3 reasons Kansas basketball will still win the Big 12 Conference in 2023-24

The Kansas basketball team always seems to be at the top of the Big 12 Conference once the season is over. This year should be no different.

Kansas basketball stars Hunter Dickinson, Kevin McCullar Jr., Dajuan Harris Jr., Johnny Furphy
Kansas basketball stars Hunter Dickinson, Kevin McCullar Jr., Dajuan Harris Jr., Johnny Furphy / G Fiume/GettyImages
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Jan 22, 2024; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats forward John Newman III (15) dribbles the ball
Jan 22, 2024; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats forward John Newman III (15) dribbles the ball / Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

REASON #2: THE EMERGENCE OF JOHNNY FURPHY

Four games ago, Bill Self shook up his starting line-up a bit by exchanging one freshman for another — Johnny Furphy for Elmarko Jackson. For the most part, the offense has looked better since that move.

Much of that progress is due to the fact that Furphy offers another scoring option outside of McCullar Jr., Dickinson, and Adams Jr. Over those last four games, Furphy has averaged 14.5 points and seven rebounds. Both are well over his marks off the bench — 5.6 points and 2.6 rebounds.

Jackson appears to be more relaxed coming off the bench and it wouldn't be surprising to see him contribute more positively as the season progresses.

Furphy still needs to improve on the defensive side, and if the Jayhawks need a lift on that side of the ball, Jackson seems to be slightly ahead of his teammate in that area.

The young Aussie freshman brings a lot of much-needed energy and hustle to the team, especially early in games, he gives them another strong rebounder and an extra three-point threat — all things this Kansas basketball team needed. He may provide that extra little spark KU needs to make their next step forward as a team.