No program has been able to keep the Kansas Jayhawks in the last 14 seasons from winning at least a share of the Big 12 regular season title. That’s a run longer than even John Wooden’s legendary UCLA basketball teams.
Could KU’s historic streak finally come to an end this year? It certainly seems like Bill Self’s squad looks more vulnerable than ever right now, losing three of the last five games (falling to West Virginia, Kentucky and Texas in that span).
The Jayhawks are just a half game out of first place behind 6-2 Kansas State and Baylor as of Monday afternoon. Iowa State is in the same position as Kansas in second place with 6-3 records.
Still, Self hasn’t had much reason to smile lately. He lost 7-foot starting center Udoka Azubike for the season with a wrist injury last month. The big man KU thought would help replace Azubike was ruled ineligible for the remainder of the year. That was Silvio De Sousa, who was caught up in the FBI college hoops fraud investigation.
Now what will the Jayhawks do to respond to all the adversity that they’re going through? They still have one of the most talented players in the nation in Dedric Lawson, who had 25 points in the win over Texas Tech last week. Lawson, Legerald Vick and Devan Dotson, who combined for 58 points in the game, will have to carry a huge load moving forward.
And the unsung hero in what could still be a Big 12 title season for Self was Ochai Agbaji, who was named conference newcomer of the week Monday. Agbai was heading for a redshirt year, but he ended up being needed desperately to add frontcourt depth.
Yeah that sounds weird to say Kansas, a blue-blood program, is desperate for players (they wish they had Rochester John Marshall five-star senior Matthew Hurt who made an official visit to Lawrence over the weekend).