Kansas basketball: Preseason AP ranking supports lofty expectations for Jayhawks

College basketball is right around the corner and the Associated Press unveiled its preseason poll. Kansas Basketball comes in at No. 3, behind two of last year’s Final Four teams, Gonzaga and UCLA.

The Jayhawks are the highest-ranked Big 12 team in the initial AP Poll, the other two teams being Texas at No. 5 and the defending National Champions Baylor at No. 8.

Last month, FanSided’s Busting Brackets ranked the Jayhawks at No.2 in their consensus preseason rankings. KenPom.com also released its preseason ratings this week, slotting Kansas at No. 3, behind Gonzaga and Michigan.

At Big 12 media days, KU was selected as the preseason favorite to win the conference by the league’s coaches.

With such high preseason rankings come great expectations. After a disappointing and inconsistent 2020-21 season, Bill Self overhauled the roster in the offseason, building a championship-caliber team.

Kansas Basketball returns to form as the favorite to win the Big 12 and a favorite to cut down in the nets in April.

The 2020-21 season was a tough pill to swallow for Kansas. The Jayhawks finished 21-9, suffering a blowout loss to USC in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament. Based on win percentage, it was KU’s worst record since the 1998-99 season.

COVID-19 protocols negatively affected every program around the country and dampened the environments at college basketball’s most famous venues, including the iconic Allen Fieldhouse.

Last year’s squad was plagued by inconsistency, struggling through much of January. Once Kansas seemingly got back on track for the postseason, COVID-19 prematurely ended KU’s Big 12 Tournament bid and likely hurt the team going forward.

After a busy offseason where Bill Self made big moves in the transfer portal, there is more depth and experience across the roster. Now, Kansas Basketball seems poised for a great season.

KU returns four key starters: Ochai Agbaji, Jalen Wilson, David McCormack, and Christian Braun, only losing Marcus Garrett.

The backcourt boasts depth and experience, adding excellent point guard Remy Martin, sophomore Joseph Yesufu, veteran Jalen Coleman-Lands, and freshmen Bobby Pettiford and Kyle Cuffe to go along with the returning Dajuan Harris.

At forward, the Jayhawks add veteran Cam Martin and freshman KJ Adams while returning super-senior Mitch Lightfoot.

The Jayhawks open the season on November 3 with an exhibition at Allen Fieldhouse against Emporia State before traveling to New York to begin the regular season in the Champions Classic against Michigan State.