Kansas, now 42nd in defense according to KenPom, tries to rebound from one of the more puzzling losses the team has had in recent memory when they host the Kent State Golden Flashes on Tuesday. On the surface, Kent State is pretty much the exact team you'd draw up for a rebound from last week's debacle, but then again Temple was a pretty decent matchup for the Jayhawks so who knows.
The Flashes rank 277th in twos (not as bad as Kansas though!) and even though they shoot 41.4 percent from three, they don't do anything else well enough to give the Jayhawks pause in this one.
Defensively, Kent State is pretty small. They rank 188th in effective height, and have zero players averaging 20+ minutes per game who are over 6'7". If Perry Ellis and Cliff Alexander can't score against this front line it's time to start talking about real serious effing problems (though we might be there already).
One thing that will be a good test for the Jayhawks' is Kent State's experience. The Flashes rank 14th in that department and will probably play just one (or maybe two) player that isn't a Senior or a Junior. The double headed monster in the backcourt is Kris Brewer and Derek Jackson, who can play together or separately, but both players are relatively low assist but super low turnover players, which will obviously be a problem for Kansas, which ranks 289th in forcing turnovers.
Brewer, Jackson, and Devareaux Manley all shoot over 40 percent from three, but the Flashes go to guy is probably the lone underclassman we will see, 6'7" Jimmy Hall. Hall shoots 48 percent from two, and doesn't take threes, but is a deadly midrange shooter, taking almost 60 percent of his shots there and shooting at a 47.4 percent clip (both numbers via hoop-math). Still, that's best for the Jayhawks, who have struggled with rim protection but will live with a guy trying to shoot over the top of the defense.
Speaking of shooting over the top, Kent State shoots just 28.8 percent of its shots at the rim, so if they pile up the points it will either be due to Kent State getting hot from deep, luck, or because something has gone terribly wrong.
This is another one of those games where Bill Self shows off his mastery at scheduling. Kent State ranks 135th in the RPI, which is low enough to where the Jayhawks should have no problem winning but high enough to where it won't kill the RPI come seeding time. It could mean the difference between a 2 and a 3 seed (and really, a 1 seed is still on the table). Unless the Jayhawks lose of course.
To the predictions! It's a good thing I don't bet on KU hoops because it's been rough. I am just 7-4 against the spread this year. The only line I could find on this one somehow has the Jayhawks favored by 16. That's a pretty big number given what we saw last week but I think Bill Self will have run them enough and gotten them mad enough to where they'll want to run it up a bit, and I think they will play fast enough to make that happen. I'll take Kansas to cover and win 85-67.