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Taking a few breaks lately is why a Kansas team that isn’t one of Bill Self’s best could win the NCAA title

For more than four months the Kansas Jayhawks, like all other Division I men’s basketball teams, have been playing games, mostly twice a week, some at home, some on the road, others on neutral grounds. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll, Coaches Poll or CBS Sports Top 25 and 1. They have never been #1 on 1 seed remaining and just two wins away from what would be Bill Self’s second national title,

It’s a reminder of a few different things – including that Self, already a Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer at age 59, is an incredible basketball coach, who has won 20 regular season conference titles, 10 tournaments conference and now but it’s also proof that it’s not always a coach’s best teams that give him the best chance of winning everything, as much as it’s a coach’s great teams that move around the group with the kind of lucky national champions sometimes take pleasure.

Which takes nothing away from what KU has just done or could do.

Please don’t twist it.

What I mean is just that you could reasonably argue that it’s neither one of Self’s most talented five teams nor one of its top five teams, and yet maybe that’s truly the team that earned him a second national title. with Brandon Rush, Darrell Arthur, Mario Chalmers, Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich, Russell Robinson, Sasha Kaun and Darnell Jackson was obviously better than this KU team. This is the team with which Self won his first national title. And the 2010 team with Collins, Aldrich, Thomas Robinson, Tyshawn Taylor, Xavier Henry and Marcus and Markieff Morris were probably better too. It was the team that earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament but was upset in the second round by Northern Iowa.

(Shouts to Ali Farokhmanesh.)

The 2011 KU team?

It was also probably better than this KU team thanks to a roster consisting of Robinson, the Morris twins, Taylor, Josh Selby, Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar. the Elite Eight by VCU. (Shouts to Shaka Smart.) And the 2014 KU team with Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins, Perry Ellis, Wayne Seldon, Frank Mason and Tarik Black was certainly more talented than that KU team – but Embiid only played 20 games, and not at all in the NCAA Tournament. These Jayhawks were therefore upset in the round of 16 by Stanford. (Shouts to the kid who cried in the crowd.)

The 2016 KU team?

It was also probably better than this KU team thanks to a roster with Ellis, Mason, Seldon, Devonte Graham and Landen Lucas. It was the team that earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament but lost in the Elite Eight to Villanova. , who won the national championship. (Shouts to Kris Jenkins.) And the 2020 KU squad with Devon Dotson, Udoka Azubuike, Ochai Agbaji, Marcus Garrett and Isaiah Moss was definitely better than this KU squad. She’s the one who finished No. 1 at KenPom – but the NCAA tournament was later canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Boo to COVID.)

So where does this rank among Self’s KU teams?

Sixth ? Even lower?

At this point, it doesn’t matter. Because, again, being the best isn’t always key as much as being really good and catching a few breaks is key. When it comes to those breaks, Kansas had to contend with a missing Creighton team. two starters due to injuries in the Round of 16, a team from Providence ranked outside the top 30 in the Sweet 16 and a team from Miami ranked outside the top 40 at KenPom in the Elite Eight.

KU won those games by an average of 12.7 points.

Next up is a Final Four game against a Villanova side that just lost their second-highest scorer and best perimeter defender (Justin Moore) to a torn Achilles in the Elite Eight. It’s heartbreaking for Villanova but another break for Kansas. No need to apologize, of course. But sometimes things have to go your way to win a national title, and things are clearly going the Jayhawks way as this installment unfolds. Kansas is a 4.5-point favorite on Saturday against shorthanded Villanova.

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