And Kansas is Number 3, behind OSU (1) and Wake Forest (2). Keep in mind that Sportsline picked Gonzaga as their preseason #1 last year. Doyel says of Kansas:
No. 3 Kansas Ranked too high if: None of the freshman big men is ready to fill the production void left by the losses of Jeff Graves and David Padgett.
Ranked too low if: Wings J.R. Giddens and Keith Langford are good for 35 points per game and point guard Aaron Miles becomes a 40-percent shooter on 3-pointers.
I'm not contesting Doyel's positioning of Kansas, but I do think it's useful to look at his reasoning.
First the big men. Graves and Padgett accounted for 12.9 points, 9.4 rebounds and 6.24 fouls a game last year. This year, Giles, Kaun and Jackson will need to average 4.3 points and 3.13 rebounds a game to match the numbers of G and P last year. That, I honestly don't think will be an issue at all.
They'll spend more minutes on the floor as a group on the floor because they've got more minutes to give. This should result in more rebounds and defensive consistency one way or another. Plus, Moody seems to have gotten a little drier behind the ears, and I expect significant contributions from him this year as well.
Now the wings: Langford and Giddens averaged almost 27 points a game last year, over the course of the whole year. Towards the end of the year, Giddens was scoring a lot more. Additionally, Miles, who shot 33% for the year, was miserable to start and shot something very near 40% after conference play began. As a matter of fact, KU's three point shooting as a team, which was during the first part of the season, was around 25%, ended up at almost 38%, which put them near the top of the Big 12. I don't think Aaron has to shoot 40% on a lot of attempts, I just think he needs to be a threat, so that people have to play him fairly tight.
In any case, I think that Doyel's worst case scenario is highly improbable, and his best case scenario very much resembles the reality of the second half of the season of last year. Here's the rest of the top 25.
1. OSU 2. Wake Forest 3. Kansas 4. Illinois 5. UConn 6. Michigan State 7. Georgia Tech 8. Syracuse 9. Arizona 10. Pittsburgh 11. North Carolina 12. Wisconsin 13. Kentucky 14. Texas 15. Mississippi State 16. Louisville 17. Washington 18. Memphis 19. North Carolina State 20. Notre Dame 21. Maryland 22. Michigan 23. Duke 24. Charlotte 25. UCLA