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KU's 2007-08 national title team cruises to Self Madness crown

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Kansas celebrates their national title against Memphis on Monday, April 7, 2008 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Kansas celebrates their national title against Memphis on Monday, April 7, 2008 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. by Thad Allender

It ended where most people thought it would, with the 2007-08 national championship team being crowned as the best of the Bill Self era at Kansas.

But after three rounds of blowouts in our Self Madness 2020 bracket, that legendary squad finally faced a team that could at least compete.

In the title game matchup earlier this week, the 2019-20 Kansas squad that had its season cut short because of the COVID-19 crisis racked up more than 33% of the vote in the head-to-head battle with the ’08 team.

While that might not seem like a noteworthy accomplishment at first, a little perspective changes that pretty quickly.

One round earlier, in the semifinals, the 2011-12 KU team that featured fan favorite Thomas Robinson, polarizing guard Tyshawn Taylor and a group that willed its way all the way to the national title game received just 8.5% of the vote in its matchup with Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush, Sherron Collins, Darrell Arthur, Darnell Jackson, Sasha Kaun and the rest of that 2007-08 crew.

So put into that context, it’s easy to say the 2019-20 team hung around.

Think about it. One out of every three Kansas fans who voted (and we received more than 10,000 votes in our Self Madness tournament) thought the current KU team was better than that ’08 squad.

That’s still a very small sample size, of course. And there’s very little that’s scientific or dead accurate about these types of brackets and polls. With nothing actually on the line, it’s easy to vote for one team or the other based on whatever criteria you like.

But if the teams actually met up and Kansas fans were forced to root for one or the other, it’s hard to imagine many of them rooting against that 2008 team.

Their dominance in this bracket speaks to their place as arguably the greatest team in the rich history of Kansas basketball.

The fact that a third of the people who participated in the poll were at least willing to entertain the idea that the 2019-20 squad was in some way better than that group, shows you just how special this current team was.

Had Devon Dotson, Udoka Azubuike, Marcus Garrett and the gang gone on to win it all and bring another banner back to Allen Fieldhouse, there would be a significant group of Kansas fans who forever believed that they had one of the best teams — if not the best — in KU history.

But it was not to be.

This bracket, however, was still a fun exercise in finding out just where KU fans — a percentage of them anyway — ranked this year’s team.

The fact that they blew by the 2017-18 Final Four team in the semifinals was interesting. The fact that the 2007-08 team received 100% of the vote in the second round against the 2006-07 team — basically itself, plus Julian Wright — was wild. And the fact that most of the matchups were not close showed that Kansas fans have a clear ranking of their favorite teams of the Self era. Not surprisingly, that list is crafted mostly by postseason success.

I’ll be honest, though. I thought the 2016-17 team had a chance to make some noise. Frank Mason III. Josh Jackson. A team that was on its way to a national title before slipping up against Oregon in the Elite Eight.

I also thought that 2010-11 team with the Morris twins as juniors might’ve been a little more competitive.

But neither of those teams, or the others, could hold a candle to the accomplishments of the teams that reached the Final Four — national champion, national runner-up, Final Four team and the team that may very well go down as No. 1 forever in the hearts of a lot of Kansas fans.

That’s a tough list to crack.

Thanks for your participation in the bracket and for humoring us throughout these past few weeks.

We fully realize that this bracket, like all of the others out there, did not in any way fill the void left by the absence of March Madness in 2020. But it was still something to watch, something else to think about and something to get into with the sports world on hold for the moment.

Here’s to all of you and your families staying safe, healthy and happy and to the return of sports as soon as possible!

Here’s one last look at the matchups and results from Self Madness 2020.

PLAY-IN GAME:

16 - 2014-15 – 87%

17 - 2018-19 – 13%

ROUND 1:

1 - 2007-08 – 97.6%

16 - 2014-15 – 2.4%


8 - 2006-07 – 69.2%

9 - 2003-04 – 30.8%


5 - 2009-10 – 92.1%

12 - 2004-05 – 7.9%


4 - 2011-12 – 85.9%

13 - 2013-14 – 14.1%


3 - 2017-18 – 82.7%

14 - 2008-09 – 17.3%


6 - 2010-11 – 53.5%

11 - 2015-16 – 46.5%


7 - 2016-17 – 85.5%

10 - 2012-13 – 14.5%


2 - 2019-20 – 95.9%

15 - 2005-06 – 4.1%

ROUND 2:

1 - 2007-08 – 100%

8 - 2006-07 – 0%


4 - 2011-12 – 61.4%

5 - 2009-10 – 38.6%


3 - 2017-18 – 68.5%

6 - 2010-11 – 31.5%


2 - 2019-20 – 72.9%

7 - 2016-17 – 27.1%

SEMIFINALS:

1 - 2007-08 – 84.6%

4 - 2011-12 – 15.4%


2 - 2019-20 – 75%

3 - 2017-18 – 25%

TITLE GAME:

1 - 2007-08 – 66.8%

2 - 2019-20 – 33.2%

Comments

Tony Bandle 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Maybe you should come up with a round robin tourney featuring the 5 National Championship teams plus Wilt's 1957 OT Finalist, the 2003 Finalist vs Syracuse and Jo Jo's team that lost to Texas Western.

Len Shaffer 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I'm not sure which one should be replaced (or maybe there should be 12 teams), but I think they should include the '97 team as well. I still think that was one of the top 5 teams in KU history, despite the end result. (Maybe also include some other Final Four teams, especially '86 and '91.)

Robin Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

This year's team had a level of cohesion we'd never seen. The pieces fit. I watched a number of games from each season back to back. I firmly believe they'd have staked their claim against 08 on the court if the season hadn't ended.

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