Mar 25, 2011, 10:40 AM EDT
Kansas’ road to the Final Four is paved with double-digit seeds. No other top seed has an “easier” road.
That said … provided the Jayhawks are not overlooking 12-seed Richmond, there is a formula to beating Kansas: Pack the paint (to limit the Morris twins’ effectiveness) and force ‘em to shoot 3s. Throw in a quick guard who can create his own shots, and it can be trouble for Bill Self’s team.
So. Quick guard? Able to play zone with some size inside?
That’s Richmond. From C.J. Moore:
Richmond has two of the key ingredients to beat the Hawks: the Spiders have a talented little guard in Kevin Anderson, who averages 16.7 points, and they defend the 3-point shot really well, holding opponents to 30.1 percent from beyond the arc, which ranks 12th nationally.
As well as the Spiders defend the 3, they shoot it even better, making 39.9 percent of their 3-pointers. All five starters shot better than 40 percent from 3 during the conference season. The Spiders scored 33.7 percent of their points from behind the 3-point line and relied heavily on the 3 in their first round upset of Vanderbilt, scoring over half (52.2 percent) of their points from 3-point range.
Of course, that method isn’t a guarantee. Kansas has solved zones and quick guards before. And the Morris twins, even when limited by a zone, are good enough passers that they can adjust and still thrive.
And for those wondering if Kansas still thinks about last year’s stunning loss to Northern Iowa, it’s hard not to. Self doesn’t focus on it, but it’s still painful enough to linger more than a year later.
They think about. A lot.
“Knowing that we can be beat if we don’t come to play,” guard Tyshawn Taylor told the K.C. Star, “that’s definitely going to make us come to play.”
To me, that’s the biggest issue for Kansas right now. Not how it shoots or plays against a zone. If it plays hard and plays to win, it’s headed to Houston. Simple as that.
You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.
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