LAWRENCE, KS - NOVEMBER 30: Kansas Jayhawk cheerleaders perform during a timeout in the game against the Florida Atlantic Owls on November 30, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
After a couple of games off, we are back with another edition of Bulls Recon. With Kansas on the docket tomorrow, I reached out to fetch9 over at Rock Chalk Talk, and he was more than happy to talk a bit about the Jayhawks. In this edition of Bulls Recon, we discuss things to do while in Lawrence, Kansas' lack of depth, and if USF has a chance in hell.
1. For those who haven't had the chance to see KU play this season, can you give us a quick breakdown of what the Jayhawks like to do on offense and defense?
On offense Kansas is going with the Bill Self standard issue high low offense. Sadly there's no Morris twin this year who can be a big guy who can make a jumper from the high post as well as drive to the hoop, so the offense has been a bit stagnant. Because of that they have reverted to "Tyshawn Taylor attacking the basket with reckless abandon" a few too many times, but I think as the year goes on and guys start to gel a bit more that will get fixed a bit.
Defensively it's solid man to man, and they've been getting after it a bit more on that end this year vs. years past (probably because they know they need to thanks to a general lack of talent). Tyshawn Taylor and Travis Releford are pretty good on ball defenders, and Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey do well in the paint. Kansas has been really good at rebounding and at two point defense, so if opponents stop shooting so well from three they have a chance to be one of the best defenses in the country.
2. Its going to be tough to replace the production lost from last year's Elite Eight squad. Who has stepped up for the this year?
Thomas Robinson has been pretty fantastic so far. He hasn't been the most efficient scorer yet but he has a double double in every game they've played. Beyond that it's been on a game by game type basis. Tyshawn Taylor made the Kentucky game as respectable as possible, Elijah Johnson saved the team vs. UCLA, etc. etc. I will note that Jeff Withey has been really good, shooting 63% from two and blocking over 2 shots per game.
3. Even with the great recruiting class you guys had this season, you are only going 8 players deep in the rotation. Any reason why?
Sadly they all (except for Naadir Tharpe) ran into some eligibility problems: Braeden Anderson was a partial qualifier and is now at Fresno State. Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor ran into snags with the same type of issue but were approved for aid so they're still on the roster, but can't practice until second semester. It definitely has caused some problems, e.g. Conner Teahan actually having to play meaningful minutes, but Coach Self likes a short bench normally towards the end of the season so I don't think it will be a huge issue.
4. We actually have one of our writers flying up to Lawrence to catch the game. Is there any place that he HAS to visit while visiting the campus. Other than Allen Fieldhouse of course.
Oh man where do I start. If bars are your thing the Wheel is probably the most iconic one on campus. But mainly I would walk up and down Massachusetts Street and walk into any place that looks interesting. For food the big three that I would try to hit would be Rudy's for pizza, the Burger Stand for burgers (duh) and Munchers Bakery for donut type items (and it's open 24 hours a day if you need a snack after having one too many at the Wheel).
5. Give us some sort of hope. How can USF pull off the major upset against KU?
I think the biggest two ingredients in any upset are turnovers and three point shooting. Kansas has turned the ball over a lot recently after taking care of it really well in their first couple of games, so that's a potential big help for you guys. Secondly, KU's opponents have shot really well from three (38.5%) but it's a bit too early to tell if that is due to them just being good shooters or Kansas doesn't guard from the line that well. The other bonus for you guys taking a lot of threes is that the offensive team grabs a lot more rebounds off three point misses which could help negate some of KU's rebounding advantage. So I would be really surprised, but there is a way.
6. Finally, how do you see this one ending?
Kansas really played sluggishly in their last game against Florida Atlantic, and due to Coach Self's comments after the game I doubt they had much fun in practice the last couple days. Unfortunately I think they take it out on you a bit and I'll say 79-51. Though I am sure we could persuaded to take it easy if you let us hire Skip Holtz on the cheap.
Thanks again to Fetch and the guys at Rock Chalk Talk for helping us out on such short notice. Make sure to head to RCT later for my answers to his questions, and make sure to give them a follow on Twitter.
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