Kansas the pick, according to CBS' 'Candid Coaches' series


Blue Team forward Dedric Lawson (1) puts up a three over Red Team forward Silvio De Sousa (22) during a scrimmage on Tuesday, June 5, 2018, at the Horejsi Athletic Center.

Blue Team forward Dedric Lawson (1) puts up a three over Red Team forward Silvio De Sousa (22) during a scrimmage on Tuesday, June 5, 2018, at the Horejsi Athletic Center. by Nick Krug

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.


Tony Bandle 1 year, 5 months ago

As a KU grad, I totally approve of this article, but as an experienced college BBall fan, I am surprised that our back court [which consists of 3 freshmen, a sophomore, a true wing [Vick] and a guy who sat out last year] wasn't at least mentioned as a position of concern.

I know the talent potential is off the charts for this group but guard play wins National Titles However, if everyone plays even close to their max potential and especially if Silvio is allowed to play, anything less than the Final Four will be a disappointment!

PS Consider the Big 12 Title a slam dunk, with or without Silvio!!!!!!!

Craig Carson 1 year, 5 months ago

i thought the same thing..the front court is set..Azibuike coming back made them that much better...but losing 2 seniors and replacing them with 2 Freshmen and a red shirt Soph should be a cause for this point, only WVU and KSU pose any real threats and both of them have question marks bigger than KU's..WVU lost its senior back court and replaced them with low-unranked guys and KSU has the tools to win but they are saddled with an anchor that goes by the name of Bruce Weber

Joe Ross 1 year, 5 months ago

RE: "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."

I agree that Kansas has a great shot of making it to the championship and winning it all. But I would take a different position on the conference being down and what that implies for Kansas' postseason title hopes. My position is that Tournament preparation for Kansas is best when there is at least one other conference heavyweight with realistic expectations of a national title in the conference mix AND Kansas is loaded itself. The reason for this has to do with preparation for the Final Four. You know you're going to face that challenger at least twice and maybe 3 times (in the conference tournament). Look. When the swamp is drained of all the pretenders and the big gators are left duking it out for the title of Swamp King, it's best if you've had some recent experience being competitive in high-level games. In 2008, for example, Kansas has many pieces of the puzzle in place, but they faced a tough Texas squad that was 13-3 in conference (matching Kansas) AND boasted a 30-win regular season record. Rick Barnes led Texas to the Elite Eight before losing to Calipari's Memphis team, who went on to play in the national final with Kansas. Texas had actually beaten Kansas that year.

Kansas' last title before that, the '87/'88 team played second fiddle to Billy Tubbs' OU team all year, and few thought that Kansas was even capable of beating OU when they reached the National Championship Game. Those who remember watching can recall being sickened by Billy Packer's incessant praise of OU and their "cabbage patch" dance, and constant derision of Kansas as a team who couldn't play with them. Danny and Co. faced SO much adversity that year, in fact, that they were crowned National Champion with the annotation that they had suffered more losses than any previous winner.

In 2012, Kansas did not win the title. But we faced big competition with Missouri and Baylor in the conference that year, and faced good teams in Hoiberg's Cyclones and Frank Martin's Wildcats. There was enough gravitas among that quartet of ball clubs that lifted Kansas' level of play, enabling them to play up to the levels of a great North Carolina team and a Jared Sullinger-led Ohio State group. In 2003, under Roy Williams, Kansas was joined by conference heavy-hitters in (3) Texas, (4) Missouri, and (5) Oklahoma and (16) Oklahoma State.

Last year many were saying Kansas' streak was in jeopardy as the level of Big 12 competition was UP. So what happens? Kansas bested the conference...and made it to the Final Four.

So to me, an easy path through conference if anything does not HELP our chances of winning the title. Facing a tough path in conference and coming out on top actually does!

Shannon Gustafson 1 year, 5 months ago

Fortunately KU's non-conference schedule is filled with great teams with final 4 aspirations that should help to make up for the potentially weak B12 schedule.

Jay Scott 1 year, 5 months ago

It appears, by volume, that you believe this with the same ferocity that you displayed in a deranged week long, 40 post, 5000 word rant about how Perry Ellis had the same skills and NBA potential as Harrison (max contract) Barnes...

Like much of your rambling nonsense, that didn't age well.

Jay Scott 1 year, 5 months ago need for rambling deranged rants...

Doug Stahler 1 year, 5 months ago

Jay Scott please just go away. You think much too highly of yourself.

Jay Scott 1 year, 5 months ago

Doug, I'm sorry that you aren't emotionally stable enough to handle factual reality.

Perhaps there's a safe space with some cookies and puppies for you to recover?

Doug Longstaff 1 year, 5 months ago

I do get pretty excited over the apparent depth on this team. There will be 3 or 4 guys who seldom play that would start on 90% or more of the teams in division 1 basketball. It's a great thing, and, besides some unproven three point shooting, there really isn't a weakness on the team.

That said....I've learned from watching Bill's teams that, pretty often, having guys who know what their role is going to be and know they have to play and do their part (even if it's just a role) has been a pretty effective formula for success. To my memory, the 2012 team was the only team in the post-Ted Owens era that didn't feature even a single McDonald's All-American, and they went all the way to the NCAA finals. That team was pretty much Thomas, Tyshawn and a host of role-players who did SOMETHING well, but none of which were complete players, certainly not stars.

I'd always rather have a roster of stars, but there is still the challenge of keeping everyone happy. There are great, competitive players on this team that are going to have to be happy with supporting-player minutes. If the good attitudes hold up fine, this is going to be a serious force.

Dillon Davis 1 year, 5 months ago

As long as the PG play is there, we should be just fine. We don't have that leader as of now like we have had with Graham or Frank but as long as we can have someone step up and be a leader and get the ball to playmakers, then Bill may just get his second title.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 5 months ago

Sounds like Dedric might be lined up to play some point forward.

[''] 1 year, 5 months ago

More basketball stories in August than football stories...proof of how low this fball program has nosedived.

Jay Scott 1 year, 5 months ago

Are you new to all this? Here's a primer. Kansas is a legendary national power in basketball. Not so much in football.

The media covering Duke, UNC, Indiana, UCLA and the school in Lexington that hosts the G League Pro team all run more hoops articles at this time of year. When they DON'T, that's a problem.

[''] 1 year, 5 months ago

Try decaf Jay.... and try to get over yourself along the way....

Jay Scott 1 year, 5 months ago

If you don't like to have stupid comments mocked, here's a solution.

Don't make them.

[''] 1 year, 5 months ago

Your reading comprehension seems to be at an elementary school level. Sad. I simply mentioned how in years past we typically don't have this many basketball stories in August - yes even in blue blood bball areas like Duke, KY, KU. Go back over the last several years -- guarantee you the JW in August didn't have this many bball stories Again -- which shows the depths of degradation of the fball program. Shall I type slower for you? You seem pretty slow....try to keep up.

Jay Scott 1 year, 5 months ago

Doubling down on stupid isn't a good idea.

Yes, there are ALWAYS this many hoops stories. Especially when national publications pick you #1.

Again. If you don't post stupid comments, nobody will point out how stupid they are.

[''] 1 year, 5 months ago

Weak response. And untrue. You must be related to Trump.

Craig Carson 1 year, 5 months ago

yep..KU FB has to earn its media attention..why would I want to read article after article about a team that MIGHT win 1 game

Ryan Zimmerman 1 year, 5 months ago

The more I watch Duke, the more I wonder how they can be stopped. I would have to pick them over Kansas right now. Kentucky also has a strong class, but we've seen Calipari fail a lot despite the talent...

But Coach K and that roster this year- wow.

Craig Carson 1 year, 5 months ago

they ha more talent of last years team...Duke will be good and Barret + Williamson will get their highlights but dont be fooled into thinking they are gonna look overly dominant against real competition...those Canada teams didnt pose any real challenge..the question this year was as it was last year..can they play defense?

Sam Allen 1 year, 5 months ago

Pressure the crap out of the ball! John Calipari said this many times in 2012 Basketball tournament, heck they won (so what Anthony Davis and company) they would not have won without pressuring the crap out of the ball. May not be our style but it will need to be if we’re going to have a chance at a final four+. In in 2009-2010 we didn’t even pressure (at all). I talked to AHCKT about that after he said they relax their team. I told them no one relaxes and never will relax in tournament expecially elite which has been to much relaxed by our coach’s according to KT. If we’re going to win it all, we will need to pressure the crap out of the ball! I willl bring a sign that says that every game to make sure of that!

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