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UMKC Preview

2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images for SATC

Kansas makes its first of two scheduled excursions to the Sprint Center this year and it is the home team despite being farther away from Kansas City than the team it is playing. Like Milwaukee, UMKC is bad. Also like Milwaukee, UMKC is bad in ways that will specifically benefit Kansas.

The Kangaroos have not defeated a team ranked inside the top 200 in KenPom, and their offense and defense share being the culprit. Offensively, UMKC ranks 250th nationally in effective field goal percentage, 240th in turnover percentage, and 295th in offensive rebounding. They don’t shoot a lot of threes, they shoot them poorly, and they can’t really score inside.

Defensively, UMKC does a good job of limiting opponents’ 3-point attempts and they turn people over, but that’s where their positives end. Call me a cynic, but I think the former are more related to who their opponents have been rather than anything specific to UMKC. Meanwhile, opponents score virtually at will against them inside the arc, and they don’t have a ton of size to combat Kansas’s interior attack.

Players to Watch

Javan White, 6-10 senior forward

White will be the man tasked with stemming the tide of Udoka Azubuike inside. He’s not a very good shot blocker, and he’s also the main guy the Kangaroos lean on offensively, so he’s probably in for a long night.

Rob Whitfield, 6-3 senior guard

Whitfield is shooting 34.6 percent from three this year, and while he’s not their top 3-point shooter in terms of percentage, he has certainly been the team’s most prolific shooter, already attempting more than 50 on the season.

Zion Williams, 6-4 sophomore guard

Yes, you read that name right. Unfortunately, that’s about where the comparisons stop. The name is cool though.

The Pick

After Kansas trying for 30 seconds ruined my cover on Tuesday, I am not making that mistake again. I’ll say Kansas overwhelms UMKC despite some Sprint Center issues and wins 93-62.

Record ATS: 2-6