In August, I came up with a series of "over/unders" for Kansas football to try and gauge where the team might be at the end of the season. It was a fun exercise, so I've decided to do the same for basketball. Obviously, it would have been better to do this back before the season started, but through eight games, I'm not sure how much we really know about how this team is going to turn out.
1) Over/Under 24.5 regular season wins
The Jayhawks play 31 games this year, eight of which are in the books. If they lose one of their remaining non-conference games, a 13-5 conference record puts them at 24-7 for the season. This would be their worst conference record since the Big 12 introduced the round robin format, but it's right about where I see things ending up.
2) Over/Under 13.5 Big 12 wins
In three years of round robin scheduling, we've finished 16-2, 14-4 and 14-4. This year there are a few dangerous teams at the top of the conference, and this doesn't look like one of Self's best teams right now. I can easily see us with a rare Big 12 home loss, and if that happens, 6-3 on the road would be tough to pull off.
3) Over/Under 35% 3 point shooting as a team
Last year, Kansas shot a worrisome 34% from behind the arc, and this year we lost our best three point shooter in Tharpe. The 2011-12 team shot 34.5%, but both teams in between were over 35%. We know Svi and Greene can shoot, and we know Selden, Mason and Graham are capable of hitting some deep shots, but everyone's shooting has been streaky, making this tough to predict. For what it's worth, we're hitting 35.8% right now.
4) Over/Under 12 points per game for Cliff Alexander in Big 12 play
Right now, Cliff is scoring just 9.6 per game, but that's been with limited playing time. By the beginning of conference play, most expect him to be starting, and playing more than his current 19.5 points per game. All that said, Cliff will be playing against some decent frontcourts in the Big 12, and so far he's had some trouble scoring against solid post defenses. I definitely expect him to average double digits, but I'm not sure he hits the 12 point mark.
5) Over/Under 8% team block percentage in Big 12 play
Only once in the past five seasons has Kansas had a block % number lower than 9.3% in conference play, and that was the 2010-11 season, in between Cole Aldrich and Jeff Withey's reigns of terror, when we blocked just 6.8% of opposing shot attempts. This year we sit at 8.2%, but with Cliff Alexander emerging as a decent rim protector (7.4%). I think that number will climb, and Jamari should be able to at least hold steady near his current mark at 7.1. I don't think we'll match last year's 9.3%, which was due largely to Embiid, but I see Alexander leading the way to at least a solid 8%.
6) Over/Under 15 minutes per game in conference play for Kelly Oubre
Oubre sits at just 8.9 minutes per game so far, with a season-high 16 coming last night. Oubre may never play as much as we all assumed coming into the year, but as the season goes on, Self may have no choice but to use him more if Wayne Selden can't get things going. Still, Oubre looks very unpolished, and both Svi and Brannen Greene have earned spots ahead of him in the rotation so far. Plus, for better or worse, it looks like Self is committed to keeping Selden on the floor. 15 minutes per game might be tough for Oubre to clear
7) Over/Under 10th place finish in KenPom rankings
Prediction: Under (better than 10th)
KenPom currently ranks us 8th, and that's despite our pathetic showing against Kentucky dragging us down. Our SOS will be among the toughest in the country all year, which will minimize the penalty for any poor performances. Despite some of the worrisome things we've seen from this team, given the room this roster has to grow, I don't see them with a double digit ranking at the end of the season.
8) Over/Under 1.5 losses at Allen Fieldhouse
I don't expect many people to take the over on this one. We've now lost a home game in three of the last four seasons, but Self has never lost multiple home games in any season of his Kansas coaching tenure. Given how cold this team can get offensively, it has to at least be a mild concern that they could run into a couple nights where the shots simply won't fall and they lose to an Oklahoma, Texas or Iowa State.
9) Over/Under 8.5 double digit conference wins
We've won nine regular season conference games by double digits in each of the past two years, and 11 in 2012. This is tough to predict for any team, since the difference between a single digit win and double digit win can be as little as an unguarded three as time expires in an easy win. This year's team runs very hot and cold, and blowouts require a more steadily dominant performance, so I'll say we only win eight by 10 or more.
10) Over/Under 60 points scored at Texas
I think we can all agree at this point that Texas is a terrible matchup for us offensively. We've seen this team struggle mightily to score against length, and Texas has a group of rim protectors they can throw at us. So far, Texas has only given up 60 points once this year, and that was just 63 on the road against Kentucky. All that notwithstanding, we rarely get held under 60, and I feel like Self will have the team more ready to go after last year's embarrassing performance in Austin. I don't know that this will be a win, but I think we will be able to put up 60