1. KU Survives New Mexico State
The Kansas Jayhawks defeated the New Mexico State Aggies, 63-60, on Saturday night. KU wasn’t very good for the vast majority of this game. Their offense was stagnant most of the night, once again unable to hit the 30-point mark in the first half. Fortunately, Dedric Lawson is able to takeover games single-handily. Lawson finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds. He continues to dominate the post, and if he can find his three-point range he’ll be nearly unguardable. Even if Lawson is a horrible defender, he makes up for it on the other end.
Marcus Garrett had a good scoring night, going for 10 points while hitting two threes. He was certainly better on offense in this game than he has been in recent contests. If Garrett can find an offensive rhythm, he can be one of the 10 most effective players in America.
Quentin Grimes had yet another weird game. He scored just five points, all in the first five minutes. Grimes never seemed comfortable after that, collecting three fouls and turning it over four times. If I were coach Self, I would tell Grimes to shoot about eight times a game, with at least four of those coming from inside the arc. Self and co. need to do something to get Grimes going, and I think that might be the best bet.
This was not a pretty game by any means, but Kansas was able to come away with the win. Hopefully, the Jayhawks are able to win more comfortably against “cupcakes” in the future, but for now, Villanova is coming to Allen Fieldhouse.
2. Villanova Preview
Kansas will take on the Villanova Wildcats on Saturday, December 15th at 11 a.m. This Villanova team isn’t nearly as talented as the last three Jay Wright-led teams, but they have talent nonetheless. The Wildcats are led by seniors Phil Booth (15.6 ppg) and Eric Paschall (15.0).
Nova is a team who likes to shoot threes and play up-tempo basketball, which is certainly to their favor regarding this matchup. However, their tallest player is 6’9″, so Kansas will have an advantage with Lawson down low. Villanova got off to a really rough start this season, losing to Furman and being blown out by Michigan, but they have won six straight since those losses.
If Kansas can run the Wildcats off the three-point line and effectively attack the paint with Lawson, I think KU should win this game with relative ease. I’d be surprised if Kansas’ three-point defense looked very good in this game though, so I’ll predict a close win for KU: 73-67. I don’t think Nova gets anywhere near 18 threes like they did in March, but they’ll keep the contest close. I think Lawson will prove able to have a huge day down low to cancel out the threes from Villanova and give Kansas the victory.