LAWRENCE, KS - DECEMBER 10: Kansas Jayhawk fans cheer as the Jayhawks take the court prior to the start of the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes on December 10, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
After what has been one of the more grueling and exciting non-conference schedules in recent memory, Bill Self and the Jayhawks have a bit of an extended break as students wrap up finals and prepare to head home for the Holiday break. As for the Jayhawks, they'll tip off again this coming Monday and start to wrap things up before heading into Big 12 action.
To date there is really only one game on the schedule where you can say that the Jayhawks looked overmatched and that was against Kentucky. Since that time Kansas took Duke to the wire and looked every bit as good as the Blue Devils in Maui. Kansas also claims quality victories over Georgetown and a pesky Long Beach State team that has made some noise early on this year and of course there is last Saturday's win over no. 2 Ohio State. Yes it was a Sullingerless Buckeye squad but Kansas was definitely the better team.
Kansas has four non-conference contests remaining beginning Monday with Davidson in Kansas City. So far this year the Wildcats have a decent win over Richmond, but they have lost to Duke, Vanderbilt and Charlotte in the early going. This is a program that always tests themselves early and isn't afraid to go toe to toe with some of the bigger names.
After Davidson it's a 4-6 USC team. Last year Kansas essentially won the Pac 10, this year they don't run the full range of teams out West but they do head to Los Angeles to take on Southern Cal on the road. Kansas wraps up the non-conference schedule with a pair of home games that should be fairly manageable against Howard and the Fighting Sioux of North Dakota.
If Kansas meets expectations they'll head into the conference opener against Kansas State on January 4th with an 11-2 record. The next question is how many wins and many losses wins the Big 12 conference? Kansas will have a full 18 game round robin for the first time in the history of the conference and with Baylor, Missouri, A&M and Kansas looking to be the likely contenders it could get very interesting.
The one thing you have to feel good about as a Jayhawk fan is the home court of Allen Fieldhouse. If Kansas can hold serve at home and win at least half on the road, the probably put them in contention with a 13-5 or 14-4 record. That means Kansas finished the regular season somewhere around 24-25 wins with 6-7 losses. How does that feel compared to expectations? And does that give Kansas and Bill Self an 8th straight league title?