Game 19: Tennessee at No. 3 Kansas – Preview and Prediction

The No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks returns to action on Saturday afternoon after a controversial ending in the win over Kansas State on Tuesday night. In the game’s final second, a scum ensued which involved a handful of Kansas and K-State players, most notably Silvio De Sousa and David McCormack. Because of this, Kansas will be without the services of De Sousa for the next 12 games and without McCormack for the next two. The Jayhawks take a break from Big 12 play this weekend as they welcome in the Tennessee Volunteers, as part of the SEC/Big12 Challenge.  

  • Saturday, January 24, 2019, 3:00 pm CDT
  • Allen Fieldhouse — Lawrence, Kan.
  • ESPN or ESPN App
  • The Kansas-Tennessee contest will be the 300th-consecutive sellout in Allen Fieldhouse, a streak which started Dec. 4, 2001.
  • Saturday’s game will be the site of ESPN College GameDay. It marks the 18th time KU has been a part of a College GameDay during the regular season. KU is 11-6 all-time when it is one of the two teams featured on GameDay.
  • Kansas is 4-2 in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, which began in 2013. The Big 12 is 4-1-1 against the SEC in the Challenge winning in 2013-14, ‘14-15, ‘15-16 and ’18-19. It was tied in ‘16-17, and the SEC claimed the challenge in 2017-18.
  • Through five games in Big 12 play, Kansas (15-3) sits alone in second place at 5-1 in league standings, one game behind Baylor (6-0). West Virginia (4-2) and TCU (4-2) are one game behind Kansas.
  • KU leads the series with Tennessee, 3-1, including a 1-0 record in Lawrence. The first meeting was in Allen Fieldhouse, a KU 92-85 win on Jan. 3, 2009.
  • KU is ranked No. 3 in the NET rankings as of Jan. 22 games. The Jayhawks’ strength of schedule is No. 1 nationally. Kansas is the only school with eight Quadrant 1 wins. KU is 8-3 against Q1. Seton Hall is next with six Q1 wins.
  • KU is 8-1 at home this season, including 7-1 in Allen Fieldhouse. In the Bill Self era, the Jayhawks are 257-14 and have won as many conference regular-season titles (14) than lost games in the venue.
  • Senior center Udoka Azubuike (12.7 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 3.5 bpg in Big 12 play) is one of three DI players averaging a double-double and 3+ blocks in conference games — and the only one in a major conference.

Volunteers to Watch

Jordan Bowden – Senior, Guard, 6’5″
A bench player on last year’s SEC championship squad, Bowden has been asked to do more this season. He’s leading the team in scoring at 12.3 PPG. His three-point shooting has taken a huge step back this season at 26.9 percent, down from 37.8 percent last year.

Santiago Vescovi – Freshman, Guard, 6’2”
Vescovi enrolled in December and played in his first game earlier this month against LSU. He has been an excellent replacement after Tennessee lost its starting point guard to injury in December. In just his first game, he scored 18 points on 6-9 from three-point land. He’s already the Vols best sharp shooter at 43.3 percent from three-point lane. He’s the perfect candidate to be the random guy who comes off the bench and drains a bunch of threes on the Jayhawks.

Prediction

The talk all week has been about the brawl against Kansas State and while it doesn’t shed a good light on the program, look at it from just a basketball prospective. You lose De Sousa for 12 games, but he was averaging just 8 minutes a game. McCormack has been a key contributor this season, but you only lose him for two games – non-conference Tennessee and 0-6 Oklahoma State. Kansas should be fine without them for this game and going forward.

The suspensions will force Bill Self to go with the four guard lineup, something fans have been clamoring for, for a while. The four guard lineup should allow for more scoring and more three-pointers. Christian Braun was phenomenal against Kansas State on Tuesday, a performance that was overshadowed due to the post game activities. Not to mention, Kansas will still have the two best players on the floor with Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike. I don’t see Tennessee being able to guard Azubuike. Give me the Jayhawks and the cover

Kansas 78, Tennessee 61
KU -13

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Season Record: 15-3 (10-8 ATS)

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.