Gameday Examination: Kansas travels to deal with No. 18 Tennessee in SEC/Huge 12 Challenge | Athletics

No. 15 Kansas men’s basketball will choose a shorter crack from meeting enjoy to face

No. 15 Kansas men’s basketball will choose a shorter crack from meeting enjoy to face off against No. 18 Tennessee on the road in the SEC/Huge 12 Challenge Saturday. 

The Jayhawks sit at 11-5 (5-4 Big 12) this year, with four wins coming towards rated opponents. Tennessee has dropped two of its past 4 online games and enter Saturday’s matchup with a history of 11-3 (5-3 SEC).  

Kansas Impression Player: Junior ahead David McCormack

Just after the 59-51 earn in excess of TCU Thursday evening, Kansas is now 7-1 when McCormack scores in double figures. In my eyes, McCormack can be the participant to elevate this Kansas staff back again into the Last 4 dialogue — and he will have to participate in properly if Kansas has a likelihood of knocking off Tennessee. 

McCormack has averaged 14.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks about Kansas’ previous 5 video games. He also knocked in his initially career 3-pointer in opposition to TCU to defeat the shot clock and set Kansas up 50-43 with 4:06 left to play. Kansas coach Bill Self later identified as it the “biggest shot in the sport.”

Tennessee Influence Player: Redshirt senior forward John Fulkerson

Fulkerson does a minimal bit of every thing for Tennessee and qualified prospects the crew in factors per match (11.2), rebounds for each game (6.) and free of charge throws made (45). He will likely match up with McCormack at the five spot, supplying up a minor size at 6-foot-9, 215 lbs.

Kansas can acquire gain of this matchup because when Fulkerson struggles, Tennessee struggles. The Volunteers will have to get him going down low to be effective and open up their offense, and McCormack will have to be well balanced defensively to maintain Fulkerson at bay.

Who is favored? 

Kansas is the underdog in this street battle. ESPN has Tennessee at -3. and the about/less than at 130.5. Kenpom favors Tennessee as properly, supplying the Volunteers a acquire likelihood of 57%. 

My Prediction: Kansas 62, Tennessee 57

Record From the Unfold: (-)

Each of these teams are very equivalent and have expert offensive struggles to start off the calendar year. I would be expecting a small-scoring, grind-it-out defensive struggle that will arrive down to the wire — but Self will locate a way to come out on prime. 

It has been way much too extensive considering that redshirt freshman ahead Jalen Wilson and sophomore guard Christian Braun have posted stable quantities. I assume each of them to engage in superior and search to rating the basketball against the Volunteers. 

If Kansas can guard the ball and make Tennessee play lousy offensively, they have a good likelihood of coming out of Knoxville with a resume-setting up get.

Q&A with University of Tennessee Every day Beacon athletics editor Ryan Schumpert

Kansan: You guys have hit a minimal tough patch of late dropping two out of the past four online games. The place do you see this team correct now, and how can they get back on monitor against Kansas?

Schumpert: “There’s even now a large amount of issues about the offense, who can create offense. They have to determine out their offensive identity and just be a lot more reliable on the defensive finish.”

Kansan: How critical is John Fulkerson to this group?

Schumpert: “I believe he’s greatly crucial in two aspects. One, [Tennessee] does not genuinely have a lot of post depth. They have him and Yves Pons at the starting 4 and 5. [The bench bigs] each enjoy, I would guess, beneath 6 minutes per video game in SEC enjoy. When Pons and Fulkerson get in foul issues or perform undesirable, [Tennessee coach Rick] Barnes doesn’t have any one to turn to [in the post].

Second, when [Fulkerson] is taking part in well and he’s equipped to get superior positioning on the block — and they perform by him —  it actually opens issues up for the guards.” 

Kansan: Freshman Jaden Springer is a single of all those playmaking guards, and he was a really touted recruit. What does he bring to the desk? 

Schumpert: “[Springer] is very polished on the offensive close. He’s a strong guard and likes to get to the basket or into that 5-to-10 foot array to pull up for a jumper. On the defensive close, he’s just a reliable defender. He’s a extremely dependable dude and he’s certainly purchased in as a freshman. He’s a truly excellent two-way participant and he’s variety of appropriate now the engine that drives some of Tennessee’s offense.”

Kansan: Tennessee ranks No. 6 nationally in scoring protection. What has led to this and what do you imagine the team’s greatest toughness is defensively?

Schumpert: “They have 1 of the most effective defensive gamers in the country in Yves Pons, who tied the Tennessee history for previous 12 months for most blocked pictures in a period. He can actually guard 2 by means of 5.

In addition to that, they have five athletics guards that they rotate and engage in a good deal. So not only do they have fellas that are obviously fairly good defenders, but they can participate in them significantly less than 30 minutes per activity. That team is ready to go and play seriously difficult and not be gassed.”

There’s no question Kansas will have its palms full to get from Tennessee Saturday. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m.