The Jayhawks have proved thus far that they are a resilient team despite a lack of consistency. The Cougars are coming off of a tough overtime loss to Pepperdine. We preview this game, considering relevant stats, before making our NCAA basketball picks on the outcome.
Kansas is coming off of a game
against Chattanooga in which they trailed by double digits at home. Despite the
Mocs shooting nearly 50% from 3 point range, the Jayhawks managed to rally
behind senior Elijah Johnson and freshman Ben McLemore as Kansas went on to
defeat Chattanooga, 69-55. The Jayhawks own Allen Fieldhouse, and the deficit was
a major surprise to many.
It isn't exactly clear how long freshman Ben McLemore will stay a Jayhawk, as leaving
early for the NBA seems to be a foregone conclusion, he's made a major
impact on the Jayhawks squad in just a short period of time.
McLemore is coming off of a career
high 25 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists against Chattanooga. He's already
proven that he can play against high level competition as he had a 14 point
game in a loss to #21 Michigan State. Coach Bill Self has stated that he wants
his freshman star to be aggressive as opponents will be keying in on him and
double teaming. Look for Kansas to ride Ben McLemore's back in this semifinal
game as he's clearly getting more comfortable as the season goes on.
Along with senior Elijah Johnson
(12.7 ppg, 3 rpg, 2.3 apg), Kansas will be relying upon it's 7 foot, 235
pound center, Jeff Withey, to control the paint on the defensive end. He's
coming off of a double-double in which he had 6 blocks. On the
season, Jeff Withey is averaging 12 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.3 blocks
With a combination of talented youth
and experience on this squad, Kansas should not only be able to win this game
quite easily, but they should also be able to conquer the CBE Hall of Fame
Championship without a problem.
Washington State came into
California, thinking that they could come into Firestone Fieldhouse and come
away with an easy "W". Instead, they were handed their first defeat
of the season and now the prospects of picking up a 2nd consecutive loss look
The Cougars were ineffective against
Pepperdine as they shot just 40% from the field while guard Mike Ladd
was the only starter to shoot 50% at 4 for 8. Nevertheless, Washington was
still able to take this game into overtime but unable to stop guard Lorne
Jackson as he hit the game winning shot with 12 seconds remaining.
Size and experience
The Cougars will be looking for
their two leading scorers, seniors Brock Motum and Mike Ladd, to lead the way
against Kansas. At 6 foot 5, Ladd is coming off an unexpected huge game on the
boards in which he collected 13 rebounds. He might not be able to duplicate his
performance against Pepperdine, but for Washington State to have any
chance in this game, Ladd must come up with a big game.
The Cougars will be relying on
leading scorer, Austrailian native Brock Motum, to shoulder the load
offensively. Motum has great size and is an efficient scorer and rebounder. On
the season, he's averaging 17.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Don't expect
the Jayhawks to be able to stop Motum, it's the rest of the team that the
Cougars should be concerned about.
The Jayhawks are 49-3 in their last
52 games against non-conference opponents.
This should be a cakewalk for Kansas
and expect Ben McLemore to only get better. Washington State had trouble against
a low level team like Pepperdine. Things will only get worse as they face a
top 10 team in Kansas. The spread is very low for this game. Kansas will cover
and blowout the Cougars.
Pick: Kansas -12
5 Dimes Sportsbook list the Jayhawks as a clearcut favorite at -1