Well, here we go. Our first real test of the season, although even this one looks to be a should-be win. Sure, it is entirely possible we lose, but I'd be plenty happy to wager that we are the better team, and we will win tonight.
But maybe I'm being too optimistic. Maybe I'm expecting too much from our young players, because no matter how good the relevant returning duo are, we will need at least two-or-three other players to come out and play, at the least, decent. Because, while the Washington Huskies are also riddled with youth, they do possess Jon Brockman, who is an absolute beast. It should be a great barometer on where Cole Aldrich currently stands in his defensive game. And it's really nice that, even if it is in November, he will face at least one All-American-quality big man before he has to match up with Blake Griffin, who is probably the best player in the country.
However, beyond Brockman, the Huskies have very, very little. At least, very, very little experienced talent. Sound familiar? And while there certainly are some similarities between the two teams, and they do possess the better humongous white post guy, there are three key reasons why we will win this game.
- Sherron Collins - It's pretty simple, really. Sherron Collins will be the best perimeter player on the court at all times tonight, and it won't be too close. He seems to be at that magic weight, under 200, if just barely, where he can skeedattle in-and-out of the lane with ease. It's a blast to watch him play, and it should be quite fun to watch him, at times, take over the game.
- Our Young Talent is, well, More Talented - Sure, it may sound snooty and, in all honesty, we can't say for sure right now. That is the whole meaning of the word 'young'. But, by all accounts, our young crop of freshmen figure to be significantly more talented and more ready for primetime action this early on in the season. So, while both teams are riddled with some unproven commodities, ours are better commodities.
- Homecourt Advantage - Yes, I know this isn't Allen Field House. Trust me, if it was, this would have been #1. But while it doesn't have all of those cool banners that freak you out, or the tradition seeping out of the walls, or the goosebump-filled pregame video that makes you want to jump around and scream, especially when that one shot from Mario Chalmers sinks, it will have plenty of Kansas fans. Plenty of 'em. I guess that is sort of the added bonus to playing a November Tournament Classic less than an hour from your home.
So, yeah, tonight should be fun. At the very least, it should be mildly nerve-racking in the first half, likely because of some Jon Brockman-inspired U-Dub run. But it ain't happenin'. We are going to win this game. If you want a more-specific prediction, I'll give you 79-63.
Oh, and I should be here throughout the game, finally, chatting up Jayhawk hoops. Hope you can join in.