#11 NC State vs. #2 Kansas
Friday March 23, 10:17pm – St. Louis, MO
TBS – Marv Albert, Steve Kerr
All time series record – Kansas leads 10-1
The Pack meets the Kansas Jayhawks this Friday night at 10:17pm. The winner advances to meet the winner of North Carolina/Ohio U. in the Midwest Regional Final on Sunday. The Jayhawks’ path to St. Louis includes wins over Detroit (65-50) and Purdue (63-60).
The Jayhawks are anchored by Player of the Year candidate, Thomas Robinson (#0, Jr, F). The 6’10”, 237lb Robinson is a force inside, scoring 17.7ppg and pulling down 11.8rpg. He had a slow night scoring, yet still posted a double-double in the round of 32 against Purdue (11pts, 13rebs).
Jeff Withey (#5, Jr, C) is a 7 footer who scores and rebounds well (9.1ppg, 6.2rpg). When he’s in the game he forces teams to alter their inside game just due to his defensive presence around the paint. He averages 3.3 blocks per game. In very limited duty against Purdue he scored 4pts, pulled down 2 rebs, and blocked 2 shots.
Kevin Young (#40, Jr, F) usually plays 10-15 mins per game, averaging 3.6ppg and 2.8rpg. Against Purdue he pulled down 7 rebounds (5 offensive) in only 13 minutes of playing time.
The backcourt duo of Tyshawn Taylor (#10, Sr, G) and Elijah Johnson (#15, Jr, G) complement one another very well. Taylor is a smooth scorer (16.9ppg) who is always a legitimate big time threat from anywhere on the floor (49.2%), including 3pt. Land (41.6%). He dishes out 4.7apg, but is also more likely to turn the ball over. Johnson dishes out 3.7apg and pulls in 3.1rpg, while also averaging in double figures for scoring (10ppg, 42.6%). He is not as big a 3pt threat as Taylor (33.3%), but he’s not a guy to be left alone either.
Travis Releford (#24, Jr, G) averages 8.4ppg, 4.3rpg and 1.9apg. Connor Teahan (#2, Sr, G) adds 5.9ppg.
Kansas likes to attack offensively both inside and outside. Spreading to Robinson down low, or to Taylor on the perimeter, allows either player to create. When Kansas’ offense is flowing, both players are very involved. Elijah Johnson is as vital to making the Jayhawks offense go as anyone. He isn’t as flashy as Taylor, but he takes much better care of the ball. Generally he isn’t the offensive centerpiece, but he stepped up big against Purdue, scoring 18 points. In KU’s two NCAA tournament games, Johnson has 33pts, 8rebs, 5assts and 3 steals.
The Wolfpack’s chances for advancing will hinge on the ability to play defense without fouling. Howell must slow Robinson down and keep him off the glass, keeping his second looks limited. CJ Williams will have to find a way to slow down Tyshawn Taylor from the outside, while also trying to deny him the ball on cuts near the basket. Lorenzo Brown will need to keep a defensive eye on Elijah Johnson, not conceding anything easy to him.
The Jayhawks like to play a three guard lineup, but that does not mean they are small on the defensive end. Their guards go 6’3” (Taylor), 6’4” (Johnson) and 6’6”x2 (Releford and Teahan). They are also big on the inside anytime Robinson is in the game (6’10”), but they can go very big by inserting Withey (7’0”). As a team, their quickness is below average.
KU’s perimeter defense is often suspect. Scott Wood, Alex Johnson and CJ Williams need to test it early and often. When Painter comes in he must get good mid-range looks and knock them down as he did against Georgetown. Lorenzo Brown must continue to draw the defense to himself, creating for himself or dishing to teammates when he’s doubled.
The Jayhawks are no deeper than we are. Fouls could be key. I think it would behoove us to try and take it at Robinson and see if we can’t get a couple quick whistles on him. If not, both Howell and Leslie are going to need to understand their limits around the basket. Before the day is over, we may need Thomas DeThaey’s fouls.
Rebounding and limiting KU’s second chance buckets is going to be extremely important. We need to clean up their misses and utilize our better speed and get out and get some easy transition buckets.
The Pack will spread it around. KU will make things difficult at times, but when all is said and done the Jayhawks will be unable to cover all of the Pack’s threats and the Wolfpack will find a way to advance.
78-75 in OT, Wolfpack advances.
Quick and irrelevant facts
-In 1986, after losing to Kansas in the elite eight, Jim Valvano gave his own take on the Jayhawk chant, “Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk.” During a late timeout, Valvano explained, he knew we were in trouble when he heard Chris Washburn ask what the chant meant. He knew we were REALLY in trouble when Charles Shackleford began explaining it to him.
-KU was founded on February 20, 1863. It has a total enrollment of approximately 30K.
-Jayhawk is short for “Jayhawker”, which has a historical origination. While the actual origin is unclear, it was used to describe bands of militant thugs pre-civil war, especially near the Missouri/Kansas border. Exciting, huh? How the red-headed chicken with the fabulous shoes came from that, I do not know.
-Notable alumni include former US Senate Majority Leader, Bob Dole; the velvet voice, Bill Kurtis of A&E fame; comic actor extraordinaire, Paul Rudd; and Mr. 20K himself, Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain.