Bill Self on college basketball: “I don’t think there’s as many good players.”

PHILADELPHIA — Just imagine Kansas with Dedric Lawson, Virginia with Kyle Guy and Michigan with Iggy Brazdeikis. What if Tremont Waters had remained at LSU instead of leaving Baton Rouge early to be taken with the 51st pick, or Gonzaga’s Zach Norvell had decided to stay instead of bolting to go undrafted?

We wonder why college basketball will usher in a record sixth No. 1 team prior to Christmas when the new AP Poll is released on Monday?

“I don’t think there’s as many good players,” Kansas coach Bill Self said after the Jayhawks lost, 56-55, at Villanova on Saturday afternoon. “There’s a lot of teams out there that should be having guys still on their roster now. Look at us. Dedric. He was a really good player. He had great a year, and his timing was good. That would be an example for us, but there’s many examples across college basketball.”

It’s not just the one-and-done’s that frequent Lexington and Durham any longer. Guys are bolting the Ivy League (Miye Oni left Yale) without any first-round assurances. Some are even leaving with the understanding that they probably weren’t going to be drafted (i.e. Houston’s Armoni Brooks)

“The rule used to be leave for sure if you’re a first-rounder,” Self said. “Now it’s if you’re in the top half of the second round.”

Lawson wasn’t selected at all, and is now playing in the G-League. Ditto for Guy, Norvell and Waters. Despite the loss to Villanova, Kansas should be in the equation for a Final Four berth and could cut down the nets come April in Atlanta. But this is hardly an overpowering KU team.

D’Andre Hunter was a high-lottery pick and Ty Jerome a first-rounder, but Guy chose to leave and was selected 55th overall. With Guy, Virginia has the go-to player on the offensive end it sorely lacks and the Cavaliers look the part of a team that could go back-to-back.

Gonzaga is set to take the No. 1 spot on Monday, and the ‘Zags have certainly done enough to warrant the move. Mark Few’s team has beaten Arizona and Washington on the road, Oregon on a neutral court and North Carolina at The Kennel. But this team is hardly one that instills fear into opponents.

Michigan State was the overwhelming preseason favorite this season. Tom Izzo lost Josh Langford and has also lost three games already. Kentucky spent one week at No. 1 before losing to Evansville at home. Duke got a couple weeks in the driver’s seat before Stephen F. Austin pulled the upset at Cameron. Then came Louisville – which was dominated by an unranked Texas Tech team in New York that came in without its best player and on a three-game losing skid.

“No one wants to say it, but it’s true,” one high-major coach said. “These kids don’t want to stay in college. Most of them want out at the first chance they can get. It’s hurting college basketball. The product isn’t what it used to be.”

Then toss in the fact that LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton, two of the most talented players in the Class of 2019, decided to take their talents overseas. James Wiseman played a total of three games before bailing on Penny Hardaway and Memphis, and we’ll see if North Carolina freshman Cole Anthony returns from a knee injury that has him sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks.

Parity is nice … for a change. It’s sweet to see Dayton and DePaul relevant again. The diehard college basketball fans won’t go anywhere, but there’s no Zion, no KD, no Trae Young that is must-watch in the college game.

Oregon’s Payton Pritchard was my pick for the National Player of the Year frontrunner last week.

Yep, Payton Pritchard.

The Oregon senior is a nice college player, and is having a hell of a season thus far in Eugene. But let’s face it: No one is circling an Oregon Ducks game because of the diminutive point guard. Same goes for Dayton’s Obi Toppin, or even Louisville’s sweet-shooting Jordan Nwora.

No one is even circling any Duke games to watch Vernon Carey, who is a walking double-double. They certainly aren’t making sure to watch any Kentucky or UNC games.

Kansas point guard Devon Dotson was fifth on my Player of the Year list, and he’s now been sub-par (and that’s being kind) in the Jayhawks two biggest games, and it’s no coincidence both have been losses.

It’ll be fun come March when just about everyone thinks they have a shot, but I’ve been to 20 plus games thus far, seen many of the Top 50 teams in the country, and heard just about all of the coaches muttering about how their team stinks while walking out of the locker rooms.

“No dominant teams have emerged yet,” Self said.

And none are coming anytime soon.