This Kansas team making a Final Four run would be the most Bill Self thing ever. Although, it would take a lot of luck and execution to do so.
Their first match-up, Northeastern, is a team that lives and dies by the three. The problem is Kansas gives up A LOT of threes with opponents shooting 41.4 percent of their shots from the arc.
They made teams like Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Iowa State look like last years Villanova.
While Northeastern ranks 17th in three-point percentage, only one of the aforementioned teams even ranked in the top 40. That would be Oklahoma State, ranking 40th with a 37. 6 shooting percentage.
And if Kansas does make it past Northeastern, they’ll have a team in Auburn lying in wait who can also sling it from three. They rank 41st in three-point percentage, right behind Oklahoma State, but have shot nearly 200 more three pointers than them.
Needless to say, it won’t be easy for Kansas to make it to Kansas City, which is where the Sweet 16 will be held in the Midwest bracket. But what if they do? How far can they go?
Here are ten reasons Kansas can make another Final Four run:
- Even though Kansas’ weakness is guarding the three, both teams in Northeastern and Auburn live and die by the three. If Kansas can make it difficult for them to shoot it shouldn’t be a tough road to the Sweet 16. It’s important to note that Kansas hasn’t yet made it tough for opponents to shoot the three, but there’s no better time than now.
- If Kansas makes it to the Sweet 16 they’ll likely get UNC and then Kentucky in Kansas City. Bill Self has always played Roy and UNC well, as he’s 3-0 against them. Same goes with Calipari and Kentucky, as he’s 6-4. They’ve also already played Kentucky at Rupp Arena, and lost, but be more prepared this time around.
- Quentin Grimes and David McCormack are two players we haven’t been able to rely on until post season started. Grimes is shooting well above his average and playing with an aggression we didn’t know he had. And McCormack is slowly turning into a man right before our eyes. I see a guy in McCormack that has the motor of Udoka Azubuike but can actually shoot away from the basket. These two guys can be huge in making a deep run.
- The Sweet 16 is in Kansas City, Missouri which is right in Kansas’ back yard. If they can make it there, there’s no doubt it’ll just about be a home game. The fans will flock to the Sprint Center and do everything they can to make it a difficult environment for their opponents.
- Not many people may know this or even believe it, but Bill Self has won the most tournament games since his time at Kansas. If there’s any coach to trust, it’s Self. He may not have as many national titles as he should, but he has a knack for making teams that aren’t good and turning them into national title contenders. He’ll have the team prepared this weekend there’s no doubt.
- Dedric Lawson is averaging a double-double this year and has recorded 20 games with a double-double. The guy is literally a double-double machine. The craziest part is in most of those games you wouldn’t believe it until the end of the game when they show the stats. He’s so quiet and smooth about his approach which makes him even harder to guard and contain. If Dedric can bring a double-double every game, this team could make a serious run.
- Devon Dotson may be a freshman, but he’s playing like a seasoned veteran. He’s averaging 12.1 points per game and 3.6 assists, while shooting 47.9 percent from the field and 37 percent from behind the arc. One thing that’s been common in deep tournament runs for Bill Self is a great point guard. Dotson is just that and can be the guy that leads them back to the promise land.
- When the nation doubts them, they overachieve. Last year there was a lot of chatter Kansas could be the first team trounced by a 16 seed. But instead they make a Final Four run. Same thing in 2012 with Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson. The more doubt that is cast upon this team, the tougher it will make them, and they’ll play with a chip on their shoulder.
- Kansas has the best sixth man in the nation in Mitch Lightfoot, or what most people may know him as, Prison Mitch. He gives that extra energy off the bench and is a shot blocking machine. He’s not the most athletic player or even the tallest, but his ability to track the ball down in the air is incredible. Having this type of player really changes a team’s strategy and can lead them to make more mistakes trying to avoid down low.
- Faith. Yes, faith is a reason this team can make a Final Four run. The more faith the fans have in this team the more they’ll believe in themselves. It’s been a tough year for Kansas with a lot of adversity, but it has only made them stronger. If there’s any time they need our faith and support, it’s now.
You may think I’m crazy after reading this, but that’s the goal. It’s also the goal to give fans hope and realize we have a shot every year. And it’s because the legend himself, Bill Self.
And as the saying goes—players change, but expectations don’t.