JACK'S SMACK: KU is the team to beat, but fans are feeling entitled

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - I've had some time to digest the pre-season college basketball polls which came out recently.

The Big 12 coaches are inclined to anoint Kansas as the team to beat every year, and for good reason: nine straight conference championships.

KU fans should be proud, but too many of them perceive this string of titles as entitlement. That's what rubs a lot of people the wrong way.

Many of the young beakers view it as a birth right to win a conference championship every year. But that might be changing.

The coaches this year split their first place votes between Kansas and Oklahoma State. It's a good call, here's why:

KU will have five new starters; three of them are likely to be freshmen. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have a trio of veteran guys coming back, including the player of the year, Marcus Smart.

Oklahoma State will have a huge edge in experience. But Kansas will make up for that in coaching. Travis Ford is completely lost when compared with Bill Self.

Of course, KU does have the No. 1 recruit in America. It's a lot of hype about Andrew Wiggins, an eight-month rental player for the Jayhawks.

There are eight new players on this KU roster; six of them are freshmen.

The big question is "How does it all come together?"

The KU coach got himself in a pickle after losing all five starters from last year's team.

Self's recruiting pattern is looking more and more like Calipari at Kentucky, who has a history of loading up with rental players.

Speaking of rental players, that didn't work out so well last year at Kentucky.

Could KU be headed down the same path with all these young players? Nah, Self is too good of a coach.

But I do think the string of 10 straight conference championships at Kansas is premature.

The one thing that could get in the way of Oklahoma State is that coach. Chances are Travis Ford will find a way to screw up a good team at Okie State.

But the jury is out on this young and inexperienced KU team.

That's Jack's Smack.

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