How Jayhawks’ February resurgence compares to top national teams | Smithology

Kansas goalie Marcus Garrett (0) clears the ball away from Baylor goalkeeper Mark Vital (11) during the second half on Saturday February 27, 2021 at Allen Fieldhouse.
by Nick Krug

In college basketball, whether your team has been flexing all season or taking a detour on the wrestling bus at some point, you better have an uptrend when March rolls around because what is happening in the playoffs is what everyone will remember anyway.

That’s why there’s more intrigue surrounding Kansas now than at any point in this bizarre 2020-21 season. The Jayhawks are doing as well in February as almost any team across the country (especially considering how bad their January went).

“This team, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we’ve kind of had some ups and downs this year,” KU coach Bill Self joked, addressing Allen’s crowd. Fieldhouse after his team leader’s kiss on a victory. Baylor undefeated. “I think we just found our rhythm. I think we are only scratching the surface of what we can become.

The hope inside the KU locker room is that the Jayhawks can launch into the home stretch of the calendar – and the NCAA tournament, when the first round begins on March 19 – still booming on the. Momentum from a Feb. 7-2 and one-eye-catching victory over Baylor, arguably the best win on a team’s resume at this point.

Looking at the national landscape, the Jayhawks must be feeling better about their current level of play than many teams. Among the best consensual teams in the country, only No.1 Gonzaga (7-0), the big favorite to win it all, and Michigan (5-0) made it through February unscathed.

To get a better idea of ​​how KU’s last month stacks up against other shows, take a look at how each team ranked in KenPom.com’s top 20 as of the March entry (see full list below. below).

The Jayhawks are one of the few teams under the radar that seems to be breaking out just in time. In February, Loyola Chicago went 7-1, West Virginia 6-1 (and easily beat KU on February 6), and Arkansas and San Diego State posted a perfect score of 6-0 for the month.

To be fair, the Jayhawks may not yet be in the same argument as Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan, Iowa and other Final Four contenders. Their irregular season makes it impossible to blindly ignore the issues that led to their stock plummeting in January, when they went 3-5. For observers, these seeds of doubt cannot be forgotten.

For players, however, KU’s resurgence in the win column is exactly what they needed to boost their confidence and complement their dramatically improved team defense.

“We’re not done,” said head goaltender Marcus Garrett in his Senior Night speech after the Jayhawks beat Baylor, 71-58. “We’re not done at all. We want a long season here.

The Jayhawks’ successful reboot in February certainly makes an extended stint in Indiana later this month that much more realistic.

How the top 20 KenPom teams fared in February

No. 1 Gonzaga – 7-0

Best wins: BYU, Pacific, San Francisco, Saint Mary’s

Losses: none

# 2 Michigan – 5-0

Best wins: Wisconsin, Ohio State, Indiana, Rutgers, Iowa

Losses: none

No. 3 Baylor – 2-1

Best win: in Texas

Loss: in Kansas

No. 4 Houston – 5-2

Best win: South Florida

Losses: in East Carolina, in Wichita State

# 5 Iowa – 6-3

Best wins: Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan State, Rutgers, Penn State

Losses: Ohio State, Indiana, Michigan

No. 6 Illinois – 7-1

Best wins: Indiana (OT), Nebraska (OT), Minnesota, Wisconsin

Loss: State of Michigan

# 7 Ohio State – 4-3

Best wins: Iowa, Maryland, Penn State, Indiana

Losses: Michigan, Michigan, Iowa

# 8 Alabama – 5-2

Best wins: South Carolina, Mississippi, LSU

Losses: Missouri, Arkansas

# 9 Florida State – 4-1

Best wins: Virginie, in Pittsburgh

Loss: in North Carolina

No. 10 Villanova – 4-3

Best wins: Marquette, Connecticut, St. John’s

Losses: St. John’s, Creighton, Butler

No 11 Loyola Chicago – 7-1

Best wins: at Missouri State, Drake

Loss: to Drake (OT)

# 12 Wisconsin – 3-4

Best wins: Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State

Losses: Illinois, Michigan, Iowa and Illinois

No. 13 Virginia – 4-3

Best wins: North Carolina State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina

Losses: Florida State, Duke, North Carolina State

# 14 Purdue – 4-2

Best wins: Nebraska, Penn State, Northwestern, Michigan State

Losses: Maryland, Minnesota

# 15 Creighton – 4-2

Best wins: Marquette, Georgetown, Villanova

Losses: Georgetown, to Xavier

No 16 Colorado – 6-2

Best wins: Stanford, Oregon, Arizona, USC, UCLA

Losses: in Cal, Oregon

No.17 West Virginia – 6-1

Best wins: Texas Tech, Texas, TCU, Kansas

Loss: Oklahoma (2OT)

# 18 Arkansas – 6-0

Best wins: Kentucky, Missouri (OT), Mississippi State, Florida, Alabama, LSU

Losses: none

# 19 Kansas – 7-2

Best wins: Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Baylor

Losses: West Virginia, Texas (OT)

# 20 State of San Diego – 6-0

Best wins: Boise State (OT), Boise State

Losses: none

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