After losing two out of three games, a third this early in the season would start a riot in downtown Lawrence, Kansas. Recently the Jayhawks have lost to two unranked teams, starting with Villanova (now ranked) and more recently, Colorado. They will now face off against No. 19 Florida in Gainesville.
Kansas has their defense to blame for the recent struggles. No one can guard the ball, which is resulting in their big men getting into early foul trouble. Tarik Black starts, and can’t see more than seven minutes in a half because he picks up early fouls. Their pick and roll defense is atrocious and doesn’t resemble a Bill Self coached team whatsoever. They have a lot to prove against Florida on the defensive side of the floor.
Naadir Tharpe has been benched for his lousy play and replaced by the freshman Frank Mason. Mason is a much better on-ball defender, and has an uncanny knack for getting into the paint. It was the right move to have him starting and allowing Tharpe to come off the bench, and Tharpe has embraced this demotion like a true leader should.
The most impressive player over the past few games has been Joel Embiid and his immense improvement game in and game out. At times he seems unstoppable in the post with a wide array of moves he has showcased. Although he doesn’t start, he receives the majority of the minutes throughout the game.
Perry Ellis, as expected, has been the most consistent player for Kansas. He hit the go ahead layup with three seconds left against Colorado, and looks to be KU’s go to player in the clutch time. He and Embiid are the only players that can score with their back to the basket.
Andrew Wiggins has not been impressive at all this season and needs to do a lot in the remainder of the season to live up to his number one recruit status. He doesn’t need to lead the team in scoring, but he definitely needs to be more assertive and play to his strengths. Wiggins has taken far too many outside jumpers, and constantly seems to be settling. His defense is often very lackadaisical, which is why he as gotten into foul trouble lately. He is the best player on the team, and needs to take over games when needed. If he starts driving to the lane his production will increase.
Kansas basketball needs a big bounce back game, and tonight is the perfect opportunity for that.This would be their second win against a ranked opponent, and make a huge impact for a number one seed in March. My prediction for the game is a 74-63 Kansas win.
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