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Kansas Basketball: Keys To Beating Colorado

Kansas travels to Boulder to take on the Colorado Buffaloes in a tough but winnable matchup.

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Colorado is listed as a slight favorite in this one at KenPom, largely because they are at home, but there is one big (though not easy) key to ensure a victory.

Originally the title of this post was going to be cut the head off the snake because that's basically what Spencer Dinwiddie has been this year for the Buffs. He's scoring roughly 15 points per game, and doing so very efficiently. However, there might be some fools gold in there. Dinwiddie is only getting about 40% of his shots up at the rim, and is taking a ridiculous 45.7% of them from three. The problem, of course, is that he's shooting 40.6% from three, so you can't just leave him out there. He also shoots 42% on two point jumpers, so that's no good. In fact, relative to averages, the best bet might be letting him attack the rim, where he's shooting 54%. That's a good percentage, to be sure, but a guy with his size should be closer to 66% or so, and it might be worth it to just let him get in the lane and go up against Joel Embiid, who by the way has been pretty Withey like lately.

What makes Dinwiddie so maddening to guard is that there really isn't a hole in his game offensively. He shoots 40.6% from three, 50% from two, and 87% from the line. Moreover, if you crowd him on the perimeter to take away his jumper, he seemingly takes it as an invitation to get to the line. Dinwiddie is 21st nationally in free throw rate so far, and is obviously knocking down enough of them to where fouling him is a bad idea.

Dinwiddie can certainly score from anywhere, but he appears to be a player who is a lot better at creating his own shot than he is at working while he doesn't have the ball. This is both bad and good news, of course. It isn't great for whomever will be guarding him (Wiggins?) that Dinwiddie can create his own shot effectively. But, if Kansas can force him to give it up, hopefully they can ensure he doesn't get it back.

Some video clips from Colorado's game against Colorado State further illustrates this point. First, we watch Dinwiddie get a free catch on the left elbow, clear the baseline, and then simply drive hard left:

Next, we see Dinwiddie float all the way out to half court for a catch, and then take on three Rams on a simple hard drive with his right to get to the rack.

Dinwiddie shows off his jumper next, but again it was merely him getting the ball and attacking, using a simple ball screen (seriously, way to look alive there #15) vs. there being any sort of offense run for him.

Dinwiddie goes back to attacking the rack. Colorado runs a little handoff play for him, featuring Dinwiddie's man getting a bit lost and a horrible hedge, but it ends with Dinwiddie making a tough scoop through multiple defenders

The last video is him actually getting the ball passed to him. It was a good show by him and he did a good job keeping himself available in a good spot, but I titled this YouTube video "CSU's Defense Sucks" for a reason

The main key for Kansas in this game is to keep Dinwiddie from shooting. He has been a good assist/turnover guy as well, with a 21.3% assist rate and just a 12.9% turnover rate.

Though he had a good game against CSU, the key might be making Askia Booker shoot as much as possible. He's certainly not shy, taking almost a third of the shots when on the floor, but he hasn't been very good at shooting, making under 48% of his twos and under 24% of his threes.

Other than Dinwiddie, Colorado has struggled from three on the year, shooting just 31.5% as a team. Though Colorado is better defensively than offensively, they give up a lot of three pointers, which could be good for Kansas if HCBS decides to play his shooters. They also rely on forcing turnovers, and Kansas doesn't turn the ball over much. One thing they do have is they're a good defensive rebounding team, but with Kansas not being a great offensive rebounding team anyways, I'm not sure how much extra boost the Buffs will get there.

The bottom line is, this is going to be a tough game, but the pressure so to speak is all on the Buffaloes. If Kansas can keep Spencer Dinwiddie from having an awesome game, even if they limit him to just a really good game, then Kansas should pull off the win on the road.