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Kansas Jayhawks Game Preview/Open Thread

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The Huskies face off against #2 Kansas in the toughest test of the season

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Syracuse Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Essentials

Date: Wednesday, 12/6/17

Tip-Off Time: 6:00pm PST

TV: ESPN2

Radio: KOMO 1000

Location: Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri

Betting Line: Kansas -21.5

Kansas 2017-18 Statistics:

Record: 7-0

Points For per Game: 91.9 ppg (6th)

Points Against per Game: 61.3 ppg (16th)

Strength of Schedule: 177th

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 117.6 (6th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 88.7 (3rd)

Kansas Key Players:

C-Udoba Azubuike, So. 7’0, 280: 14.6ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.4bpg, 77% FG, 40% FT

The sophomore from Nigeria looks like a completely different player this season as he’s cut his turnovers more than in half while dunking on everything that moves. If he gets the ball within 5 feet of the basket it’s an automatic 2 points and a poster.

F- Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Sr. 6’8, 205: 17.1ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.9apg, 50.6% FG, 62.5% FT, 54.3% 3pt

“The Ukrainmaker” has the best nickname in college basketball but is actually living up to the nickname this year. He’s shot at a supernova level this season hitting on more than half of his shots behind the arc.

G- Lagerald Vick, Jr. 6’5, 175: 16.4ppg, 7.0rpg, 4.3apg, 54.2% FG, 71.4% FT, 46.9% 3pt

Vick shoots less threes than the rest of the perimeter players but still knocks them down whenever he gets the chance. He’s also a tremendous passer as evidenced by his assist totals in a secondary ball handling role.

G- Malik Newman, So. 6’3, 190: 11.9ppg, 4.4rpg, 2.7apg, 46.2% FG, 100% FT, 40% 3pt

Newman transferred from Mississippi State where he was a 5-star recruit. He’s having the least impressive season of any of the Kansas starters which means he’d likely be an All Pac-12 player for the Huskies.

G- Devonte’ Graham, So. 6’2, 185: 18.6ppg, 4.6rpg, 8.0apg, 47.3% FG, 92.3% FT, 40.8% 3pt

“The Apostrophe” is one of the leading candidates for National Player of the Year taking over for last year’s winner Frank Mason III. Playing alongside such great shooters helps his assist numbers but he’s a legitimately great player and will be one of the best the Huskies encounter this season.

The Outlook

Can I be real with you? Like really real? This is not going to turn out well. This will go down as a neutral site game but it’s essentially a road game. Kansas City is 41 miles from Lawrence, KS and 1,861 miles from Seattle, WA. Strike one.

Kansas has been crushing everyone in their path except Kentucky. And Washington is not Kentucky. In their 6 other games, the Jayhawks have won by an average score of 96 to 61. That includes 30+ point wins against #113 Oakland, #120 South Dakota State, and #166 Toledo. The Huskies will enter this game at #137 in KenPom. Strike two.

In one of the unfortunate scheduling quirks of the year, Kansas just played against, guess who? Syracuse! So the Jayhawks just spent 5 days preparing to play a superior version of the exact same defense. Kansas struggled against it relative to other games but they still won by 16 and again, Syracuse’s defense is several magnitudes better than UW’s. Strike three.

There are two holes in this Jayhawks’ team that UW will have to exploit to a phenomenal degree if they want to keep it close. Only two. This Kansas team is impossibly thin. Kansas only has 7 available scholarship players. They’ve got 4 players redshirting while they transfer in and 5-star freshman big Billy Preston is still being held out pending an investigation into a car he crashed that he shouldn’t have been driving.

Udoba Azubuike is their only true post player and if he picks up 2 quick fouls then the Huskies can start working the ball inside with success. UW needs him to play significantly less than his 26 minutes per game to have any shot.

The second hole is this team does not get to the free throw line. They’re 346/351 in free throw attempts per field goal attempt. They are going to bomb it from outside. The problem is they’re 11th in 3-pt% and 10th in 2-pt% so it usually doesn’t matter. But if Kansas for some reason can’t adjust to shooting in the Sprint Center and go cold then they aren’t great at supplementing that by getting to the line.

Things aren’t much better when the Huskies have the ball. Kansas is 35th in 3-pt% and 4th in 2-pt% on defense. They’re also in the top-25 in block% and steal%. There is no major defensive category in which they are outside the top-100. But at least the Huskies have nothing to lose, right? If the Huskies keep this within 15 then it will be a good sign because unless Arizona figures things out this will be the best team they play all year in circumstances that are decidedly against them.

Prediction

Washington Huskies- 72, Kansas Jayhawks- 99

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