Bill Self has created a dynasty and is on the verge of breaking the best streak in college basketball history. The Kansas Jayhawks are in search of a record 14th straight Big 12 title, but there is a large fork in the road.
Depth is going to be something you need to get used to hearing. Every time you turn on your TV for a game, whichever annoying commentator is on won’t stop talking about the team’s depth, guaranteed. The thing is, they have a good reason to be talking about it. Our depth was already bad, and now with the possible loss of Billy Preston, this is the thinnest team we’ve had in my lifetime.
Adding Silvio De Sousa would be a huge help to this team, but let’s be honest, the NCAA is as unpredictable as the weather in Kansas. Not to mention, the tragedy that has become Billy Preston’s season. This leaves Udoka and Mitch Lightfoot as our interior. Doke is good, but this duo isn’t quite the combo of Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey or Perry Ellis and Landen Lucas.
At the beginning of conference play we will also be adding Sam Cunliffe, which is nice and all, but he’s not a big man. Now if we manage to add Silvio and Billy Preston is allowed to play, there is no reason to worry. But, if things go wrong like they always seem to do, we could be in for a hell of a season.
It’s time to answer the question, are we at risk of losing the Big 12? I’m going to make this as simple as possible. Yes. Yes we are. We aren’t a bad team, but the lack of depth for our big men are a huge concern coming into conference play with teams like Texas, West Virginia, and TCU set at the big man position. The second Doke gets caught in foul trouble and we need Mitch Lightfoot to handle Vladimir Brodziansky or Mohamed Bamba, we become just as vulnerable as anyone else in the conference (aside from Iowa State), and while we thought the Big 12 was going to be having a down year, KenPom.com has almost all of the Big 12 ranked in the Top 40. Maybe they aren’t as bad as we thought.
If the stars align and we get De Sousa to add a little bit of depth and size, or we get Preston back, or somehow manage both, we’ll be fine. But at the moment, how things are right now, we’re vulnerable in case of an off night shooting or early foul trouble. Let’s cross our fingers and hope it doesn’t happen, but be weary Kansas fans. Nothing’s impossible.