For Pete's Sake

National writers’ predictions for KU include an NCAA title, Bill Self’s departure

The Kansas men’s basketball team kicks off its 2019-20 season on Tuesday night with high expectations as the third-ranked team in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

The Jayhawks are in New York to face No. 4 Duke in the Champions Classic, and one writer from the Big Apple believes this season with be memorable for good and bad reasons.

The New York Post made predictions for the college basketball season, and Zach Braziller thinks the Jayhawks have what it takes to win the national championship. He also believes the NCAA will drop the hammer and coach Bill Self’s tenure in Lawrence will be coming to an end soon.

“Kansas — balanced, experienced and deep — wins it all, cutting down the nets in Atlanta behind MOP Devon Dotson, an elite guard who becomes a top-10 NBA draft pick. But all is not well in Lawrence,” Braziller wrote. “Coach Bill Self, facing a year-long suspension for lack of institutional control and violating coaching-responsibility standards relating to the Jayhawks role in the FBI investigation into corruption in the sport, calls it quits after 17 seasons. His departure leaves the program, facing a postseason ban for Level 1 violations, reeling.”

Here are some other predictions for KU basketball this season:

Two of five CBS Sports writers predicted Kansas would be in the Final Four: Matt Norlander and Chip Patterson. Here is part of what Norlander wrote: “No other team has such a distinct and promising inside-outside duo like the Jayhawks, who oh by the way should be a top-10 defensive unit in the sport. Put all that together, I like KU to take back the Big 12, win that league and in doing so land a No. 1 seed without much debate. That puts them on the path to getting to Atlanta in 2020.”

A pair of Sports Illustrated writers believe KU will be in the Final Four: Max Woo and Michael Shapiro. This is a snippet of what Shapiro wrote: “The Jayhawks won’t be college basketball’s most exciting watch in 2019-20, nor will they be relatively close. Bill Self is going to play a lot of double-big lineups, pairing Silvio De Sousa with Udoka Azubuike for a dominant defensive frontcourt. Kansas will back teams down and clean up on the glass. Expect plenty of low-scoring affairs in Lawrence.”

Andy Katz made 20 predictions for the season for NCAA.com and one includes a Final Four pick, which includes KU. He wrote: “The return of Devon Dotson, Udoka Azubuike and Silvio De Sousa make the Jayhawks one of the most veteran teams in the country.”

Myron Medcalf and John Borzello of ESPN both believe the Jayhawks will be in the Final Four. Medcalf thinks KU will be the national champions and wrote this about Tuesday’s Champions Classic: “I mean, if we’re talking about a possible title run for Kansas, then we should focus on Dotson, who has to lead the Jayhawks in his second season. His potential growth rivals the return of Udoka Azubuike in terms of significance for Bill Self’s squad. Will he cut down on turnovers (2.3 per game last season)? Is he a more reliable 3-point shooter (35% in Big 12 play last season)? His usage rate will increase with Quentin Grimes, Lagerald Vick and Dedric Lawson all gone. Matched up against Tre Jones at the Champions Classic, we’ll learn more about this Kansas squad and Dotson’s role as its new leader as the season begins.”

Rob Dauster of NBC Sports predicted the Jayhawks would win the national championship. Dauster, Travis Hines and Scott Phillips all picked KU as the Big 12 champs.

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From covering the World Series to the World Cup, Pete has done a little bit of everything since joining The Star in 1997. He writes about baseball and has a quirky blog that augments The Star’s coverage of area teams.
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