Odds to win title: +1000
2014-15 Record: 27-9, 13-5 Big 12
Betting odds c/o Bovada
The Kansas Jayhawks lost Kelly Oubre Jr. and Cliff Alexander to the draft, but it returns seven of the top nine players from last year’s team not the least of which is Wayne Selden Jr.
The Jayhawks are +1000 to win the 2016 NCAA Championship according to college basketball oddsmakers at Bovada.
Selden will anchor this team. He averaged 9.4 points and 2.6 assists last year, but is primed to take on a bigger role in his junior season. He is backed up by Frank Mason III and the team also added Lagerald Vick.
Vick is a 6’5” shooting guard who averaged 24 points per game as a high school senior. He will absorb a lot of the scoring void left behind by Oubre. Mason was a second-team all-conference winner and the team is happy to have both him and Selden back, the latter of whom considered a leap to the NBA.
Selden averaged 19.3 points in the World University Games in South Korea, and he hit 18 threes. He seems primed to have a breakout season and it is doubtful he will regret not declaring (barring injury). Devonte Graham will be a sophomore and could have a much bigger role after averaging 5.7 points per game last year.
Brannen Greene and Sviatoslav Mykhailuk will add depth, though Greene had surgery in the offseason. Mykhailuk is from the Ukraine and should be able to contribute early on.
Perry Ellis is back for his senior season, and while his game is not overly flashy he is durable and a consistent forward. He made First-team All-Big 12, and he scored in double figures in 25 of the 34 games last season, while notching seven double-doubles. He is currently projected to go No. 50 overall on NBADraft.net’s 2016 mock draft. Selden is projected to go No. 55 overall.
Jamari Traylor became a starter last season after previously having been Kansas’ sixth man. He averaged 4.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, but will be in for a big year as a senior now. Landen Lucas and Hunter Mickelson fill out the depth chart, while freshman Cheick Diallo and Carlton Bragg Jr are both top-15 recruits that will play a role.
Bragg has drawn comparisons to former forward Marcus Morris. Diallo was ESPN’s No.7 prospect and is an elite defender who can protect the rim. Dwight Coleby transferred from Mississippi and will be eligible to play this season. He’s another 6’9” 240 pound forward to add a big body and some strength.
The Jayhawks were bounced in the round of 32 last year by Wichita State, and this year the team is going to be loaded. That does not ensure anything. There is always enough talent in the top programs, but whether this team advances deeper in March lies heavily on Selden’s shoulders.
Wayne is the leader of the team and is seeking to move his way up NBA draft boards, and that can be done in March. Perry Ellis looks 40, but he is an established talent and one of the top college forwards. He has the talent to be a mid-first round pick, so he and Selden will seek to prove scouts otherwise with their current projections being so low.
Ellis was the only Big 12 player to tank in the top-10 in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage, so teams may sleep on his lack of upside and miss a heck of an NBA-ready talent.