Tuesday, April 23, 2019
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After a low season, it wants to forget, Kansas looks like it could be a season to remember

INDIANAPOLIS The basketball program in Kansas was launched last month as part of the federal lawsuit, which focused on corruption in college basketball, including text messages and wiretaps, evidence of dubious discussions between KU staff and two former Adidas employees known, who are now convicted criminals. There was no so-called smoke gun, which is why Bill Self continued training without any problems or interruptions. But it was still a bad look that would spoil the strings of the Big-12 regular season Kansas championships for most fans of most other programs.

People will question the methods forever.

And yet it did not matter Tuesday night.

When the Jayhawks entered the field here at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, they made it to a huge ovation and as a high-profile team of college basketball thanks to a squad of five-star newcomers and experienced and overwhelming big. Yes, they miss Silvio De Sousa because his guardian had allegedly accepted improper benefits for the registration of the 6-foot-9 striker in Kansas. However, that did not stop the Jayhawks from leapfrogging a 17-point lead in the first half and beating the tenth in the state of Michigan in the opening match of the Champions Classic.

Champions Classic

Federal Trial, Minor negotiation.

The low season is over. The season is here now. Thus, the drama was replaced in court by the dominance in court. Maybe not forever. At least for the time being.

"I thought we did a lot of good things," Self said. "And I thought that our newcomers have strengthened and played extremely well."

The newbies are Devon Dotson and Quintin Grimes – two five-star guards. Self decided together with Senior Lagerald Vick for the starting position from day one. Forty minutes into the season, it looks smart. Dotson made 11 shots, made six and finished with 16 points, three assists and three steals. Grimes made 14 shots, made seven and finished with 21 points and four assists. In their first game on a massive stage, they scored 9 out of 15 out of 3-point reach.

"We talk about it in practice – always be aggressive," Grimes said. "We practice shooting balls and this confidence [carried] over into the game. "

Seemingly so.

Meanwhile, Dedric Lawson was the same statistical monster he had two seasons in Memphis before moving to Kansas after former coach of Memphis Tubby Smith had relegated his father to an administrative role. The 6-9 striker was not offensive to Michigan State – Self attributed it to the "physicality" of the Spartans – but still led the Jayhawks with 20 points, 14 rebounds and six assists. And that's why, more or less, Lawson is one CBS Sports First Team Preseason All-American – Because he's going to fill out pretty much any match for a true national contender, who will likely win a 15th Big 12 title at the end of February / beginning of March.

(KJ Lawson received four points, six rebounds and an assist on his Kansas debut, so the Lawson Brothers, unappreciated by Memphis' previous staff, combined just 24 points, 20 rebounds and seven assistants to the nation That's why the former Memphis staff are the former Memphis staff, but I digress.)

The bottom line is that it's hard to argue that Kansas is the clear favorite to win the national title – even if they rank number 1 in the Associated Press poll and win after beating a top-10 team – which is Duke Kentucky made the nightcap of Champions Classic. The Blue Devils looked incredibly strong and will move to No. 1 CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 on Wednesday morning, better or worse. But as I said and wrote, the Jayhawks are worthy of their # 1 ranking – and they did nothing Tuesday night to embarrass those they anointed.

The launch guards were great

The big ones were big at first.

The bank was useful.

Yes, it could have been a rough October for Kansas, and the Adidas jokes will never stop. But now it is November. The games have started. The drama in court is in the past – at least for the time being. And the supremacy in court is officially underway.


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