A quick preview with key injuries, strengths and weaknesses to date for Kansas and Michigan State
The Kansas Jayhawks take on a Michigan State team in a game that could have been a top 10 matchup, if not for the Spartans trip up in Germany. The matchup is apart of the State Farm Champions Classic, which is played in Atlanta this year and features Duke and Kentucky as the other half of the series. This game features contrasting backcourt vs. frontcourt styles and two struggling offenses in what looks like it could very well be a low scoring affair.
In a game where nothing went right for the Spartans, the backcourt did show signs of strengths in Michigan State's opener against UConn. The bulk of the Spartans scoring came from guards Keith Appling (17 PPG-3-RPG-4 APG), Branden Dawson (15 PPG- 10 RPG), and Gary Harris (11 PPG- 2 RPG).
Weakness: Shooting Accuracy
The Spartans shot just .375% overall and were 19-53 from the floor against the Huskies. Inside scoring wasn't the best for the Spartans either as they were 10-20 in the paint, making just 11 out of 36 jumpers (4-17 from the 3 point line). On the plus side the rebounding presence was there for the Spartans, as the grabbed 43 boards. This was an obvious area of concern with the loss of Draymond Green.
F Landon Lucas (Held out - potential redshirt)
A familiar theme amongst Bill Self's Kansas team's, the frontcourt, to the surprise of no one, has proven to be a strongpoint on this Jayhawk team. PF Perry Ellis made his debut for Kansas as he was 5 for 9 shooting on his way to 15 points while snagging 8 rebounds against Southeast Missouri State. C Jeff Withey elevated his game after two underwhelming exhibition performances with a double-double (17 pts-12 rebounds), Withey also contributed five blocks against the Redhakws.
Weakness: Outside Shooting
The Jayhawks shooting accuracy was just as atrocious, if not worse, than the Spartans as Kansas was 7-39 outside the paint and just 2-21 when shooting beyond the arc.
If the Spartans thought that the Huskies had good a defense, then they could be in for a surprise against the Jayhawks. While neither team is shooting particularly well in their games, the Jayhawks did show particularly well on the defensive end blocking 10 shots and limiting the Redhawks to just .290 shooting. This won't likely be a high scoring game but Kansas has to hope that their defense and frontcourt presence will prove too much for the Spartans to handle. If that happens, Kansas could come away with a solid non conference victory early in the season.