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What should we know about Kansas?
Winning the last three games in the series against Kentucky, the Kansas Jayhawks have yet another top-10 team at their disposal. And even with a thin frontcourt right now, Bill Self’s 16-3 Jayhawks have a ton of talent at their disposal with the ability to come into Rupp Arena and give the Wildcats one heck of a game.
The star of the show? Junior forward Dedric Lawson, who is averaging 19 points and 10.8 rebounds per game, both team highs. He also managed a ridiculous 29-point, 15-rebound performance on Monday night against the Iowa State. On the year, Lawson has managed point totals of 29, 31, 30, 28, 24, 24, 26, and 20, so to say the 6-foot-9 star out of Memphis, TN can put up points in a hurry would be an understatement.
Beyond Lawson, senior guard Lagerald Vick (who I swear has been there for ten years now) is averaging 15 points, four rebounds, two assists, and 1.3 steals per game, all while shooting a ridiculous 45.7 percent from three. With games of five, six, seven, seven, and eight three-point makes, Vick is certainly not afraid to launch (and make) shots from deep. He’ll be a threat to watch for on the perimeter.
Down low, however, is where the Wildcats should be able to find an advantage over the Jayhawks. Sophomore forward Silvio De Sousa has been out all season due to eligibility issues, while 7-foot-1 junior center Udoka Azubuike is out for the year with a wrist injury. Lawson is certainly a stud, but beyond him, Kansas is mighty thin in the frontcourt. And it shows, as the Jayhawks are currently ranked No. 239 in the nation in total defensive rebounding percentage at 72.1% and No. 311 in opponent offensive rebounds per game at 10.1. With Kentucky’s four-man rotation in the paint with various skill-sets, the Cats will almost certainly be attacking the rim and working the ball through the post more often than not.
In terms of total numbers, the Cats and the Jayhawks are almost identical. Kentucky averages 80 points per game compared to Kansas’ 78.1 points, allows 67.5 points compared to their 70.2, and shoot 48.6 percent compared to the Jayhawks’ 48.1. Kentucky also ever-so-slightly edges Kansas in the rebound category 38.3 to 38.1, 14.3 to 13.9 in assists, and 5.3 to 3.7 in blocks per game.
In short, it’s going to be a battle between two very, very good basketball teams this evening.
Kentucky opened up as five-point favorite over Kansas, but that has since extended to 6.5 points in favor of the Wildcats with an over/under of 144.5. Meanwhile, Kenpom has Kentucky favored by 3.5 points.
For those keeping track at home, Kentucky has managed to cover the spread in three consecutive games, while Kansas has failed to cover in each of its three last games.
According to ESPN’s basketball power index, Kentucky has a 68.7% chance to win, while KenPom gives the Wildcats a 65% chance of knocking off the pesky Jayhawks, with a 73-69 win projected for UK.
Prepare on the KSR Pregame Show
Before the Kentucky takes the court, listen to the KSR crew preview the matchup between the Cats and Auburn. All of the action begins on 630 WLAP or online at 3:30 pm.
How to Watch and Listen
Jay Bilas, Dan Shulman and Maria Taylor will be on the call for ESPN beginning at 6:00 p.m. If you’re stuck on the road and can’t watch, there are multiple ways to listen to The Voice of the Wildcats.
- AM: 840 WHAS, 630 WLAP
- FM: 98.1 WBUL
- Satellite: XM-190 and Sirius-119
- Online: iHeart Radio
ESPN College GameDay
Are you reading this post while shuffling to your seat at College GameDay? If not, you better get there before all of the free ice cream runs out.
The ESPN College GameDay crew is in town for the eighth time in school history, tied for the second-most of any location in the nation. Beyond just Lexington, the Wildcats have been featured on the broadcast 17 times since the show was created in 2005, including a current streak of ten consecutive years.
Yesterday, the KSR crew was able to meet up with the GameDay crew to break down the matchup, what this Kentucky team has to offer, and why they like coming to Lexington so much.
Here are just a few posts we wrote on the festivities/comments made from Seth Greenberg, Jay Bilas, and Jay Williams:
KSR will also be in attendance for the actual event this morning, so we’ll have all of the footage and photos you need this afternoon as we inch closer to tip-off.