Game 27: UTEP at No. 13 Kansas – Preview and Prediction

The Jayhawks are riding high after being able to pull off the home upset over No. 3 Baylor five days ago. That game was supposed to be the last regular season game of KU’s schedule. However, Kansas was short one game due to the contest against Tarleton State being cancelled back in non-conference play. That, combined with the fact that KU would have 11 days off between Baylor and the start of the Big 12 Tournament, brings us to a game added just over a week ago. The opponent will be the University of Texas El-Paso Miners.

  • Thursday, March 4th, 2021, 7:00 PM CDT
  • Allen Fieldhouse – Lawrence, Kan. 
  • ESPN+
  • Kansas’ last home non-conference loss was all the way back on December 10th, 2017 to Arizona State by a score of 95-85
  • UTEP is 12-10 on the season and will be riding a four game winning streak entering tonight’s game.
  • The Miners and Jayhawks have played four times in their histories. UTEP leads the series 3-1, but Kansas won the most recent game in 2013, 67-63 in the third place game in the Battle 4 Atlantis
  • With a win, KU would be just one victory away from recording its 32nd consecutive 20 win season.
  • The Jayhawks are up to 13th in the AP Poll, 10th in the NET rankings, and 19th in Kenpom. Kansas is being projected as a 3 or 4 seed in almost all bracket projections.

Miners to Watch

Souley Boum – 6’3”, redshirt junior, guard

Boum is averaging 18.7 points per game on the season. He adds 3.5 rebounds and just under three assists a game as well. Boum isn’t the most efficient player from the field as he shoots just 38% from the field, but is a great three point shooter averaging 40.8% from deep. Boum is a volume shooter, taking 13 shots a game, 6 of which are threes.

Jayhawk Pick to Click

Jalen Wilson – 6’8”, redshirt freshman, forward

Wilson has been on a tear lately, and I expect that to continue against an overmatched opponent. UTEP does have more size than you might think, with a few players at 6′ 8″ or 6′ 9″, but I think Wilson will simply be more skilled than these players. Looks for him to record another double-double and hopefully hit a couple of threes in the process.

Prediction

I think UTEP might keep this close for ten minutes or so. KU might have to refocus after a big win over Baylor. However, I think the Jayhawks will wake up pretty quickly and get a solid enough win in the end. UTEP’s offense isn’t particularly strong. They thrive on defense and keeping Conference USA opponents around the 55-60 range. And while UTEP did pull off an upset in one of its two games against power five opponents this year, taking down Arizona State in Tempe, I don’t think Kansas’ offense can be slowed down that much.

Not a lot to analyze here, I think Wilson and McCormack will have big days. UTEP’s tallest starter is two inches shorter than McCormack, who has tendency to dominate smaller opponents. It’s hard to imagine him not picking up quite a few buckets, and if the team is able to hit an average amount of threes, that should be more than enough to carry them to a comfortable victory.

I want to see Kansas shoot a high percentage from three and actually hit a bunch of their open shots from deep. I think they will, hence why I have them flirting with 80 points.

Kansas 78, UTEP 58
KU -18

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Season Record: 19-7 (15-11 vs. the spread)

Landen Fields

I’m a junior in high school. I’m also homeschooled, which gives me the ability to watch ESPN all day. I love the Jayhawks, and I love to write about them. I’m also a huge fan of Star Wars, Marvel, and action/sci-fi movies. I hope to have a career in sports media one day, and I am grateful for this first step into a larger world.