March Madness: Kansas to make impact in tournament

Daniel Beeck, Cal Times Staff Writer

If this year’s college basketball season was summed up in word, that word would be unforeseeable. It seems as though the No. 1 seed in each poll only lasts a few nights before taking a hard fall, dropping to the middle of the pack. As the season progresses and we come upon the spring months, where normally flowers grow, we see teams in college basketball arise from the ground, and sprout new life in the polls.

Teams that previously held the number one spot, such as North Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan State, Oklahoma, and Villanova all have valid reasons as to why should win the title. However, one team in particular is always looming in the background. The Kansas Jayhawks are my pick for the winners of March Madness this season.

The Kansas Jayhawks (25-4, 13-3) clinched their 12th consecutive Big 12 regular-season title this past weekend, defeating Texas Tech 67-58. This title means something, however their losses to Michigan State, West Virginia, Oklahoma State, and Iowa State mean something too. Thinking about the impact of these losses, three of them come from their conference, which many think to be one of the most competitive in the nation. Being in a league where the current winning percentage is the 14th highest in NCAA history, proves the fact that this Jayhawk team is battle tested.

Aside from the impressive season that Kansas is having, Bill Self’s track record with past players is equally impressive. Producing players such as Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, both playing professional basketball in the NBA, Self doesn’t waste talent. Although the freshman class, who was scouted for success, hasn’t produced as expected, sophomores Devonte Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk have picked up that slack and are averaging playing time in 28 of the 29 games played this season.

Perry Ellis, a senior at Kansas, has led his team from the forward position, and this season, it seems he is having his most explosive year. He averages 16 points per game along with six rebounds. The other concrete contributor on the Jayhawk team is Wayne Selden Jr., who also averages about 41 percent from behind the three-point arc, sinking 61 three-point shots all season long.

This Kansas team will continue to impress before the season comes to a close and look for their impact to be felt nationwide. Whether it’s in their home state of Kansas, or the NRG Stadium in Houston, the Jayhawk fans will follow and cheer their team on to victory.