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Kansas Vs. Missouri And The Matchup At The Four Spot

Who draws Kim English duty for Kansas?
Who draws Kim English duty for Kansas?

Looking ahead to this weekends Border War there are a variety of interesting matchups. One to look at might be the how both sets of guards handle the other sides ability to create dribble penetration. Tyshawn Taylor can get into the lane as well as anyone and Missouri has a few options that provide a very high level of quickness on the perimeter.

Another area to look might be the Missouri zone defense. Coach Haith has effectively utilized a zone on a few occasions this year and it has been suggested that he might go that route against a Kansas team that has had their struggles in that department.

If you had to circle one though, it might be the matchup at the four spot. It's a matchup that could create mismatches on both ends and right now the question on everyone's mind is how is each team going to handle it.

"One of their strengths is playing Kim (English) at the four. They have a lot of strengths, but that is one of their biggest."

"They have made a perimeter guy a four man, and how many uncontested looks has he gotten this year because a big can't get to him? - Bill Self

Without question that has to be one of the chief concerns if you're a Jayhawk fan. On the defensive end you have to defend English with either Robinson or Withey. Do you pull Withey away from the basket and basically eliminate one of your better shot blockers or do you put Robinson on English and risk getting your best player in foul trouble if he can't keep English in front of him?

In past years when Mike Anderson was the coach Kansas was able to give Missouri the perimeter in many cases because the Tigers were fairly miserable in the half court set. Kim English was one of those players that was very athletic but probably didn't benefit offensively from that approach. Now that they actually have a semblance of something in the half court, English is averaging 14+ per game while shooting nearly 50% from the three point line.

Now if you flip the coin here you have the same questions facing Missouri. Yes Kim English has at times done well against players with more size, but Thomas Robinson is a dynamic player and Jeff Withey has a good half foot on him. Who does English defend? Kansas needs to identify that and attack it.

"I don't know exactly what they are going to try to do, but they are going to play small the majority of the time except for when they go big off the bench."

Going big off the bench means Steve Moore and if that happen I think we're talking about a situation on both ends where it is advantage to Kansas.

So what we're asking here is who dictates the game? Does Kansas feed the interior and control the game from that aspect forcing Haith to make an adjustment? Or does Kim English put Kansas in a tough position either through a mismatch or foul trouble and force Kansas to look to a rather thin bench for help?

As much as the Pressey v Taylor matchup brings to the table, this is the one to watch early on in the game to see how both coaches approach a unique situation.