Kansas Basketball Futures & Betting Odds: Why There’s Value on Jayhawks to Win National Title
Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images & Ed Zurga/Getty Images. Pictured: Jalen Wilson (10) of the Kansas Jayhawks.
Collin Wilson may be high on a TCU national title this season, but that’s just a value play.
Not to mention TCU might be a little overhyped — like how everyone fell in love with North Carolina, and then Creighton, et cetera.
There’s a reason Kansas is 13/1 to win the national title while TCU is 50/1. And there’s a reason why Kansas is still the better bet.
TCU may lay seven points on the gridiron, but Kansas is the better bet on the hard court.
In lieu of this weekend’s biggest football game, let me break down the reasons why Kansas is the better bet to win the college basketball National Championship.
Coach K is done. Roy Williams was gone a year ago. Jay Wright finally put the whistle away.
Bill Self is now the undisputed best coach in college hoops. After 20 seasons, Self has the highest winning percentage of any active coach with 500 or more victories. He has the highest home-winning percentage of any active coach, with the Jayhawks having lost just 15 games at Allen Fieldhouse this century.
Self is fresh off of the biggest come-from-behind victory in championship game history, rallying his Jayhawks from 16 points down to beat UNC.
To top it off, Self is pissed.
Kansas is staring down the barrel of five Level I allegations from the NCAA on the basis of bribery and corruption in recruiting. Self and Kansas believe this is a joke. They are laughing in the face of these allegations.
“The NCAA enforcement staff’s reply does not in any way change the University of Kansas’ position that the allegations brought against our men’s basketball program are simply baseless and littered with false representations… The NCAA enforcement staff’s reply does not in any way change the University of Kansas’ position that the allegations brought against our men’s basketball program are simply baseless and littered with false representations.”
Those are fighting words. Self is about to go on a tear this season.
Dajuan Harris Jr., Jalen Wilson and Texas Tech transfer Kevin McCullar create as good of a big three as you will see in college basketball.
Harris is a certified floor general and a lockdown defender. He led the Big 12 and was 14th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.81-to-1). He played in 39 games last season and started 40 of them primarily because he was the lead perimeter defender on a team that held opponents to under 30% from 3.
— Overtime (@overtime) January 5, 2022
Wilson is a pretty good bet for Big 12 Player of the Year. He averaged 12 points per game this season and now has nobody in front of him and the rim.
Wilson is going to ferociously attack the bucket in transition. The Jayhawks love to play in transition and run downhill, and Wilson is the perfect fit for this style.
Plus, Wilson is a solid rebounder and playmaker. He will be the Jayhawks' MVP when it’s all set and done.
McCullar is going to be the most important piece, however. What he brings is unlimited versatility.
McCullar can defend one-through-five, and defend really well (2.8% steal rate). McCullar can handle the ball like a guard (19.4% assist rate) or run the floor as a four. McCullar can do everything and anything Self asks him to and that unlocks unlimited possibilities.
Watch out if the shots start falling, too.
— Kansas Men’s Basketball (@KUHoops) August 28, 2022
Harris won the job last year, but he had to beat out returning guards Joseph Yesufu and Bobby Pettiford.
Don’t overlook those guys this season.
Yesufu is a combo guard with deep range. People tend to forget he averaged over 20 points in his final nine games as the lead scorer at Drake.
— MVC Basketball (@ValleyHoops) March 6, 2021
Yesufu is also a pretty good on-ball defender and likes doing the dirty work. Self claims he was utilizing him wrong, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see some improvement in that area.
Pettiford should be a breakout star this season. An injury ended a promising start last year, but he averaged almost 20 points in high school.
Despite the array of promising big men in the league, college ball is still a guard’s game. This is as good a group as you’ll see in the nation.
That doesn’t even mention the young guards coming in.
Self brought in the nation’s fourth-best recruiting class, per 247. That class includes three McDonald’s All-Americans.
Two of those are guards.
Gradey Dick is the lone five-star recruit coming to Kansas and is projected to start at the two right away. He was the 2022 Gatorade Player of the Year in Kansas — the last GPOTY to attend Kansas was Andrew Wiggins.
Dick is a knockdown shooter from any area of the floor and can create his own shot — otherwise known as the perfect two-guard.
MJ Rice was the other All-American guard, a four-star recruit out of California. He’s a lengthy guard who has the ability to run the wing with size and explosiveness. He can score at all three levels and loves playing downhill (as Self does).
Self brought in two more four-star recruits in Ernest Udeh Jr. and Zuby Ejiofor, two guys that can play the athletic five role.
This is the perfect Bill Self roster.
The Jayhawks will play fast and downhill with a number of athletic guards. They have a true No. 1 in Wilson. They will probably be better defensively with McCullar leading the way, and this is after finishing top-20 in Defensive Efficiency last season.
They also have a number of young players with uber-high ceilings. They’ll be led by veterans with tournament experience.
This team has a great composition. 13/1 is cheap, and much better value than TCU and Jamie Dixon’s horrendous offense.