The Kansas Jayhawks reached yet another Sweet 16 in 2013, falling just short to the eventual national runners-up at the buzzer. KU loses their entire starting lineup from last season, but thanks to a couple of key offseason additions by coach Bill Self, the Jayhawks are primed for yet another deep tournament run in March.
Here's what you need to know about the 2014 Jayhawks:
2013 Record: 31-6, 14-4 Big 12
2013 Postseason: Lost to Michigan in Sweet 16
Key Additions: Tarik Black (transfer), Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Wayne Selden, Conner Frankamp, Brannen Greene
It would be completely understandable if Kansas had a rebuilding year after losing nearly everyone from one of the better teams in the country last season. After landing Wiggins and Black within a 10-day period in May, KU went from a fringe top-25 team to a consensus top-10 squad and the favorite to win their 10th straight Big 12 title.
Every person living in Lawrence knows just how good Wiggins could be next season. Nearly every 2014 mock draft has him going with the No. 1 overall pick, and his highlight reels from high school are pretty incredible. If he's as good as advertised, KU will have a chance to win every time they take the floor.
Perhaps the most unexpected addition this summer came when Memphis forward Tarik Black committed as a graduate transfer. Eligible to play immediately, Black, who averaged 8.1 points and 4.8 rebounds with Memphis last year, will provide the frontcourt with some much-needed experience. He has never quite lived up to his billing since his high school days, although there is no denying he has the talent to become an elite forward in the Big 12. Look for him to be a starter from day one of the season.
Kansas doesn't bring much back from their 2012-13 team except for Perry Ellis and Naadir Tharpe.
Ellis really turned it on late last season as a freshman and is expected to become the starting power forward. Tharpe, a junior, came off the bench last season and will likely take over as the team's starting point guard. As two of the few guys who have spent more than a year in Lawrence, coach Self will really lean on these two in the early going of the season.
Incoming freshman Wayne Selden likely holds a slight edge on the starting shooting guard spot. A five-star wing ranked as the 14th best prospect in the 2013 class, Selden gets to the rim at will and likes to really dig in on the defensive end. His shot remains a work in progress, but there's no denying the potential is there.
Joel Embiid is the other five-star freshman headed to KU, and there's a lot to like about his game. He plays similarly to ex-Louisville big man Gorgui Dieng, possessing excellent length and athleticism. His offensive game is still developing and he will need to add strength to bang in the paint, though he should provide the Jayhawks with a strong defensive presence off the bench.
The Jayhawks will face a brutal non-conference schedule and will be tested once again by what should be an improved Big 12 conference. There may be some hiccups early in the year as coach Self tries to gel five new starters together, but there is no denying the talent is in place. Yet another deep run in March seems probable for this young KU squad, especially if Wiggins is as good as advertised and Black finally turns into the player he was expected to be out of high school.