Previewing Bill Self's 2012-13 Kansas Jayhawks from a Pac-12 Perspective
Kansas and Bill Self recently agreed to a contract extending the men’s basketball head coach’s tenure at the university through the 2021-22 season.
Self’s previous contract went through the 2017-18 season and paid him $3.376 million annually, with the new contract bumping that number up by a reported $480,000 per year (via KUathletics.com).
Worth more than money, the new contract puts Self in an enviable position in college hoops, as one of a few elite coaches with close-to-permanent job stability. It is clearly something Self has earned, having taken the Jayhawks to the National Championship game twice (winning in 2008), making five Elite Eight appearances and winning eight Big 12 regular season and five Big 12 tournament titles in the past nine seasons.
Tens of millions of dollars and National Championship games aside, what this news reminded this blogger of was two things: 1) The start of the college basketball season is still a month away, and more so, 2) This year, Pac-12 men’s basketball will face the Jayhawks on at least three separate occasions.
To be honest, short of any possible tournament meetings, I’m not talking about Pac-12 teams with high national expectations set for the 2012-13 season like UCLA and Arizona. Instead they are games against Washington State, Oregon State and Colorado. Aside from former Big 12 member Colorado, you would probably have a hard time finding anyone in Lawrence that could even tell you what towns those schools are located in.
Last season Kansas played two Pac-12 schools (UCLA and USC), easily beating both on the road during the regular season. This season will likely not produce a different result as Kansas is following a runner-up finish in the 2012 NCAA tournament by bringing in a very large and talented freshmen class.
That’s not to say the Jayhawks are not beatable, and there are several opponents on their schedule that look like they could possibly present Kansas with some trouble early on. Added to that, Kansas went 2-2 on the team’s European tour this summer.
The losses made for the first time Kansas has lost an exhibition game while under the direction of Self. Although too much shouldn’t be read into them, as they involved foreign courts, testing out different players while resting others and so on.
On those losses Self stated, “If anything, it tells us how hard we need to work. Because we’re not very good right now. I’m not sure anybody’s any good in early August, but we’re certainly not.”
By the time November hits, you can expect a much-improved Jayhawks squad. It is still a while until any Pac-12 teams will hit the court against the Jayhawks, but Washington State, Oregon State and Colorado also took foreign tours this summer allowing for a bit of a sneak preview to the upcoming season.
What should be expected when these three Pac-12 teams square off against Kansas? Here’s a brief preview.
Washington State Cougars
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The Cougars will be the first Pac-12 team to take on the Jayhawks, as they are set to play on November 19 during the CBE Hall of Fame Classic. Unlike Self who has had his tenure at Kansas extended, WSU head coach Ken Bone, who signed a seven-year contract with the Cougars in 2009, may not be around too much longer after this season.
Like Kansas, WSU went on a foreign tour this summer, but instead of going to Europe the Cougars went to Australia. Washington State went 2-3 Down Under.
The trip was a chance to return home for the Cougars' Brock Motum, who grew up in Australia. Motum was the obvious standout player on the trip scoring at least 21 points in each of the five games of the tour. In an 86-81 loss to the Cairns Taipans (a professional team), Motum scored 41 points. Backing up Motum in that game was Reggie Moore with 18 points. However, the recent dismissal of Moore from WSU leaves the Cougars in a tight spot.
While the game will likely be an easy win for the Jayhawks, it will, however, present Motum with an opportunity to get some attention on a national level if he can put up some big numbers against Kansas.
Oregon State Beavers
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Oregon State’s head coach and brother-in-law to President Obama, Craig Robinson, also received a contract extension this year, which pays the coach through the 2016-17 season.
The Beavers face the Jayhawks on November 30 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO. Oregon State also went to Europe this summer on a foreign tour, but the Beavers were able to win all four of their games there.
With the Summer Olympics taking some players out of the competition, it can be argued that the quality of the teams that Oregon State faced was not at their best, but they were still fielded by professional athletes.
Oregon State is returning almost all of last year’s squad, with the notable exception of point-leader Jared Cunningham (now in the NBA). Last year the Beavers had 21 wins including a victory over Pac-12 regular season champion Washington in the conference tournament. Oregon State also put up a fight against a ranked Vanderbilt squad, losing by only two points in the 2011-12 regular season.
I like the Beavers' chances of surprising a team and pulling off a big upset this coming season. Will that team be the Jayhawks? Unlikely, but the possibility is definitely there.
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This past season was Colorado's Pac-12 inaugural season. During which, after finishing in the middle of the conference in regular-season play, they won the conference tournament and went on to upset UNLV in the second round of the 2012 NCAA tournament. Thus, the season ended overall in successful fashion for head coach Tad Boyle, who also signed a contract extension this year.
The Buffaloes face the Jayhawks on December 8 at Allen Fieldhouse. As a former Big 12 member, Colorado is probably all too well aware that this venue is not very favorable to an opposing team's chances of pulling off a road win.
The game will be the start of a renewed series between the two programs that goes back to 1931, with Kansas dominating the all-time series 122-39. KU has won the last 18 games in the series and likely will add to that number this season. However, during the 2013-14 season when the Jayhawks visit CU, that could end up being a different story.
Colorado also took a European tour this summer, ending with a 2-3 record. As with Kansas, the trip allowed the Buffs to test out their largely inexperienced freshmen squad. Among the Buffs’ six-true freshmen, forward Josh Scott stood out most, putting up 24 points in an 88-86 loss against a Belgian professional team.