Game 12: Eastern Michigan at No. 5 Kansas – Preview and Prediction

After a disappointing loss to Arizona State last Saturday night, the Kansas Jayhawks get back to action on Saturday afternoon when they host the Eastern Michigan Eagles. The Eagles come in with a 6-6 record and below-average offensive statistics, so this should be nothing more than a tune-up for the Jayhawks before beginning Big 12 play on January 2nd.

AUDIO PREVIEW: LINK (go to 65:15 mark of podcast)

Game Info and Notes:

  • Saturday, December 29th, 2018 at 1:00 PM CDT
  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kan.
  • ESPN+ ($)
  • Kansas and Eastern Michigan are meeting for the first time in men’s basketball. The Jayhawks are 14-1 all-time against current membership of the Mid-American Conference (MAC).
  • Kansas is 85-11 following a loss in the Bill Self era. Since 2013-14, the Jayhawks are 35-3 following a loss. When the game following a loss is in Allen Fieldhouse, KU is 46-3 in the Bill Self era.
  • The Jayhawks are looking to close out the first two months of the season with one or fewer losses for the eighth time in Bill Self’s 16 seasons. KU has entered January undefeated on four occasions, and with just one loss three times.
  • Twenty-eighteen was a historic year for KU basketball, marking the only calendar year in the 120 of its existence that the program won a league title, advanced to a Final Four, touted a consensus First Team All-American, entered the following season as preseason No. 1 and claimed 30 or more victories throughout the course of the year.
  • Dedric Lawson is the only player in the Big 12 to average a double-double with 20.6 ppg and 11.4 rpg. Lawson also leads the Big 12 with eight double-doubles, which is tied for fifth nationally.
About the Eagles

As mentioned before, EMU comes in at 6-6, with four of those victories coming over non D-I opponents. The Eagles are led by Paul Jackson, who leads the team at 12.1 PPG. Kevin McAdoo can come off the bench and light it up from deep, as he’s shooting 48% from beyond the arc this season. EMU is giving up around 71 PPG, which is right around the middle of the pack nationally, but against power five opponents, that figure increases to 78 PPG. There are not too many bright spots to write home about for the Eagles. It should be tough sledding for them on Saturday afternoon.

Eagles to Watch

Paul Jackson – Senior, Guard, 6’2″
Jackson leads the team in scoring at 12.1 PPG, but he takes an awful lot of shots to get there. He’s recorded double-digit shot attempts in every game but two this season. Jackson also leads the team in assists at 4.1 APG. In EMU’s matchup with Duke earlier this season, Jackson posted one of his worst games with 6 points, 2 assists and 7 turnovers.

James Thompson IV – Senior, Forward, 6’10″
Thompson has averaged a double-double in each of his first three seasons in Ypsilanti. This season, his game has kinda taken a step back as he’s posting just 9.8 PPG and 9.4 RPG. He’s coming off a monster 17 pt, 16 reb performance against NAIA Siena Heights. He will be tasked at trying to slow down KU’s post offense, which has been incredibly effective this season.

Prediction

Kansas 86 – Eastern Michigan 59

The Jayhawks should roll in this one. KU is coming off a disappointing loss, so I’m looking forward to see if KU comes out and just crushes EMU’s soul. I want to see some fire and fight from the Jayhawks, especially after last weekend’s loss.

I don’t want to see EMU hanging around in the 2nd half before KU goes on a big run. I want to see the Jayhawks come fast out of the gate and win the game in the 1st half. We haven’t seen much of that this season. This is an opportunity to see if Kansas can pick up some momentum as they head into Big 12 play next week.

Bobby Norell

My name is Bobby Norell. I'm from a small town in northern Indiana. I recently graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Sport Communication. Even though my diploma says I'm a Hoosier, my love for the Jayhawks has never wavered. They'll always come No.1.