Kansas Jayhawks basketball jumps to No. 1 spot in way-too-early preseason top 25

Prognosticators are feeling good about next year's Kansas basketball squad
Kansas v Iowa State
Kansas v Iowa State / David K Purdy/GettyImages

In a little over one month, the Kansas basketball program has gone from having one of the most disappointing seasons in Bill Self's tenure to having a national title contender for the upcoming campaign. Many betting outlets already place the Jayhawks as the favorite to cut down the nets next April.

The Big 12 has established itself as the best basketball conference in the country, and fans should expect nothing different next season. However, a recent update in the "Rothstein 45" by CBS Sports analyst Jon Rothstein places Kansas at No. 1 overall over the previous No. 1 and conference foe, Houston, after KU reeled in Alabama transfer Rylan Griffen.

Kansas basketball jumps Houston to claim top spot in Rothstein 45

Kansas was already looming over the top spot in his rankings for quite some time, but the addition of Griffen put Self and Co. over the top. The former Crimson Tide guard was a pivotal role player in his team's Final Four run last month, as he averaged 11.2 points and 3.4 rebounds during the season and shot 48.1% from 3-point range in the NCAA Tournament.

The Jayhawks lineup will consist of returning players Hunter Dickinson, Dajuan Harris, and KJ Adams, all of whom were full-time starters in the 2023-24 season. There are also other transfers in the mix, including Wisconsin's AJ Storr, South Dakota State's Zeke Mayo, and Florida's Riley Kugel. The incoming freshmen class is made up of 5-star big man Flory Bidunga and 4-star wing Rakease Passmore after Labaron Philon decommitted from the program last week. 

Teams sitting closely behind KU include Big 12 teams such as Houston (No. 2), Iowa State (No. 4), and Baylor (No. 5). In addition to the generous placement on Rothstein's rankings, Kansas is currently listed as the top championship favorite on FanDuel Sportsbook. Jayhawk fans who want to pick their team to go all the way can do so at +1000 odds.

While Rothstein's projected lineup for Kansas still has Johnny Furphy in the mix — a player whose career in Lawrence has almost certainly come to an end — the Jayhawks should still remain on top unless one of the top Big 12 teams makes a move to leapfrog them in the rankings.