Updated: Apr 8, 2022
The Final Four kicks off Saturday, with KU/Villanova being the opener to the big event. This is the 3rd postseason meeting in 6 years between the two schools, and the biggest at that. This is the game many are saying determines the legacy of Bill Self and this Kansas program. They open as 6 point favorites over Nova, with Justin Moore being injured this already shallow Villanova bench becomes even more shallow. If KU can work their bench and outpace the Wildcats, then they win, but if they have the start they had against Miami or Creighton, this game gets a lot harder. Then comes the title game, which will be either Duke or North Carolina. Both are winnable games, and if KU wins, then they win a title many didn't think they would back in January, proving a lot of people wrong.
If they lose this game or the next however, this could result in a heavy mark against Self and KU's reputation. KU has not been to a title game since 2012, and has not won it since 2008. To many, this isn't much to be concerned about, however in the case of blue bloods and solidifying Bill Self's legacy as one of the greatest if not THE greatest college basketball coach? This title looms extremely large. As heavy favorites, the Jayhawks have had a habit of choking, and against Villanova specifically, this is a team KU has a history with. If Self can beat Villanova, then he gets a MASSIVE monkey of his back, even more so if they go on to win the title.
Winning the title will most certainly make him the best Kansas coach, and will put Self among the ranks of Coach K, Eddie Sutton, John Wooden, and other legendary head coaches. Self is great, but his legend status will remain in question until he wins that second title. I know it's not what Kansas fans think or want to hear, believe me I'm one of you. I think Self is a legend in my book, but in the grand scope of college basketball KU's status of being a blue blood is put into question by some of those that are unbiased (Or to your average Mizzou or K-State fan, KU are a bunch of choking *****) Conference championships and being the winningest coach of the winningest program are great accomplishments, and obviously he's in the College Basketball Hall of Fame, however there will always be that weight of multiple chokes, unmet expectations, bad upsets (Mention the names Northern Iowa, VCU, Bucknell, and Bradley to any KU fan and you might end up with a black eye) and title hopes going unfulfilled until Self wins that elusive second title. Self is only 59, so he has time, but how many more heartbreaks can Self and KU withstand? Will the Great Redemption be upon us come Monday? In my opinion, as one of my grandfather's favorite artists the great Jimmy Buffett once said, come Monday, it'll be alright. The Hawks will be holding that national title tight, so it is written, so it will be done. Fret not, KU fans.
Burn Notice: 10/10 Bourbon St. during Mardis Gras.