I hooked up with fellow SB Nation and Kansas Jayhawk blog Rock Chalk Talk to do a little fact or fiction to preview today's game between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Kansas Jayhawks. Here we go:
- The past two conference games for the Jayhawks have been awfully close, Kansas is prime to lose a close conference game.
Yes and no. We were on such an emotional high after the Oklahoma State shellacking that we weren't 100% ready for either Iowa State or Missouri. Sure, we are prone to lose a game soon because we have won 10 in a row and anytime you are in the road in the Big 12 it is likely you will come out with a L. However, Bill Self has had 5 days of hard practices to get these guys motivated again.
- The key to controlling Kansas is controlling Mario Chalmers.
No. The entire Jayhawks' offense is not built around one player, and while Super Mario is the best player on our team (at least in my opinion) if you shut him down it doesn't screw up the flow. Take the game against Missouri, he scored only like 8 points yet we still won because someone stepped up in Sherron Collins. If you could only control one person, Mario would be the guy.
- Bill Self, despite the recent close losses, it satisfied with the way that his team is playing.
Self is probably satisfied with the way this team is playing, but he definitely knows that we can play much better and is in no way complacent. If we are playing this come Tournament time though, we will have another early exit so there is still some improvement left for this team. There was an article written by Andy Katz after the Missouri game quoting Bill Self saying that we aren't an elite team...yet.
- Sasha Kaun, Darrell Arthur and Julian Wright will have a field day against Tech's frontcourt.
I say yes. It will be the key to the game in my opinion, whether we can dominate the paint or not and I think that at least 2 of the aforementioned players will have big days on Saturday. Like I said in question #2 our offense isn't predicated on one particular person so it's hard to tell who will break out win, but I'll say that Julian Wright busts out for a huge game along with Sasha getting a solid 12/8 line.
- Brandon Rush hasn't been the player you expected this year, averaging only 13 points a game.
No, he hasn't been the offensive player we all expected coming into his sophomore season. However he has defended much better than I expected him to, a pleasant surprise and a big reason why we are #4 in defense so far this season. Regarding the offensive side of the ball, he is taking more shots recently which is progress for him. The problem with Rush is that he is almost too unselfish and because he is such a dominating force at times he needs to shoot more, as long as they are quality shots.
Rock Chalk Talk's Prediction: Kansas 78 Texas Tech 72.
Make sure and check out Rock Chalk Talk for my 5 questions to preview the game.