1. Attack Landen Lucas
Landen Lucas is the only presence Kansas has in the post. He takes up plenty of space, but isn’t the most agile post. After scoring a carer-high 21 points against Tennessee, Bam will not be able to dunk on Lucas at will, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t try. If Lucas gets in foul trouble, Mitch Lightfoot will be forced to guard Adebayo. The jokes will write themselves. If Lucas is forced to ride the pine for an extended amount of time, Bam can get to 20 quickly and extend the lead to double digits.
2. Knock Down Open Threes
Normally Self’s Jayhawks excel on defense, but that’s not the case this year, especially from behind the three-point line. Their opponents average per 35 percent from behind the three-point line. When Lucas is out of the game, if the Cats can get it into the post, it should provide open opportunities for three-point shooters, especially at the four-spot. Gabriel and Willis will likely be guarded by “Svi,” the Ukranian sensation who struggles to defend. If they can hit a few, momentum will remain on Kentucky’s side.
3. Feed Bam
Even if he isn’t dunking on dudes, the offense should run through him. UK’s backcourt is great, but they’ve struggled as of late. The guards need to let the game come to them after Bam gets going.
4. Force Contested Threes
Frank Mason (53%), Devonte Graham (39%) and Svi (42%) will knock down threes. As a team, they shoot just sunder 42 percent from behind the three-point line. Even if the Cats build up a big lead, Kansas can erase the deficit quickly with a couple of deep threes. The Kentucky defense can’t let Svi or Mason get in a rhythm or it could be a long night.
5. Let Bam Eat
Did I mention that Bam should get the ball? He should touch it every, single, time.
6. Home Court Advantage
In a game where two teams are evenly matched, the nod goes to the home team, just like it did last year when Kentucky traveled to Phog Allen Fieldhouse. Rupp will be rocking like few times we’ve seen before. Kansas’ experienced guards will not be easily shaken, but if the Cats can turn big plays into runs behind a raucous crowd, the Jayhawks will not be able to keep up.