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Going To Kansas City For Colorado State And Kansas

The Jayhawks make their first trip to Kansas City on the year in what will be their fourth and final neutral site game of the non-conference schedule.

If we're being honest, there's not going to be a thing neutral about the Sprint Center Saturday.  As with Missouri and Kansas State's early season games at this developing basketball hub, Kansas is expected to have a fairly sizable edge in terms of crowd representation.

The meeting on Saturday will be the first ever between the two schools on the basketball court.  Kansas has matched up at one point or another against every member of the current Mountain West with the exception of the Rams.  Obviously that changes Saturday.

The Players

The Rams are led by senior big man Andy Ogide who started his college career at Ole Miss before transferring to Fort Collins for his final three seasons of eligibility.  Ogide checks in at 6'9" 245 pounds and averages 17.5 points per game in addition to his 8 rebounds per contest.  Both are high water marks for the team.  Ogide produces consistently, his numbers aren't the result of a few flash in the pan great nights and to date he has a pair of double double performances to his name.  Stat of the day?  68.2% from the field for Ogide, that's impressive.

Supporting Ogide is another senior and also a forward, Travis Franklin.  Franklin stands 6'7" 215 and like Ogide he provides consistency.  62% from the field on the year while averaging better than 14 per contest.  Franklin also has a knack for making his way to the free throw line where he averages 78%.  He'll rack up points in a hurry if Kansas plays into his hands.

Side story of the day? Dorian Green a former Lawrence High Lion returns to play his hometown team.  Green is joined in the backcourt by fellow sophomore Wes Eikmeier.  The duo combines to average just over 15 a night.

Rounding out the starters, 6'6" senior forward Andre McFarland.  Typically not a huge threat and his minutes might dwindle as the season progresses, but right now CSU is one of those teams that has senior leadership and that's always a big factor when you're a middle tier program looking to make a mark.

The nominee for player that might go off out of nowhere is sixth man Jesse Carr.  Carr is a 6'2" guard averaging about eight points off the bench but has done that through big games on a few select nights.  He's not afraid to shoot, he does a decent job of it and he seems like the type that will need a big game if CSU is going to make this a game.

Beyond that, the Rams do go 10 deep on the bench.  They're led by the two seniors on the interior and from that point on the production is spread out across a the group. Without a doubt this team is one of the best in terms of taking smart shots and getting good looks and that's reflected in their overall field goal percentage which is one of the best in the country.  The matchup will be a good test for the Kansas defense.

Trending Flat?

This team doesn't seem to be riding too much in the way of ups and downs coming in.  They sit 4-2 with losses to Sam Houston State and Colorado but they're playing their game on a night in night out basis.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and that's life, but CSU doesn't appear to be a group experiencing and identity crisis like the UCLA team that Kansas played recently.

The one risk for CSU headed into the game Saturday is that they are coming off of their version of an in state rival battle after playing Colorado.  The Rams lost in overtime on Wednesday in what was a pretty enjoyable game to watch.  The Rams could experience a let down as they turn around and play a tough Kansas team in the Jayhawks backyard just a few days later.  Of course if you're a senior and you play the game of basketball, how do you not get excited about the opportunity to knock off Kansas.

Offensive Averages:

22nd / 2nd
103rd / 6th
290th / 8th
FG Pct
2nd / 1st

Defensive Averages:

281st / 2nd
24th / 6th
20th / 8th
FG Pct
292nd / 1st

Prediction Time

CSU isn't a bad team, but they aren't really good either.  The Mountain West Conference has some teams with the horses to stay with Kansas CSU just might not be one of them.  It's a game where both teams are very good on the offensive end.  Kansas is extremely efficient overall, CSU just takes and makes good shots. 

The difference will come on the defensive end.  For all the complaints about Kansas and the defense, it's still a good defense and against a team like CSU it should give the Jayhawks and edge and a win at the end of the night making for happy fans and business owners in the P&L district.