play at. They rank 98th in the country in scoring offense with 76.7 points per game and 148th in scoring defense allowing 70.3 points per game pretty pedestrian numbers for one of the nations supposed top teams. They rank 14th overall in KenPom, a reliable ranking system that uses offensive and defensive metrics to calculate how good a team is, which is not as good as they would expect to be. A specifically damaging stat is that they rank 25th in KenPom’s offensive efficiency, not the level they need to be at to compete for conference titles let alone national titles.

They currently sit at 17-5 with reasonable losses @ Iowa State and @ Kentucky, however they have been dominated in both games by sides who looked significantly superior. They also have bad losses @ 14-6 Arizona State, @ 9-12 West Virginia and @ 12-9 Texas. The West Virginia loss was most damaging as they had a 6 point lead with 2:34 left in the game, but they did not score again and ended up losing 65-64 on a last-minute layup against the 104th overall ranked KenPom team. In the Texas loss, Kansas was dominated offensively and defensively from the start of the game against a team that talent wise is much worse than them. The losses are all on the road which really tells the story of Kansas’s struggles away from Allen Fieldhouse and really shows how this team is not the same team away from the comfort of being at home.

It is not just the losses that hurt it is a large number of close wins, 11 of their 16 wins have come by single digits including a three-point win over New Mexico State, in which they needed a last-second three-pointer by Guard Lagerald Vick and a six-point overtime win over 10-10 Stanford who is 128th overall in KenPom. These are games they should have won convincingly as a top team and did not and make me seriously question their ability as they seem to play down to their competition far too often. A lot of these close wins are obtained through luck as Kansas ranks 55th in KenPom’s luck metric which is the best out of KenPom’s top 15 teams.

They do have some quality wins including wins over Michigan State, Tennessee, Marquette and Villanova however they haven’t been able to take advantage of the other Big 12 contenders failures in conference play only being tied for second with contender Iowa State at 6-3 and behind underdogs Kansas State and Baylor who are at 6-2. The Big 12 schedule only gets harder for Kansas as they still have two games against title contender Kansas State and one game against nationally ranked Texas Tech and have plenty of opportunities to get upset again as they did against West Virginia and Texas.

Kansas is interpreted as good by most of the country because they are ranked high in the AP (Associated Press) Top 25 poll, though they are only there based on their prior achievements. Experts and Fans alike are questioning how good this team is, with one expert asking “Are we sure Kansas is good because the more I watch them the less talented they look”. The next few weeks will be telling of how good this team actually are and I will eat my words if Kansas has a firm grip on the Big 12 in the next couple weeks, though I do not think that will happen. Kansas will slowly start to show their true colors and if you are a Kansas fan it is not looking good.