Who: Michigan (5-4) at Kansas (9-0)
With their season falling apart more and more by the day, Michigan heads to Lawrence, Kansas to play the nations top ranked Jayhawks. To any rational person, a blowout appears to be in the cards.
The Jayhawks rely on the three headed monster of Sherron Collins (13 points, 4 assists), Xavier Henry (18 points, 4 rebounds), and Cole Aldrich (12 points, 10 rebounds). They can score the ball inside (54.6% 2pt fg) or out (44.2% 3pt fg), they don’t turn it over, and they crash the glass. Their offense scores 1.24 points per possession, good for 2nd best in the country.
The Jayhawks are no slouch on the defensive side of the ball either, ranking in the top 10 in field goal percentage defense. Opponents shoot a dreadful 38.2% eFG% versus Kansas. They don’t give up the three and are a solid defensive rebounding team.
The Morris twins (Marcus and Markieff) give the Jayhawks some size inside and are solid contributors. Their bench is littered with talent, including Brady Morningstar who will return from his DUI suspension on Saturday.
It’s tough to envision a Michigan win in any situation. Kansas is the best team that Michigan, 5-4, has played to date and Michigan hasn’t looked all that great against mediocre teams, nonetheless great teams. Kansas will certainly be excited because Michigan is a name opponent and it’s one of their biggest games this year.
If I’m Michigan, I would experiment with the 2-3 zone, the 1-3-1 hasn’t worked and despite Kansas being a great three point shooting team. This worked against teams with lots of size (UConn) late last year and might be worth a shot.
Obviously, Michigan will need to make shots to win. They haven’t done it all year and on the road against a team like Kansas doesn’t sound like the most likely time for that to change. A win over Kansas could change Michigan’s season for the best but a loss will continue to slide it along the same trajectory.
I’m debating doing a live blog during the game so let me know if there is any interest.