Kansas the pick, according to CBS' 'Candid Coaches' series
What do Kansas, Duke and Kentucky all have in common?
In addition to being three of the biggest powerhouse recruiting programs in college basketball, being in the top four in all-time victories and having been led by Hall of Fame coaches, those three also were the most popular answers to the CBS Sports poll question, “Who will be the best team in college basketball in the 2018-19 season?”
Big surprise, right?
After all, KU, Kentucky and Duke have long been at the top of the college basketball world, operating as annual title contenders and tossing some of the best talent in the college game onto the court year after year after year after year.
While that trio accounted for nearly two-thirds of the answers in CBS’ annual “Candid Coaches” feature, in which CBS writers Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander ask more than 100 college coaches for their answers to some of the most intriguing questions surrounding the game today each offseason.
The series, which this year opened with a question about which college coach was doing the best job of playing by the rules — Michigan’s John Belein was the run-away winner there — offers some great insight into some fun questions that might not be answered without the anonymity that it offers.
OK. Back to the best team in basketball question. While the blue-blood trio received more than 70 percent of the votes, it was Kansas that received more than half of that.
The Jayhawks were the answer on 38 percent of ballots, coming in 20 percentage points ahead of Kentucky (18 percent) and finishing 23 percent higher than Duke (15).
So, why Kansas?
That was answered, too.
"They've got enough coming back,” one coach told CBS. “Have had some guys sitting. Add that to what they've added in terms of their recruiting class, and they've got all the makings of a national championship team. When Bill Self likes his team, you're in trouble. I think he likes this team. Deep, big and can overwhelm you at a lot of positions.”
“Kansas is talented, deep and old,” another coach said. “They have to be the favorite to win it all. Dedric Lawson is going to dominate that league.”
And, finally, “They have the best mixture of talent and experience. Plus, they have the transfers that have proven they can play and score at a high level.”
It all makes sense. And it’s nothing you haven’t heard or read here and a dozen other places before. But there’s something different — something more powerful — about hearing it from the mouths of actual college coaches.
Clearly, the Jayhawks are positioned for a big season. And when you combine their talent, depth and experience with the fact that the Big 12 appears to be at least a little bit down this year, there’s no reason to think that any of these coaches are wrong.
Check out the complete article for the rest of the list — a couple of programs might surprise you — including Parrish’s thoughts on whether the coaches polled were right or wrong in picking KU.