The Jayhawks take the court tonight (finally) in their first preseason tune up game of the season against Washburn. It’s not a real game, but it’s still the first opportunity to see the team in action against an opponent that isn’t them.
The Ichabods (we should have played them on Halloween) were picked 2nd in the MIAA preseason poll this year. They return all five starters from last year’s team, including the reigning freshman and defensive player of the year in the league.
Players to Watch
Blake averaged 13.4 points per game last year to lead the team in scoring, and was also the MIAA freshman of the year. He was also all-MIAA honorable mention.
Skeens is probably Washburn’s best player. He averaged a double double, with 10.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game last year. He also added 61 blocks and shot 66 percent from the field.
The incoming freshman was Kansas’s 4A-I player of the year last year, averaging 23.1 points per game for McPherson.
He was Kansas’s 4A-II player of the year last year, averaging 30.9 ppg for Concordia.
What I am Watching For
- The big man rotation: Will one of Mitch Lightfoot, Udoka Azubuike, or Dwight Coleby take the reins as the first big man off the bench? Right now it looks like Coleby is the favorite to get the most bench minutes, but Self will no doubt play the other two a lot.
- The wing rotation: Will Vick or Svi be the first guy off the bench? Right now it looks like Svi due to his experience, but with Vick’s upside and athleticism, Self will be forced to use him more and more this year.
- Has Bragg made the leap?: He took a lot of shots during his brief stints on the court last year, and made a lot of them. If that continues, Kansas should have one of its best high-low tandems in recent memory. The issue with Bragg will be if he can better recognize what to do in pick and roll defense, and whether or not his increased strength keeps him from getting pushed around down low.
These games are usually tough to peg exactly. Kansas should win by a lot, but how much depends on how much playing time the veterans get and whether or not they focus on trying to run the offense even if it doesn’t work for a few possessions. I’ll take the Jayhawks 93-61, but that’s admittedly a pure guess.