By Matt Blanchette
Tonight mark's the first night of Basketball for the Kansas men's team, which is ranked pre-season No. 1 and has two pre-season All Americans (Cole Aldrich, Sherron Collins) for the first time since 1997.
Two years ago, KU won the National Championship. Last year, the Elite Eight, despite very low expectations. So, my question is will this year be Final Four or bust for the Jayhawks? And is that even fair. The only reason Cole and Sherron came back was to win a national championship together, even though they both own rings. Each would have been first round draft picks, but gave that up for another run.
So is it fair to put these expectations on them. Add to that returning shooters Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed, and the Morris Twins, plus an incoming class with a slasher (Xavier Henry) a rebounder ( Thomas Robinson) and two point guards (Elijiah Johnson and C.J. Henry).
There is no other way TO look at it. It's Final Four or bust.
As for K-State, I am saying it's NCAA Tournament or bust this season. Frank Martin will tell you they should have made it last year. But this year's team is far deeper, and more talented, so they must make it. Sure there is no Mike Beasley, but this could be the most talented team Martin has had at K-State.
The backcourt scoring of Jake Pullen and Dennis Clemente return, presumably with the leadership they lacked last season. This year, though, the Wildcats should have more balance with the addition of Curtis Kelly and Wally Judge underneath. Both those players are in the 6-9, 250 range. Talent-wise, KSU could and should be a ranked team right now, but we will see if it all comes together and brings them back to the NCAA tournament, where they belong.
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