The Jayhawks wrap up their Pac10 tour this week against the Golden Bears of California. The Bears are picked to be a middle of the pack team in their conference, behind three teams Kansas has already beat and the two Washington schools. That's not to say this game is going to be a cakewalk. All three games against the teams from out west this year have been far from smooth and the Jayhawks benefited from having two of those at home. This game comes at a time when Kansas seems to be struggling a bit and it is their first true road game of the season.
The Bears are 6-4 on the year with wins over Temple, New Mexico, and Iowa State. Their losses have came against San Diego State (#14 according to KenPom), Boston College (42), Notre Dame (37), and Southern Mississippi (67). The Bears seem to be a very average team on the offensive end and a pretty good team on the defensive end. Their adjusted tempo is a 69.1, which is about average. Their shooting abilities seem to be very Jekyll and Hyde, field goal percentages for their last 7 games: 26.2, 35.4, 53.7, 48.2, 37.5, 50, 38.6. Without much of a surprise, they lost four of those games.
|Cal Offense||KU Defense|
|Off. Reb. %:||27.7||30.3|
As mentioned earlier, they're average on the offensive side of the court. Their efficiency is ranked 140th in the nation. Their offense is very reliant on making shots, in games where they shot the ball well they have averaged over a point per possession. In other games, they are well below a point per possession. That's probably tied to their low offensive rebound percentage, as they're not getting a lot of second chances. They don't get a lot of their points from behind the 3 pt line (23.1%) and get 24% from the free throw line. The Bears are also very balanced with no player using more than 24% of the possessions while he is on the floor. Harper Kamp and Markhuri Sanders-Frison are two guys that scare me going off of recent history. They're 6'8'' and 6'7'' and pretty efficient inside. The same type of guys that have caused problems through the early part of the season.
|KU Offense||Cal Defense|
|Off. Reb. %:||37.7||24.1|
Cal's going to win their games this year with their defense. They do a great job of keeping their opponents off the offensive glass and forcing tough shots. They've got a low block percentage and combined with the high defensive rebounding numbers shows they play it safe on the defensive end, forcing their opponents to shoot over the top of them. That's probably not a good thing for Kansas, as we've seen a tendency to settle for 8-10 foot fadeaways with iffy results.
- Harper Kamp is their leading scorer. The 6'8'' junior is averaging 13.1 ppg and 5.8 rebounds per game. He had a great game against Southern Miss, going 7-7 from the field and 6-6 from the line. He doesn't appear to be an offensive force though and their offense hasn't ran through him this season.
- Jorge Gutierrez is a 6'3'' junior that runs their offense. He averages 12.6 ppg and 3.8 assists per game. Shooting 48% on the 3 point attempts this year but he's not a gunner, outside of 2 of their games he hasn't attempted more than 3 shots behind the arc.
- Markhuri Sanders-Frison is a 6'7'' junior that appears to be a Markieff Morris light. He's playing 25 minutes a game and averages 9.1 ppg and 7.8 rebounds per game.
- Gary Franklin is their gunner. He's averaging a little over 6 three point attempts per game but not getting great results, his offensive rating is only 74.5.
In the end, this game has me worried. Combining some of the performances we've seen in the last couple of weeks and the first true road game of the year, just leaves me with a bad feeling. Of course, that's when the Jayhawks come out and win by 15 points while never looking stressed. So I'll leave the prediction up to Ken Pomeroy, the probability of the Jayhawks winning is at 89% with a predicted score of 75-62.