Tonight’s matchup features two of the most storied programs in college basketball history in one of the most historic venues of college basketball. The outcome could go either way since Kansas is coming off a loss and the game is being played in Allen Fieldhouse, one of the most intimidating college basketball arenas. On the other hand, Kentucky is on a hot streak since implementing Derek Willis into the starting lineup.
Nonetheless, tonight’s game should be a good one. Kansas will be seeking revenge, so instead of profiling a player, I’m going to do the entire team. So here are five things to know about Kansas:
You don’t really want to send them to the line
One of the biggest criticisms with this year’s Kentucky team is that they’ve had a hard time shooting free throws, and well, that’s definitely not a problem that Kansas has. The Jayhawks currently have all five starters shooting over 60% and many over 70%. That makes putting Marcus Lee in the game a risk with his fouling tendencies, because if you send them to the line, they’re probably going to make it. I really don’t wanna die by free throws either.
They’re good at OT
Many of you, like me, probably stayed up past your bedtime to watch the end of the 3 overtime Kansas-Oklahoma game when Buddy Hield was four points shy of dropping a 50 piece. Many out there are predicting that tonight’s game will be pushed into overtime. Overtime in Allen Fieldhouse could be tragic for a Kentucky that has struggled on the road this year.
They haven’t lost at home in a million years
So, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but like I said earlier, the “Phog” or whatever they call it, is one of the most intimidating arenas in all of college basketball. Because of this, and the tradition that is Kansas basketball, they haven’t lost a game at home since Jan. 5, 2014 against no. 21 San Diego State. Bill Self is 200-9 at Allen Fieldhouse, so can we make that 200-10 tonight?
They’ve got a lot of experience on their side
While this Kentucky team does have more experience than the ones of the past, it’s still relatively young. The Cats start two freshman (Briscoe and Murray) but have several more coming off the bench battling for quality minutes. For the Jayhawks, the youngest player on their starting lineup is Devonte’ Graham, who is a sophomore and barely even played in last year’s game. Three out of five of their starters and several bench players held a role in last year’s blood bath and will out for revenge.
Their front court has a lot of depth
When we’re talking about Kentucky’s backcourt, it’s all good, we’ve got guards for days. The front court? Not so much. You start with Alex (who has struggled on the road) and Derek, bring Marcus (who has trouble playing without fouling) and Skal (who is just now starting to play well) but who else do we got? Isaac Humphries still needs to get better and we can just accept that Tai isn’t going to play. But for Kansas, they’re the ones with the front court depth this year. They start Perry Ellis and Landen Lucas but then you go to their bench and they have Chieck Diallo, Carlton Bragg Jr. and Jamari Traylor.