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RCT Season Preview Mailbag


Kansas tips off the season tomorrow against Southeast Missouri State, and to celebrate this grand occasion (seriously, thank you so much for coming back, basketball) this is a great time to celebrate mailbag style.

Our first offering comes from an old friend, Bensa, who hasn't had the time to come around as much because he is too cool for us:

Q: why, since sabermetrics are all the rage, don’t more people acknowledge that 2008 KU is the greatest team since 2003?


A: I think the reason that 2008 KU team hasn't gotten their due (from everyone to be honest) is that when people look back on title teams they remember the players for who they turned out to be as pros vs. how they were as college players. Mario Chalmers has won a title as a team's fourth best player and probably will get a nice deal once he hits free agency, and Brandon Rush has proven to be a really good three point shooter and defender at the NBA level (and sadly tore his ACL this year, missing out on a lot of money as this was his contract year) but other than that no one has really done much. Darrell Arthur has had injury problems, Sherron Collins hasn't caught on, Cole Aldrich hasn't gotten much playing time (though I think he will in Houston) and the rest of the guys are in Europe.

But Kansas was the first (and still only) team in the KenPom era to end the regular season ranked 1st in both offense and defense, and then went on to win the only final four with all four #1 seeds involved. Yes they had to come back in the title game against Memphis, but one game shouldn't overshadow a season. I have a sneaking suspicion that if the Memphis game had been the semifinal and then the beatdown against North Carolina had been the title game we would remember that team a lot differently. Remember, virtually that same North Carolina team went basically unchallenged the next year en route to a title.

So sure that team wasn't stacked with NBA talent and they won their national title game in overtime, but they dominated the regular season and did so in a pretty great year in terms of good college basketball teams.


To do this question I actually did some actual projecting and took a look at how some previous Freshmen did under Bill Self, then adjusted it for the playing time I thought this year's crop would get. (and a lot of other boring stuff that I won't bore you with. Or reveal how many mistakes I probably made) I also rounded everything to the nearest percent. Let's take a look:

Player ORtg Pos% OR/DR% A% TO% 2pt% 3 pt% FT%
Anrio Adams 92 14% 4%/7% 18% 17% 43% 31% 73%
Andrew White 101 17% 8%/13% 9% 20% 49% 41% 75%
Perry Ellis 106 22% 12%/19% 7% 26% 54% 20% 67%
Ben McLemore 105 26% 9%/15% 18% 23% 50% 38% 71%
Jamari Traylor 96 13% 11%/21% 6% 15% 47% 0 67%

I think both Ellis and McLemore will be starters for the majority of the season, whereas the other three will play remarkably less. Depending on what happens with redshirts with Peters or Lucas (I didn't project them just because there is basically no high school data to go off and I have no idea if they'll actually play) then Traylor might not get much playing time at all. I'm not as high on Adams as most people seem to be. It's clear his offense isn't there right now and I would like to wait and see him play against D1 competition before I anoint him a defensive stopper.

Q: Hey you, who is your All American team since you forgot to post it?

A: well thanks, me, for that wonderful question. Yes I did forget, so here it is. Freshmen not eligible because it's just too unpredictable for my liking.

G - Michael Dixon, Missouri

G - Nate Wolters, South Dakota State

F - DeShaun Thomas, Ohio State

F - Doug McDermott, Creighton

F - Cody Zeller, Indiana

A couple of notes: CJ McCollum and Isiah Canaan get a lot of the mid major cred in terms of guards, but Wolters has a higher usage rate than both and a better offensive rating than both. He also played in a better league than both and played on a better team than McCollum.

Though I am loathe to give any Missouri player credit, Michael Dixon is quietly really really good. Phil Pressey is the guy who is getting all the publicity, but Dixon had a higher usage rate, higher offensive rating, better eFG and drew more fouls. Canaan could be in there instead of him, and so could Pierre Jackson probably, but I am going to go with Dixon. The rest should be self explanatory.

The season starts tomorrow and of course we will have plenty more about KU and college basketball as a whole here on RCT, but for now feel free to leave your picks and thoughts in the comments. Just one day left, people!