2008 NCAA Tournament Capsule: Kansas
Big 12 (31-3, 13-3)
Big Wins: 11/25 Arizona (76-72), 12/2 at USC (59-55), 1/14 Oklahoma (85-55)
Bad Losses: 1/30 at Kansas State (75-84), 2/11 at Texas (69-72), 2/23 at Oklahoma State (60-61)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2007, Elite Eight loss to UCLA
Coach: Bill Self (16-9 in 9 NCAA appearances)
Russell Robinson, Senior, Guard, 7.4 ppg, 4.2 apg, 2.0 spg
Mario Chalmers, Junior, Guard, 12.3 ppg, 4.5 apg, 2.4 spg
Brandon Rush, Junior, Guard, 12.9 ppg, 2.1 apg, 4.9 rpg
Darrell Arthur, Sophomore, Forward, 13.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.4 bpg
Darnell Jackson, Senior, Forward, 11.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg
Sherron Collins, Sophomore, Guard, 9.5 ppg, 2.9 apg
Rodrick Stewart, Senior, Guard, 2.9 ppg, 1.5 apg
Sasha Kaun, Senior, Center, 7.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.3 bpg
Cole Aldrich, Freshman, Center, 2.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg
Why They Can Surprise:
The Jayhawks shoot over 10 percent better from the floor than their opponents. That is nice combination of great shooters and great defense. Having four quality post players helps boost that field-goal percentage. Darrell Arthur, Darnell Jackson, Sasha Kaun and Cole Aldrich comprise one of the most formidable frontcourts in the nation. Not only can they all rack up some points in the scoring column, but they will get on the glass as well. Arthur is the biggest offensive threat on the team, averaging 13.0 points per game. Jackson has been a big surprise his senior year, ranking second on the team in scoring and first in rebounding.
However, the most dynamic players on KU are in the backcourt. Brandon Rush averages 12.9 points per game and is dangerous from everywhere on the floor. Mario Chalmers has developed into a solid all-around player, but it is his defense that makes him so important to the Jayhawks. Freshman Sherron Collins is a solid long range shooter and will provide a spark off the bench.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Despite all the scoring options, it is the lack of a go-to-guy that has hindered Kansas. The obvious choice is Brandon Rush, but he has lacked the initiative to use his ability to consistently take over games. Rarely is sharing the ball too much a problem, but the Jayhawks need to know who to look for when the game is on the line. The team has also lacked the killer instinct and has struggled to put teams away when in the lead. Free-throw shooting is not a huge issue, but nobody shoots that great and nobody gets to the line that often.
Who To Watch:
Point guard Russell Robinson makes the team tick on both ends of the court. The 6-1 senior dishes out 4.2 assists per game and only turns the ball over 2.0 times. It is Robinson’s job to get everybody else involved and he does a wonderful job. He has some competition from Chalmers, but Robinson may be the best defender on the team and his defensive play helps KU grab over nine steals per game.
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 82.1 (8th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 61.2 (24, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 50.6 (3, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.0 (4, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.7 (158, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.9 (30, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.0 (132, 5)
Rebound Margin: 8.2 (6, 2)
Assists Per Game: 18.6 (2, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.1 (69, 6)
Joel’s Bracket Says: Elite Eight loss to Georgetown
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