On Thursday afternoon, Kansas and Texas A&M were selected as the preseason favorites to capture the Big 12 regular season title this season. While addressing the media shortly thereafter, Bill Self said he was surprised with KU's ranking.
"Yea, I'm surprised with the preseason ranking," said Self during KU's media day on Thursday. "I always say the coaches know more than the media, but I'm not sure that's the particular case in our league right now. Last year we had the (Morris) twins, (Brady) Morningstar, (Tyrel) Reed, (Josh) Selby and (Mario) Little, and I think the coaches picked us third.
"We don't have any of those guys now, and they picked (tied) us to win it," he added. "That doesn't bother me. We've kind of gone into the season with tempered expectations, to be honest with you. I've tried to do that with our fans a little bit, which I think is accurate and not coach speak."
Gone from last year's team are Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris, both lottery picks, Josh Selby, [db]Brady Morningstar[/db], [db]Tyrel Reed[/db] and Mario Little. In the previous two seasons, Kansas has 68 victories to just six defeats.
Still, despite all the losses, Kansas, in the eyes of many, remains the team to beat in the Big 12. Much like Self, senior point guard Tyshawn Taylor was surprised when told of the preseason ranking.
"It definitely surprised me," said Taylor. "I just found out a little while ago, Coach Self told us, and it definitely was shocking. It's a great compliment to us, so we're excited about that, but we're just going to keep working.
"We've got a long way to go," he added. "Oh definitely, the pieces are in place for us to win. I think we will win. We've got a long way to go and we've got a lot of young guys. We're about to start practice and I think we've got the right pieces. It's going to be a lot of work and it's not going to be easy."
The one player not caught off guard with the preseason ranking was Thomas Robinson, the 6-foot-9, 237-pound forward from Washington, D.C. Not only was Robinson not caught off guard, he was quite surprised when asked about KU's preseason ranking.
"Why would I be surprised," said Robinson when asked about KU's preseason conference ranking. "We lost two lottery picks the year before, right? And the year before and the year before. So, I'm not surprised about us being picked to win the title.
"We haven't played yet," he added. "We still have to go out and play, but I don't think anybody should doubt us. I wouldn't say that I've proven myself and I wouldn't say that Tyshawn (Taylor) has proven himself. I was in the dark guy, so it was easy for me to play good."
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