Show Me My Opponent, 2022-23: Kansas, Battle 4 Atlantis Championship
Battle 4 Leftovers But Also a Lost Underwater Empire and New Mowers
For about an hour yesterday, every Tennessee fan watched Kansas and Wisconsin bully-ball to the grave at the Battle 4 Cowboy Troy and said “we are washing either of these teams.” Maybe they tossed in a little “lol” at the end. They are not really laughing out loud but maybe smiling. Then every Tennessee fan watched Tennessee struggle with a top-60 (per KenPom) USC squad, also going to overtime, and now believes that the world is crashing to the ground.
Perhaps we should find a middle ground. Kansas, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and USC are all good teams. Kansas and Tennessee are likely very good, maybe even great by season’s end. Wisconsin and USC are just good, but just good teams beat very good teams all the time. Did both favorites use up a life? Uh, yeah, but that’s college basketball. So I suggest people Calm Down and such.
Anyway, Kansas is likely very good, but I am not entirely sure how good. Kansas has played six games this year. They have progressed as such:
Two demolitions of bad Summit League teams.
A neutral-site win over top 10 Duke where Kansas trailed for most of the second half.
A home game against KenPom #155 Southern Utah in which Kansas trailed for 15 minutes and won by six.
Two games in Atlantis against #59 NC State and #42 Wisconsin, which they won by a combined seven points.
Kansas is 6-0 and has three wins over top 60 teams. And yet: those final three bullet points are why they’ve fallen in KenPom from preseason #8 to #16. Despite not playing a top-100 2PT% defense, they rank 117th in 2PT% offense. So what are they? Are they really the third-best team in America (per the AP Poll) and a title contender? Or are they a flawed-but-good lurker, kind of like the team they’re playing? That’s on us to find out.
BELOW THE LINE: come, friend, you too must die ($)
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