Preview & Prediction: By Raphielle Johnson
The second semifinal of the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic matches up the defending national champion Kansas Jayhawks (2-0) and the Washington Huskies (2-1). Bill Self’s team may be undefeated, but make no mistake about it: this young team has been tested more in practice than in either victory. The frontcourt, which has one returnee in Cole Aldrich and a number of newcomers, will be tested by one of the nation’s best forwards in Jon Brockman. Sherron Collins is the lone key returnee in the backcourt, but their matchup with the likes of Justin Dentmon and Quincy Pondexter is far more equitable. Brockman currently leads the Huskies in scoring and rebounding, with Dentmon and freshman Isaiah Thomas picking up the slack on the perimeter.
So how did Lorenzo Romar’s team lose to Portland? They went a frigid 3-16 from behind the arc, while in their two wins they took twelve shots from behind the arc in each game. When Brockman is the starting point of their offense the Huskies can hurt you. But if they settle for perimeter shots they’re in trouble. While Kansas isn’t a very good perimeter shooting team themselves (8-31 on the season), they forced UMKC and Florida Gulf Coast into a combined forty-six attempts in those two wins. The thing about the Jayhawks is this: they may lack experience but they make up for that with depth. Nine players average at least twelve minutes per game, and that’s something that won’t change much with the upgrade in opponent.
Another thing that will help Coach Self’s team out is the fact that this game will be played in Kansas City, a mere twenty miles away from Lawrence. If Washington doesn’t rely too much on the outside shot they’ve got a chance to win this “road” game.
WINNER: Kansas MARGIN: 5-9 pts.
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About Raphielle Johnson
College sports has always been a source of excitement for Raphielle Johnson, be it through watching, writing, or taking a shot in the dark and walking onto a college football team just to live the life (Arizona Football, 2001). Raphielle is the assistant editor, providing his own work in addition to helping out with the site operations. When not writing for CHN, you can usually find him in front of a television set watching one of many pay-per-view sports packages that he owns. He can be followed at twitter.com/raphiellej.
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