AP Rank: 2
The Jayhawks may be ranked 2nd in the country -- with five first-place votes -- but the metrics certainly do not believe so.
Despite an 11-1 record with their lone loss coming to Marquette in the Maui Invitational, Kansas struggled to put away KenPom sub-300 Eastern Illinois (where they found themselves in a one-point game with five minutes to go), came out slow against Yale, plodded in wins against Missouri and UMKC and scraped by against Indiana in Bloomington (although in the Jayhawk’s defense, winning in Bloomington -- in that obstreperous environment -- is extremely difficult to do despite Indiana being just “okay” this year.)
Due to those rather uninspiring victories, the Jayhawks find themselves ranked just 16th in KenPom and 15th in the NET despite three Quadrant 1 victories and being ranked the second-best team in the country
It's quite a perplexing case because talent-wise, their starting five makes them one of the best teams in the country but their depth remains -- and will remain -- a lagging concern.
Kevin McCullar (20.4 Pts, 6.9 Reb, 4.8 Ast) has been nothing short of phenomenal this season, posting First-Team All-American numbers, and has immensely improved his shooting percentages from last year.
Hunter Dickinson (18.3 Pts, 12.5 Reb, 1.8 Ast) is putting up usual Dickinson numbers and KJ Adams (12.4 Pts, 3.7 Reb, 3.2 Ast) is having a strong season as well. Dajuan Harris continues to be one of the nation’s best “true” point guards, posting an impressive 6.8 APG.
Other than this group of four, who can step up? Towson transfer Nick Timberlake has been a disappointment so far, averaging only 4.0 PPG on 30.3% shooting from three, which was a strong asset to his game while he was at Towson.
Parker Braun, John Furphy and Jamari McDowell all come off the bench, but none are near the level of go-to bucket-getters and are primarily utilized as “give Dickinson/Mccullar a breather” although Furphy does present a bit of upside compared to the rest.
Although depth is a concern for Self’s Jayhawks, which is a large reason why the Jayhawks' metrics are quite behind their AP Ranking, doubting Bill Self is never the route anyone should take. In other words, Bill Self always finds an answer. Despite questions surrounding his team, the Jayhawks will remain the team to beat in the Big 12.