After an electriifying victory against Duke in Chicago, Kansas heads back to Lawrence for a spell. The Jayhawks will have three straight home games to prepare for a difficult road trip to Colorado and Florida. First up, the Iona Gaels (name for someone who speaks a gaelic language) who hail from the MAAC ans sit at 1-1 after a 76-55 win against Wofford last week. Here are some things to keey your eyes open for Tuesday night.
1. Defensive FG Percentage. Kansas simply has not been very good defensively so far this season. At least, they are not performing up to the standard we are used to seeing out of a Bill Self squad. I am sure Bill would tell you the same thing. Fortunately, this team has the offensive fire power to make up for it. This was on display against Duke, and it is a luxury that Kansas fans haven’t had in Lawrence for a few years now. Every player from 1-12 is a legitimate threat to score the basketball. KU currently ranks eighth in field goal percentage. They also rank sixth in adjusted offensive. Can you imagine if they could add a top five defense to that? I can, and it is scary good. Kansas is currently sitting at 13th in adjusted defense which isn’t good enough. They need to stop giving up >40% from the field and Iona is the perfect team to prove they can get on track defensively. The Gaels ranks 219th in point per contest and 255th in field goal percantage. Not very good. I am looking for a dominating defensive performance.
2. Tharpe bounce back. He didn’t play well against Duke. Too many turnovers to too few assists after posting a 9-0 assists to TO ratio in the final exhibition game. Mason came in and played brilliantly. Kansas should feel lucky to have him, and I think when it is all said and done, he will be one of the fan favorites around these parts. Still, he is young and inexperienced. Tharpe is the leader of the team and needs to be the starting point going forward. There were a lot of rumblings on Twitter that Mason should take the starting job. I don’t see that happening, but he is certainly applying the pressure early. Look for Tharpe to respond.
3. Wiggins in the first half. KU has played two games and twice their star freshman has been relatively quiet in the first half. I look at the way Parker played against Kansas in the first half of the Duke game. He was assertive from the get go. He felt like he was the best player on the floor, and he played like it. Wiggins seems to blend in until Kansas needed him to show up. For Kansas to be really good, he will need to give the kind of effort everyone saw down the stretch in Chicago all night long. I am looking for him to have a more dominating first half in the next game. We doesn’t want this to become a trend and need to hope it is all part of his adjustment process.
The Jayhawks take on Iona at Allen Fieldhouse tonight (November 19th) at 7:00pm CST. The game will be on ESPN3/Time Warner Cable Sports Channel