With his recent accomplishments at the helm, Bill Self has established Kansas basketball as the leading blue blood program in the NCAA ahead of Duke, UNC, and Kentucky.
Mark Story of the Lexington Herald-Leader thinks the Kansas Jayhawks are the school to beat in coming years, and he’s absolutely right.
He referred to Kansas as the new ‘gold standard’ among the primary men’s college hoops blue bloods.’ Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski are retired, and John Calipari’s ‘Cats have not been as dominant in the past few years. The last program standing as a clear-cut blue blood is KU, a team that won the most recent national championship among the other three and is expected to be the preseason No. 1 this season.
Bill Self has unleashed a new level of willingness to bring another national championship to the city of Lawrence. After missing the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments due to a heart ailment that put his coaching career in jeopardy, he has come out hungry as ever in the transfer portal and on the recruiting trail — most recently by landing consensus top-5 high schooler Flory Bidunga.
Nobody in the media thought Kansas would land the highly touted Congo native. The On3 prediction machine gave the Jayhawks the lowest chance among the other three finalists. But after all was said and done, Hall of Famer Coach Self came out on top once again.
He mentioned that many fans share a sentiment of ‘at least it wasn’t Duke,’ but perhaps those same fans will be thinking, ‘at least it wasn’t Kansas’ in the future.
READ: Bill Self continues to show he’s at the top of his game
While Duke fans will simply write it off because they’ll likely receive a commitment from Cooper Flagg, there’s one thing to keep in mind — Kansas is not the recruiting powerhouse that a Duke or Kentucky is. Those schools land the highest-rated recruits each season to cater to their identity as one-and-done schools, and the Jayhawks often make a living off of local players — look no further than players like Ochai Agbaji, Dajuan Harris, or Christian Braun.
Simply put, Kansas does more with less. They’ve beaten Duke in three of their last four meetings and Kentucky in five of their last seven. Additionally, KU has swept UNC in the past four meetings, including in the title game last year. Coach Self has established regular season dominance over these schools, and no one can mention tournament success anymore now that the Jayhawks won it all.
Casual college basketball fans will only refer to Duke and Kentucky as the premier programs, but those that have been watching closely know that title belongs to Kansas basketball above all.
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