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.