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Kansas Basketball Previews: Maui Semis vs. UCLA

Bit of an abbreviated preview today as it is currently almost 2 AM 

After last night's slugfest of a win against Georgetown the Jayhawks advance to the semis of the Maui Invitational to take on UCLA aka the RPI Killers. 

What they do well: Contrary to popular belief UCLA is not bad at everything. They are 27th best at taking care of the ball, and they never get their shots blocked (4th best) which should be an interesting contrast going up against our helter skelter defense. The Bruins are also great on the defensive glass, limiting opponents to just a 22.6% offensive rebounding rate. With Reeves Nelson, their best defensive rebounder last year, back in the fold the Bruins could have a pretty sizable advantage on the glass tonight, especially if Jeff Withey gets in foul trouble again.

What they do poorly: Pretty much everything else? UCLA is 289th in eFG (41.3%), which doesn't figure to get healthy against Kansas. They're 320th at getting to the line (which I do think will get better given how much we love to foul). But my favorite UCLA tidbit is that they are the worst three point defense in the land, currently allowing teams to shoot 76.9% (!!!!!!!!!!!) against them from beyond the arc. Obviously that is going to come down and when it does the Bruins will look a lot a lot a lot better defensively, but it's still hilarious. Plus they allow opponents to shoot 51.2% from two so it's not like they're the 2008 Jayhawks even if their opponent would have an off night from three. 

Prediction: In a perfect world I'd think this would be a good chance to get healthy offensively and come away with a nice easy win to get ready for the championship game tomorrow. But I have a feeling nothing will come easy for this team this year and so I'm going with a 74-59 win in 68 possessions that is closer than it looks. And then we burn all evidence that it happened much like with the Georgetown game.