In KU's last game the Jayhawks stopped the San Jose State Spartan's late game upset rally and won 70-57. Up next the Jayhawks play their 2nd Pac 12 opponent in Oregon State at the Sprint Center tonight. Oregon State comes into the game with a 4-1 record and the 12th best rebounding average in the nation at 44.2. The Beavers rotation features a frontcourt full of scoring and rebounding explosiveness and that group will look to get Oregon State its first win over a ranked opponent since 2011. It will be a tough game as the Jayhawks are 2-0 at the Sprint Center, Kansas' home away from home this season.
When: Friday, November 30th, 8:00 PM ET
Where: Kansas City, Missouri
Watch: ESPN 3
No Injuries To Report
The Oregon State frontcourt is imperative to the Beavers offensive success as the top 4 big men provide 70% of the teams rebounding presence. The Beavers backcourt is led by F Devon Collier (13.8 PPG-7 RPG) and is followed by F-C Joe Burton (11.6 PPG-5.4 RPG), C Angus Brandt (11.3 PPG-8.5 RPG) and F Eric Moreland (8.4 PPG-10.4 RPG). This team is similar to Washington State in the fact that most of their scoring is taken inside, as the Beavers scored 53% of their points in the paint in their last 3 games, though this team isn't dependent on one man and has two other player who averages double digit points.
Weakness: Floor Defense
Oregon State defends well on the perimeter, with 33% opponent field goal percentage, but overall the defense could be better. The Beavers have allowed opponents to shoot 51.7% from inside the arc, a weakness KU can take advantage of as the Jayhawks offense is built to take advantage of this area.
G Elijah Johnson (Probable- Knee)
Jeff Withey may the Jayhawks highest scorer, but besides him it's all backcourt. The Jayhawks next 3 highest scorers are all guards in G Ben McLemore (13.8 PPG-6.2 RPG), G Travis Releford (12 PPG-2.7 APG) and G Elijah Johnson (10.7 PPG-4.2 APG). Besides scoring and assist making, the starting backcourt also contributes 47% of the teams steals and helps Withey's block party effort with and additional 2.2 per contest.
I was tempted to put the frontcourt as a weakness of the Jayhawks, but Withey contributes too much to be stuck with a "weak frontcourt" label, so instead it is logical to say that the forwards are what are keeping the frontcourt back. F Perry Ellis is the highest scoring forward with 6.8 PPG and 4.2 RPG and receives little help from fellow forwards Kevin Young (3.6 PPG-6.6 RPG) and Jamari Traylor (3.2 PPG-2.7 RPG-1.3 BPG). On the bright side the forwards are providing a lot of rebounds and some athleticism defensively.
Player Trending Up: G Travis Releford
Travis Releford has really heated up since getting to a slow start. Before the CBE Classic Releford was averaging 6.3 points and 3.6 redounds and assists, but after the Classic Releford has averaged 17.7 points and 2 rebounds and has made 7 of 12 three point jumpers to round out to 12 PPG, 2.8 RPG and 2.7 APG.
Player Trending Down: F Kevin Young
Kevin Young must be rehabilitating pretty slowly because his producing on the court has been equality as drab. Young has added a rebounding presence of 6.6 to the starting 5 though has averaged 3.6 points and 1 assist to dilute his plus side.
Most of the battles in this game will happen inside as neither team has shown consistent success beyond the arc this season. KU is shooting 30 % and OSU shooting 31%. The Jayhawks should win this game, though it may be closer than some may imagine as KU has had a hard time finishing games recently, letting Saint Louis and San Jose State spark short lived comebacks.