The Kansas Jayhawks open their Big 12 Conference schedule in Norman tonight against the Oklahoma Sooners.
THE GAME: Kansas Jayhawks (9-4) Vs Oklahoma Sooners (12-2)
THE PLACE: Lloyd Noble Arena, Norman, Oklahoma
THE TIME: Wednesday, January 8th, 6:00 p.m. CST
THE NETWORK: ESPN 2
LIVE STREAM: ESPN.Go.com/watchespn
The Kansas Jayhawks play on ESPN 2 Wednesday so if you are on the go or can’t be near your television, we have you covered. You can still catch the Jayhawks live online at ESPN.Go.com/watchespn. Tonight’s game is only available to customers of cable providers that offer WatchESPN. It is not on ESPN3.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
1- IS NAADIR THARPE THE TEAM LEADER? As the most experienced Jayhawk, and starting point guard, it is time for Naadir Tharpe to step forward and be the team leader, on and off the court. He must improve his awful defense, be more consistent with the ball in his hands, and hit more jumpers. No one has shown any inclination to lead this team, so it falls to Tharpe. This team lacks identity, fire, and toughness at times. Someone who sees significantly playing time must step up and lead this team. At this point, it has to be Tharpe. He can only do it effectively if he can lead by example on the court.
2- PLAYING FOR THE NAME ON THE FRONT OF THE JERSEY: At times this season, certain players have played with a seemingly detached disinterest. It would be nice to see some fire and desire on the court. It would be nice to see some joy and enthusiasm for what they are doing. Paychecks can wait a few more months; have some pride in yourself and your school, and give maximum effort while in the games. Just relax and play for the name on the front of the jersey, and not the name on the back.
3- EMBIID DOUBLE TEAM: It will be interesting to see if the Sooners imitate what the San Diego State Aztecs did so effectively against Kansas center Joel Embiid. Every time Embiid got the ball on the low post, the Aztecs ran aggressively at him with a double team, forcing him out of the lane to find an open man. The inexperienced Embiid needs to post up stronger, and closer to the basket. He needs to react quicker with the ball in his hands, either moving toward the rim, or passing the ball back out. He must not allow the double team to close in. He will learn eventually but will it be by tonight?