In the aftermath of a brawl that captivated the nation, the Kansas Jayhawks are getting ready to host the Tennessee Volunteers in a Big 12-SEC matchup that has ESPN Gameday coming to town. Before the last game, this looked to be a boring game that wasn’t going to mean much. Now, will suspensions cause any significant problem for the team, and will the coverage talk more about the game or about the brawl?
Take a look at what our staff thinks, and then leave your own prediction in the comments below.
dnoll5: Cool. This is the first time I’ve gotten to predict what will happen in an exhibition game. Why is ESPN coming for this one exactly? The sellout streak? I’m just pumped that a bunch of know-it-alls who always act with valor and with a cool temperament, even when they were 20 year olds in no win situations, will get to talk about a fight. Let’s hope that this coverage leads to a more nuanced discussion of the events. As for the exhibition game to follow, I’ll say KU wins. Kansas 77, Tennessee 70.
Kyle_Davis21: No Lamonte Turner > no David McCormack. Tennessee is 4-3 without Turner and the offense has only surpassed 70 points once in that span. They turn the ball over 20% of the time, don’t shoot it well from 3, and play at a very slow pace. I don’t know how the Vols score enough to win. Kansas 71, Tennessee 60
Fizzle406: The silver lining of the McCormack suspension is Bill will be forced to go to a 4 guard lineup. Kansas 76, Tennessee 67
David: Tennessee plays slow and defends well. Especially with this being the first game after the brawl, I can see KU coming out sluggish and struggling to score at times. Fortunately, even without McCormack available, the Jayhawks are vastly more talented, and Tennessee’s terrible three point shooting makes it unlikely that they’ll go off score a bunch of unexpected points. This will be ugly at times, but ultimately a victory without much stress. Kansas 67, Tennessee 56
Mike.Plank: Well I think David is going to be right about one thing - Saturday will be a relatively stress-free day for Kansas basketball fans. I think the Jayhawks will come out fired up for their suspended teammates and for the way the media has been treating them. College Gameday is in town complete with Seth Greenberg and his terrible-ness. Tennessee should probably just forfeit…. Kansas 80, Tennessee 55.
Andy Mitts: Looking at KenPom, Tennessee is ranked 50th. The closest games overall ranking-wise (when they played)? Stanford (53rd) and Oklahoma (48th). Both of those games were on the road. David McCormack’s contributions in those games? 0 points and 2 rebounds in 11 minutes against Stanford and 4 points and 3 rebounds in 15 minutes against Oklahoma. The takeaway? Kansas won’t miss much production in the next two games. Plus, as others have mentioned, Bill Self will be forced to play his most efficient lineups. Overall, I don’t see how Kansas doesn’t run away with this one. Kansas 74, Tennessee 51.