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Jayhawks a popular Final Four pick among ESPN college hoops analysts

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New, bigger banners memorializing Kansas University's national champions - and a new "Beware of 'the Phog'" banner - were unfurled in Allen Fieldhouse in this photo from July 2006. A new banner commemorating the 2008 national championship will join these four Tuesday night.

New, bigger banners memorializing Kansas University's national champions - and a new "Beware of 'the Phog'" banner - were unfurled in Allen Fieldhouse in this photo from July 2006. A new banner commemorating the 2008 national championship will join these four Tuesday night. by rgwin

The college basketball staff at ESPN this week released its predictions for this seasons’s Final Four, national champion, player of the year and coach of the year.

Not surprisingly, Kansas received more than a little love.

Of the 26 staffers who gave their picks, seven had Kansas advancing to the Final Four and one had the Jayhawks walking away with another national championship.

Get this, though: Twelve of the 26 had Wichita State reaching the Final Four and two prognosticators even had Kansas and Wichita State both going to the Final Four.

Wouldn’t that be a wild way to cap off KU coach Bill Self’s 15th season in charge of the program and the 120th season of Kansas basketball?

For a point of reference, 24 of the 26 prognosticators have Michigan State in their Final Four, 15 of the 26 have Duke in their Final Four, 14 have Arizona and 4 have Kentucky.

Real quick, here’s a look at the seven ESPN personalities who believe the Jayhawks are due for a return to the Final Four in the city where they won it all in 2008. Somewhat amazingly, three of them had the exact same Final Four and national champion...

• Jay Bilas – Duke, Michigan State, Arizona and KU, with Michigan State winning it all.

• Kyle Bonagura – Duke, Michigan State, Arizona and KU, with Michigan State winning it all.

• Dino Gaudio – Duke, Michigan State, Arizona and KU, with Michigan State winning it all.

• Dan Murphy – Duke, Michigan State, Wichita State and KU, with Duke winning it all.

• Mark Schlabach – Duke, Michigan State, Villanova and KU, with Michigan State winning it all.

• John Thompson III – Michigan State, Wichita State, Kentucky and KU, with Michigan State winning it all.

And the one ESPN personality who has KU winning it all this season is former Purdue forward Robbie Hummel, who saw first-hand in 2012 just how good the Jayhawks could be when Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor survived a second-round scare from Hummel’s Boilermakers en route to the national title game.

Hummel’s Final Four: Kansas, Arizona, Michigan State and Villanova.

But Hummel’s faith in the Jayhawks does not stop with him picking them to be the last team standing at the end of the Big Dance.

Hummel also pegged KU senior Devonte’ Graham as his pick for national player of the year AND Bill Self as his coach of the year.

We won’t know for months if either of those predictions — or any of the others — will come true, but we will officially get the race under way at 8 p.m. tonight, when KU hosts Tennessee State in the season opener for both teams.

Comments

Kevin Jones 1 week, 6 days ago

I am pessimistic by nature, so perhaps that is what is coming out here.

I just have a hard time seeing an 8 man rotation surviving past the first weekend.

We're 1 to 2 injuries away from a train wreck of a season being that shallow.

Dale Rogers 1 week, 6 days ago

Don't forget we'll add Cunliffe after first semester.

Dillon Davis 1 week, 6 days ago

My thoughts exactly. Now they may change if De Sousa can become eligible but as it stands right now, I'm with you. I don't feel good about our depth at all. Don't trust Mitch Lightfoot at all. And I honestly don't trust Cunliffe to do anything, he seems like a poor man's Brannen Greene.

Freddie Garza 1 week, 6 days ago

...not if we have to play Northeastern Southern State University of the West Coast in the Sweet 16 we won't.

Len Shaffer 1 week, 6 days ago

Predictions in the past have often been the kiss of death for KU, so needless to say I'm nervous. (Then again, I'm always nervous when it comes to the tournament, especially regarding the Elite 8.)

How great would it be, though, to beat UK in the Final Four and WSU for the championship? (And for that matter, let's throw in UCLA in the Elite 8.) There are a lot of teams that we need some serious Madness revenge on ...

Marcus Balzer 1 week, 6 days ago

I seem to remember a magical run to New Orleans when we had a so called ‘short’ bench.

Lance Hobson 1 week, 6 days ago

Well that’s great but unlikely, it’s just so hard in March. We haven’t made it since 2012 and twice since 2003. And that’s been with almost all number one seeds and a couple of top overall seeds. You need luck and we haven’t had any for a very long time.

Danny Delgadillo 1 week, 6 days ago

We played pretty good tonight and I would love to believe we will be in the Final Four or win another NC. However, here is the fact of the matter..... You can't achieve either of those things if you can't get past the elite eight. So I am looking for that win first.

Dirk Medema 1 week, 6 days ago

Your welcome :-)

Coach rarely plays more than 8 or 9 players so only having that many shouldn't be a problem.

Cunliffe is the antithesis of Greene. More like a poor mans Lagerald Vick. Freaky athleticism but not as refined BB/shooting skills. That being said Vick deserves a huge hat tip for his development each year.

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