Kansas Jayhawks vs Texas Longhorns
When: Saturday, Jan. 19, 2:00 p.m.
Where: Frank Erwin Center
Kansas (15-1) is going for their 15th consecutive victory on Saturday. The Jayhawks are in a first place tie with Oklahoma and Kansas State. They each have three conference wins. The Kansas Jayhawks average 76 points per game and they only give up 59 points per contest.
Kansas is taking on a Texas team that has been fluctuating all season long. Texas’ (8-8) best win came against North Carolina, but they’ve lost four out of five since then, and three in a row. They are winless against Big 12 competition so far, and the road doesn’t get any easier.
Although leading scorer, Ben McLemore injured his ankle against Baylor earlier in the week, he returned to practice on Thursday, and will be in the starting lineup against Texas. McLemore should be at full strength, yet it remains to be seen how he’s able to perform with a bad wheel.
Three Kansas players average double figures, while point guard, Elijah Johnson is averaging 9.9 points per game. Johnson also leads Kansas in assists.
Defensively, Kansas really gets after opponents on the perimeter, but it is all predicated on the inside presence of Jeff Withey. The Kansas center leads the team with 4.7 blocks per game.
The big man controls the paint on both sides of the floor. Texas shoots under 30 percent from three- point range, so they are going to attempt to score over Withey.
One good thing for Texas is that guards Sheldon McClellan and Julien Lewis lead the team in field goals made. They’ll need to use penetration, and ball movement to crack the Kansas defense. However, neither guard averages more than two assists. It will be up to Javan Felix to find the open teammates.
To pull the home upset, Texas needs to hit shots that they normally don’t make. If they are able to drive the defense, they must try to attack Jeff Withey’s body. Still, Withey does a fantastic job of not fouling. He only has 20 on the season.
While Texas does play fairly good defense, they don’t have the team to beat Kansas. The Jayhawks ball movement will control the game, and help Kansas find the best shot on most possessions. They can play an up tempo game or a methodical one. Provided McLemore can produce a solid effort, the defensive tenacity and offensive efficiency will wear down Texas in the second half.
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