The Jayhawks are in the Sweet Sixteen for the 3rd year in a row after a great second half of basketball to overtake Roy William's and the North Carolina Tarheels. Kansas heads South to Arlington, TX to take on Michigan in Jerry's World. The last time these two teams met the resulting outcome was an overtime win for the Jayhawks so Michigan could have a little bit of revenge on their minds along with the opportunity to knock off a no. 1. This matchup features two of the nations top backcourt players in Kansas guard Ben McLemore and Michigan point man Trey Burke. At one point this season both Michigan and Kansas held the no. 1 ranking in the nation so this is a big matchup with two very capable teams. The Michigan Wolverine's look to continue the success they've had from three while Kansas looks to get their sometimes struggling offense into gear.
When: Friday, March 29, 7:37 PM ET
Where: Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX
No injuries to report.
Strength: Outside Shooting
Just when Kansas thought they wouldn't have to face another three-point shooting team, they draw Michigan in the Sweet Sixteen. Michigan has had tremendous success at shooting the three ball this season hitting 38% on the year. During the tournament, Michigan has shot 45.5% from outside the paint and 37.5% from the three. The backcourt includes one of the most dangerous three-point shooters on the Michigan roster, G Trey Burke (18.8 PPG-6.7 APG-.387 3P%) who leads the way, with G Tim Hardaway Jr. (14.9 PPG-4.6 RPG-.393 3P%) and G Nik Stauskas (11.3 PPG-3.2 RPG-.434 3P%) closely following. Kansas could get in deep trouble if any of these guards get hot from the perimeter.
Weakness: Interior Defense
Michigan suffers a bit from lack of size, which is why the Wolverines defend the paint so poorly. In the Wolverines' last seven games, Michigan has allowed teams to take 51% of their shots inside the paint where they've hit 53.5%. As usual, Kansas has dominated the paint, taking 57% of their shots inside the paint where they've hit 59.8% in their last seven games, so the Jayhawks should find no problem scoring effectively. Especially C Jeff Withey (13.8 PPG-8.5 PRG-3.9 BPG), who has taken 90% of his shots inside the paint during the tournament.
F Justin Wesley (Finger-Questionable)
Strength: Perimeter Defense
If there is one thing Kansas knows how to do, it is defend, especially outside the paint. In the Jayhawks last seven games, Kansas has allowed teams to take 48% of their shots outside the paint where they've hit just 29%. Of those shots, 69% of them where three-pointers in which they hit only 25.5% of them. If Kansas can keep up their tough outside defense, the Jayhawks should have little problem taming the Wolverines' three-point attack.
Weakness: Scoring Droughts
At the end of the game, the Jayhawks scored 70 points to beat the Tarheels, which isn't that bad of an offensive output. Though, if you watched the entire game, it wasn't a great offensive showing for the Jayhawks. During the first half of that game, Kansas went nearly seven minutes without scoring a single point. Then they had another drought in that half which they hadn't scored in close to five minutes leading to a nine point deficit at the half. This isn't the first time this has occurred for the Jayhawks and it's hard to think that it will be the last in the tournament.
Kansas has had trouble handling teams that have been hot from three in the past (VCU, Missouri, Duke, Iowa State), but they have been holding some of those hot three-point shooting teams at bay as of late. Whether that perimeter defense will hold up or not will be the question as Michigan can be a very dangerous team when they are hot from the three. The resurgence of G Ben McLemore (15.8 PPG-5.3 RPG) will also play a huge role in the Jayhawks' success as he has averaged just 6.5 points in the tournament so far. If Kansas can score in the paint, which they always do, they should be fine so long as they can weather a barrage of three-pointers. Kansas has overcome a school record 17 three's this year, so they can probably handle Michigan.