- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. A few weeks out from practice and a potential top-10/top-five team that isn’t being given its due is Kansas. KU coach Bill Self said a few weeks ago that he thinks he has an extremely deep team, and one that might be able to score in more ways than last season. Canvass the country and the Jayhawks stack up against as well as any team in the country if newcomers like Ben McLemore and Perry Ellis are as impactful as expected. Jeff Withey will be as talented a big man as any other in the nation and the rotation players are more than serviceable. This is a perfect setup for Self. KU isn’t getting the early-season love -- but Kansas has more experience returning than Kentucky and probably has a better preseason chance of getting back to the Final Four.
2. My second team that should be ranked higher in any poll, let alone in conference projections, is Cincinnati. The Bearcats seem to be lost amid the Louisville hype in the Big East. But Cincinnati's roster is loaded with returning upperclassmen like Cashmere Wright, Sean Kilpatrick, JaQuon Parker and Justin Jackson. The problem is that the schedule doesn’t provide many early-season highlight games to get the Bearcats noticed. The best chance for a statement win would come if UC plays, and then beats, UNLV in Las Vegas on Nov. 24.
3. I’m not for labor unrest in college basketball but I would like to see one union of officials. I’ve covered the sport for 22 years (26 if you count college) and I’m still baffled by the perception of a lack of consistency in officiating from one league to the next. And the fact that coaches request their league officials for road non-conference games essentially hints that if they were from the home conference, that team would be at a disadvantage. The rules don’t change, so how the game is officiated shouldn’t be altered either. There are plenty of quality officials in every league who take their jobs very seriously. Their ethics shouldn’t be questioned. So having them all work for under one roof makes sense.