As Selection Sunday was unveiled last night, the Kansas Jayhawks were slotted as the overall No. 1 seed.
This has set the stage for the Jayhawks and Head Coach Bill Self to finish one of the most historic seasons in recent college basketball history.
Kansas has not only won the Maui Invitational, their 12th consecutive Big 12 Regular Season Championship, and the Big 12 Conference Tournament, but they also won the 2015 World University Games in Gwangju, South Korea, as Team USA defeated Germany, 84-77. That version of Team USA consisted of the almost the entire Jayhawk roster and gives them an added championship pedigree (USA – Germany box).
This means that Kansas has already won four different championships this season.
Essentially, Self’s Jayhawks could win their fifth championship this season if they can win six more games in the upcoming National Tournament.
It begs the question, how much did it value Kansas to play the type of competition it did in the World University Games? It can be argued that this tournament will be more challenging then any games in the NCAA Tournament and rhat it really helped prepare Kansas for their rigorous Big 12 regular season.
After the gold medal win in July, Self acknowledged that “‘It’s a huge thrill, a huge honor. Our team really bonded and came together. To win it the way we won it — playing against a Germany team that outplayed us a majority of the game — we were dead tired, no legs, no lift, couldn’t make a shot and willed ourselves to win.'”
Although Kansas may not eventually cut down the mets, their championships still have provided the elite program with an opportunity to test themselves throughout the season and be as prepared as possible.
It seems that throughout college basketball, more preseason tournaments should play for championships, especially at D2 & D3 levels, and not just have an exempt weekend where games are played for regional rankings.
There is value to winning a championship at any level of college basketball, as it prepares teams for the quick turnaround and focus that postseason play requires.