Kansas University's men's basketball players will do a lot of net cutting during the 2004-05 season.
That is the opinion of editors at Slam Magazine and Street and Smith's College Basketball Preview, who predict the Jayhawks will win the Big 12 Conference title this winter and the 2005 national championship in April in St. Louis.
Slam Magazine -- one of the first pundit publications to hit bookstores -- has a preseason top five of KU, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Illinois. Street and Smith's counters with KU, Illinois, Wake Forest, Syracuse and North Carolina.
Wake Forest is the preseason No. 1 pick of CBS Sportsline Magazine and Blue Ribbon Yearbook; Illinois is the top pick of Lindy's; and Louisville is the surprise choice of Athlon's.
KU is ranked second by CBS Sportsline Magazine, fourth by Lindy's and fifth by Blue Ribbon.
Athlon's does not rank by number, instead prognosticating that the Jayhawks will reach the Elite Eight but not the Final Four. Athlon's fails to list KU senior point guard Aaron Miles as one of the country's top 10 "floor leaders."
The magazine lists two Illinois players in its top 10 floor leaders -- Dee Brown and Deron Williams. Miles is overlooked despite the fact he will begin the season with 738 assists. Only two players in the history of the Big 12 and Big Eight have more --Oklahoma State's Doug Gottlieb (793) and KU's Jacque Vaughn (804).
"First of all, the preseason things mean absolutely nothing, with the exception of being good recruiting mailouts," KU coach Bill Self said, asked for his reaction to the Miles snub which includes the Portland, Ore., native being tapped just the country's 15th best point guard by Lindy's.
"Anybody that has studied it or watched us play first-hand would have to agree Aaron is one of the best in America. A lot of magazines do things a little bit different. To be honest, a lot of guys get slighted because certain guys have opinions. It's not done intentionally.
"I know one thing: I wouldn't trade him for anybody."¢
Magazine honorees: KU senior Wayne Simien is a preseason All-America pick by Athlon Sports and Street and Smith's. Athlon names Simien the top "inside/outside" player in the country and Keith Langford the No. 7 slasher in the U.S.
J.R. Giddens is listed as a sensational sophomore by Lindy's, which taps Simien as the fourth-best power forward in the country.
Athlon names Giddens one of the country's "emerging stars," and Lindy's lists Langford as the No. 6 small forward in the country.¢
Late Night visitors: Jerry Smith, a 6-foot-2 high school junior guard from Wauwatosa, Wis., will attend Late Night in the Phog on Oct. 15 as part of an unofficial recruiting visit.
He already has made unofficial visits to Iowa, Wisconsin and Marquette.
"Kansas is definitely one of the top schools on my list, if not the top school," Smith told Shay Wildeboor of rivals.com.
KU's three commitments from the Class of 2005 -- Micah Downs, Mario Chalmers and Julian Wright -- say they will attend Late Night.
C.J. Henry, a 6-5 senior guard from Oklahoma City, Martynas Pocius, a 6-5 senior guard from Plymouth, N.H., Matt Bouldin, a 6-5 junior guard from Denver, and Dale Vanwright, a 6-6 junior guard from Houston, also may visit.
Pocius, a native of Lithuania, has seen his stock skyrocket the past month.
Coaches from KU, North Carolina, Arizona, Utah and Virginia Tech have been to New Hampshire in recent days.