3. Kansas (14-2)
With the talent on their roster, few doubted that Kansas would be a national contender this season. They proved their strength with a slew of nonconference wins, most notably over Kentucky, Tennessee, and Connecticut over a month ago. Things are a bit different with Big 12 play beginning and even Kansas knows that it’s going to be a tough road night in and night out.
That was proven as fact on Wednesday night, as the Jayhawks fell 65-60 at UCF, losing their first road game in conference play. Kevin McCullar Jr. had 16 points as the team shot 51% from the field, but struggled with turnovers and fell apart in the second half. Kansas bounced back in a major way on Saturday in a Top 10 matchup, securing a 78-66 win against Oklahoma. Hunter Dickinson led with 24 points and 14 rebounds while McCullar added 21 of his own.
Kansas is loaded with talent and experience and might be among the favorites to cut down the nets, but that won’t keep them safe from Big 12 play. This is going to be an action-packed two months of conference play and even the Jayhawks will struggle in these hostile road environments. That theory will be tested next week with trips to Oklahoma State and West Virginia. Both games look very winnable, but that’s what many said about their trip to Orlando.