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November 8, 2009

Roundtable: Who will win the national title?

At the College Basketball Roundtable each week, we ask each member of the college basketball coverage staff for his opinion about a topic in the sport.

Today's question: What team is your pick to win the national title?

David Fox's answer:
Kansas was my pick for the 2010 title days after the end of the 2009 tournament, and I still haven't changed my mind. Not even John Calipari and John Wall arriving at Kentucky could change my mind. Bill Self led a rebuilt lineup to the Big 12 regular-season title and the Sweet 16 last season, and we've seen what he can do with a veteran team. Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich were fantastic in their first seasons as full-time players, and now Collins is a senior and Aldrich is a junior. Sophomores Tyshawn Taylor and Marcus Morris are getting better, too. We've seen Florida, North Carolina and even the 2008 Kansas squad win national titles built around players who stuck around a year longer than one would expect. Kansas has a similar look.

Mike Huguenin's answer:
It's hard to pick against Kansas. The Jayhawks have a title-winning coach in Bell Self. There's a great point guard in Sherron Collins. There's a great big man - maybe the best in the nation - in Cole Aldrich. There's a highly touted freshman in big guard Xavier Henry. There are a lot of complementary big men. There's solid complementary talent in the backcourt. In short, this team has it all - including a ton of pressure to live up to the expectations. Florida and North Carolina faced extremely high expectations to win it all in 2007 and 2009, respectively. I think Kansas will do the same.

Jason King's answer:
Kansas is my pick to win the national championship -- mainly because the Jayhawks have the top point guard (Sherron Collins) in the country along with the top big man (Cole Aldrich). Both were on the 2007-08 squad that captured the title, so they know what it takes to return to the big stage. Kansas' biggest problem last season was that it didn't have many scoring options beyond Collins and Aldrich. That will change this season. Guard Tyshawn Taylor, who made huge strides toward the end of last season, is projected as a future first-round NBA pick. So, too, is highly touted freshman Xavier Henry, an athletic three-man who may become the first one-and-done player in Jayhawks history. Mix in vastly improved big-man twins Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris, and Kansas will be as talented and deep as any team in the country. If Kansas loses more than two regular-season games, I'll be shocked. I fully expect the Jayhawks to be cutting down the nets in Indianapolis -- perhaps after beating Kentucky -- in April.

Steve Megargee's answer:
I have to agree with the preseason polls and pick Kansas as the team to beat. No team in the nation has a tandem to rival Kansas' combination of Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins. I also expect Tyshawn Taylor to take a major step forward as a sophomore, and Xavier Henry should make an instant impact as a freshman. Most of the players on this roster already have plenty of experience from last season. The Jayhawks arguably overachieved last season by reaching the Sweet 16 after losing the nucleus of the 2008 national championship squad. After overcoming relatively low expectations -- by Kansas standards -- last season, the Jayhawks have an excellent chance of meeting sky-high expectations this season.



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