I am going to try and do something a little different this time around for my Game Preview. I am going to try and analyze position by position and see who has the edge, then make a prediction off of that. The statistical analysis is always handled very well by Phog Blog and those kind of statistics are way overrated in my book anyways.
Baseball is all about statistics for two main reasons. One reason is because they have an 162 game season, a much bigger sample size than say a 16 game NFL season or ~30 game college basketball season. The main reason, though, is because baseball is almost 100% a game of one-on-one battles. It is an individual game, whether you make a play in the field or if you get a hit off a pitcher, it is you doing the play and you win consistently by being more successful in those battles. Basketball and especially football are team games, sure they consist of one-on-one battles but there are zones, blitzes, full court presses and picks in those sports, things that take a TEAM to accomplish. Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking baseball, I'm just saying that much of the statistical analysis regarding basketball and football is overrated with how much it says about a team.
Now that my rant is over, let's take a look at the matcups:
Before we get started with the matcup, a quick little biography of Kal Bay. HE LOVES TO SHOOT THE 3 POINT SHOT!!!! For good reason too, his 3 PT % (37%) is higher than his FG % (35%). He also chucks a lot more threes up there, 96 of his 114 shots were from behind the arc. Russell is a junior, Bay a freshman. Russell has a assist:TO ratio of 2.3, Bay owns a 0.87. That's all I need to say.
Super Mario has struggled as of late but has shown flashes of brilliance occasionally. Silas is another freshman guard that will be a solid player in the future, much like Bay. He is a little furthur developed than Bay is though, already scoring 23 in a game in his short career (at Baylor). Here are his and Super's stats lined up against eachother, you tell me who is a better (statistical) player:
Player #1: 11.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.6 A:TO, 39% FG, 35% 3 PT
Player #2: 11.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.58 A:TO, 47% FG, 37% 3 PT
It is a close call, but I would hav to go with Player #2. The key for guards is the A:TO ratio and #2 has a much better ratio than #1. Super Mario is Player #2, but that was much closer than I thought it would be going in.
This looks like it is an obvious choice on paper but is much closer when you look deeper. Sure, Roby has almost every statistical advantage but there are two key categories that Rush is heavily favored in. My favorite stat, A:TO, is one of them with Rush sporting a .85 compared to Roby's .54. Another largely important one is PPS (points per shot). While this stat usually doesn't matter much to me it does with these two players, as if they switched teams there statistics would likely swap as well. Rush is probably even more talented than Roby, but because he is surrounded with better talent he doens't put up the numbers. Roby seems to always put 30 up on us so don't be surprised if he does it again, although he averages only 1.11 PPS compared to Rush's 1.24.
Wright dominates Williams in just about every statistical category (points, rebounds, assists, A:TO, PPS among other) and this is probably the most lopsided matchup of them all. Granted, Williams is another freshman starter and has plenty of room to grow but it is clear who is the superior player.
Edge: Kansas BY A TON!
Wow, they start people that aren't freshman? I know Roby isn't a frosh but I figured he was an exception, being that he is far and away the best player on the team. This is an interesting matchup, both big guys with hideous stats (notably Kaun's 3.3 rebounds per game and King-Stockton's 1.07 PPS) but are important to their team's success. Their defensive prescense is about the same with both of them averaging 1.3 blocks a game and neither play a whole lot (17.6 minutes for Kaun, 19.3 for King-Stockton). I'm sorry, but this isn't a great matcup statistically and I don't remember a whole lot about K-S from our little tussle in AFH (PAFH if you want to be politically correct).
We have Sherron Collins, Darrell Arthur and Darnell Jackson (who has become my second favorite player after SC, all he does is come in for 15 minutes a game and get EVERY SINGLE LOOSE BALL) compared to their vautned bench of Dominique Coleman and Jermyl Jackson-Wilson (they like the hyphenated last names). Sorry Buffs, but we have to have the edge here based purely on talent even though Coleman has showed some promise (11 points and 1.33 PPS).
I had a post yesterday about why Kansas fans love Ricardo Patton but my computer screwed up and shut down so I lost it. I love Ricardo Patton because of all of the memories of him that reside deep in my heart (or somewhere in there), but he is well overmatched on this one. Sorry buddy, but we got Self on our side.
While we are travelling to Boulder and we have to play in "Mile High conditions" (that has bad memories as a Chiefs fan...SCREW DENVER!!!) we have everything on our side regarding leadership and all that good stuff. I think this is the only game that we can say that, they might be the only team in the Big 12 (them and Texas who is starting 12 year olds) younger than us. That, along with the fact that no one shows up to games at Colorado considering there are probably 4 or 5 parties that are going on at the same time that are much more exciting leads me to give the edge to Kansas.
Final Tally: Kansas 6 Colorado 1 TIE 1
Three Keys to the Game:
1. Get Julian the Ball Early and Often
Like I said over and over in the matchup, Julian has a major mismatch tonight. He should dominate if he plays half as good as he did in Columbia on Saturady, which I think he will. Make it a point of emphasis and even if he starts out missing keep on feeding it to the big guy (hey, we do it to Sasha and Julian's peak of a big game is much higher than Sasha's of 18 and 12).
2. Stop Richard Roby
He is a monster, I know that. We had a lot of trouble with him in Lawrence, but we have had pretty good success on him over his career. Here are his point totals against Kansas: 14,14,15,10,30. That 30 sticks out like a sore thumb, let's keep it that way and keep him under 20 tonight.
3. Don't Assume a Win
The ABSOLUTE LAST THING WE NEED is a loss to a team like Colorado. We can't afford it and while it is silly saying a game that means little is a must win, this game could be just that for the team's confidence. Since that frustrating loss @ Texas Tech and excluding the game against A&M we have ABSOLUTELY DOMINATED each of our opponents. Here are the margins of victory: 26 @ Baylor, 23 vs. Colorado, 20 @ Nebraska, 27 vs. Kansas State and 18 @ Missouri. That is a pretty impressive stretch and we need to keep that going to give us confidence when we go up against some random mid-major that is a #14/#15 seed.
RCT Prediction: Kansas 82 Colorado 68
The game will be somewhat close for much of the second half, with us pulling away with about 10 minutes left in the game.