Kansas Jayhawks forward Perry Ellis (34) Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas Jayhawks Return To The Phog To Face The Georgetown Hoyas


 

Kansas Jayhawks guard Wayne Selden, Jr. (1) Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

 

After 28 days away from the mystical confines of Phog Allen Fieldhouse, the Kansas Jayhawks (7-3) finally return home Saturday morning to face the Georgetown Hoyas (7-2). The game will be broadcast on ESPN with tip-off at 11 a.m. CST.

It has been a long absence from home for Kansas as they have went just 3-3 over the past month, with one loss to Villanova on a neutral court in the Bahamas, and losses on the road at Colorado and Florida.

Finals are over and the young Jayhawks can spend a few weeks concentrating on getting better. At times, Kansas has looked extremely good, and at other times, poor defense, poor passing, a poor understanding of the half court offense, and poor outside shooting have caused the Jayhawks to not look very good at all.

Kansas is led in scoring, as expected, by freshman Andrew Wiggins with 15.9 points per game. Perry Ellis is the only other player averaging in double figures with 14.1. Three other Jayhawks average more than 8 points a game.

Ellis lead the team in rebounds with 6.7 a contest, with Joel Embiid right behind with 6.5 caroms a game. Naadir Tharpe tallies 5.1 assists on outing to top the team, and Embiid has the most steals with 11, and blocked shots with 24.

The Jayhawks have struggled mightily against zone defenses this season, so it will not be surprising if Kansas sees one from the Hoyas Saturday. Kansas is still struggling from 3-point range, hitting just 31.8% o f their attempts from behind the arc (49-154). This percentage needs to creep up over the 35% mark for Kansas to open up the middle. Quick cuts to the middle by the big men, and on target, timely passes from the perimeter will also help crumble a zone.

Kansas hasn’t done any of these things particularly well yet this season.

The Hoyas haven’t played the strongest schedule in the world. They have beaten Kansas State (90-63), and they edged out VCU (84-80), but they lost to Oregon (82-75) and Northeastern (63-56). Still, they come to Lawrence with a talented roster.

Sophomore guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera lead Georgetown in scoring with 16.9 points a game. Senior guard Markel Starks adds 15.7 tallies a contest, and junior center Joshua Smith pitches in with 14.1 a game.

The Hoyas are led by junior forward Nate Lubick in rebounding with 6.3 boards a game. Starks tops the team in assists with 4.8 an outing, and Smith-Rivera has the most steals with 13.

The most intriguing Hoya may be Joshua Smith. The junior stands at 6’10″ but weighs 350 pounds, outweighing every Jayhawk by at least 90 pounds. Smith can score but he is a non factor on the glass, averaging less than 4 rebounds a game.

It will be interesting to see how the Jayhawks attack Smith. Ellis is too slight of build to draw duty, but Kansas can throw Embiid, Tarik Black, Jamari Traylor, and Landen Lucas at him. It should be fun to see if the Jayhawks can handle this behemoth.

As always, Kansas is looking to improve on both ends of the court. This team really struggles passing the ball in the half court offensive sets, maybe more than any Bill Self team to date.

The kids have yet to realize that to play an up and down game in open court, they need to play defense first. There was improvement in the second half of the New Mexico game, but they need to do it for a whole 40 minutes.

If nothing else, enjoy yet another quality opponent for the Jayhawks. While other schools are dressing up their records playing a series of cupcakes, Kansas is going toe-to-toe with some of the finest competition in the country. While 40-point blowouts at home against Northern Southeastern Central State are all fine and dandy, these games against good teams are so much better to watch.

 

 

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Tags: Kansas Jayhawks

  • 6is9

    Most baffling to me of the various issues outlined in this article is the lack of success behind the arc. Kansas has seldom been a deadly three point team. They’ve always had some shooters and some one or two guys will get hot most games. It is historically true and part of the mystique of Kansas (and other elite perennials) that when the when the three is needed, the three is there. There’s no more likely place to witness this phenomen than Allen Fieldhouse. It is stunning if it doesn’t happen there when a game comes down to the wire. Kansas very often leads the country in consecutive home wins. When they lose one it’s not uncommon that it comes after winning forty or fifty or more straight. One of the most amazing stats is that Bill Self has won more Big XII championships (9) than he’s lost games at Allen (8) in 11 years at KU. It’s a major recruiting point and it’s a major pressure on every Kansas squad.

    This team is loaded with guys who should be knocking down threes but two guys, sophomore Andrew White III and freshman Conner Frankamp have yet to live up to their reputation, in particular Frankamp, whose minutes this year largely depend on him doing that. These kids have been flustered by zones early, it would have helped a lot if somebody — anybody — was even buying buckets.

    There are at least three freshmen on this team who will have the choice to never face another zone after this season, I don’t know if that has anything to do with anything. But it’s true.

    Most every KU team struggles early. It’s just that they’d barely pull out a win after playing terrible against competition not as good as this year. KU seldom has a team this inexperienced, though. And the spotlight has never been on the team like this early. The media truly blows everything out of proportion, from ridiculously comparing Wiggins to LeBron to overdramatizing the early season bad play and losses.

    (I watched those All-Star games and Wiggins was always outshone by others, including Wayne Seldon. People don’t remember LeBron in high school. Man, ESPN started showing his high school games on TV!)

    They’ve been increasing the number of tough games in their non-conference schedule. I think that it has been to the benefit of the team. I think a loss to a Colorado is more valuable than an undefeated conference pre-season come the end of the year and the tournaments, even if it drops you a notch or two in seeding for the regionals. Kansas under Roy Williams and for most of Self’s years played way too many preseason patsies. Usually they’d get some competition in a tournament, play maybe one big game for one of the networks, and line up teams to mow down by 30-50 points. Then they’d go into the tournament a high seed and get clobbered in the second round by some little mid major that couldn’t miss a three.

    It is just a matter of time for Kansas. It always is. When this team clicks, even more so than most past teams, I doubt there’s another team in the country that will beat them. My money’s still on them to win the whole enchilada.