I had higher aspirations for this post once upon a time, but was then struck with a holy hangover from hell yesterday, thus deactivating 85% of my brain. So what we are left with is my preparation notes for this write-up and an inability to organize them. I'm sure you'll get over it.
How KU will lose:
- Frontcourt depth - KU prefers to play their game through the Morrisi. If opponents can't match up to either of them, then they'll most likely get run out of the gym. However, if you can throw atleast two, preferably three, quality bigs at them, you can neutralize their effectiveness, and give your team a chance.
- Athletic wing play - There's been much debate about whether B.M. Star is a good defender or not. I would describe him as a good defender because of his effort, but not a great defender because of his (lack of) athletic ability. The problem is, when paired with his Whitey-Tighty partner in crime, KU's perimeter defense struggles to handle athletic guards/wings. This could force Elijah Johnson into a bigger role if it becomes a problem. And yes, race played a factor in this particular bullet point.
- Because of the previous two points, I believe Pitt is the toughest matchup for KU this year. Also, I think San Diego St. would pose some problems.
- Adversity - This team hasn't handled adversity very well this year, most notably the K-State game. They panic too soon and press themselves out of the game. There's a very fine line to walk between urgency and panic, and experience is the easiest thing to draw from in that situation. KU doesn't have much of it (Oklahoma St in the Big 12 Tourny, Nebraska at home come to mind - neither quality teams). I think if they are to lose a game it will be because they get down early and press the panic button too soon.
- Biggest fear - We've all been aware of KU's lack of a killer instinct this year. Or atleast I have. It has yet to really nip them in the butt (bud?). They're single favorite thing to do this year was build a 20 point halftime lead and then go into cruise control, never expanding on the lead in the second half. My very biggest fear of this Tournament is blowing a 15 point lead because KU gets bored.
- Most feared team in the Southwest - Purdue
How KU will win:
- Morrisii = Winklevii - The Morrisi need to turn on "I'm 6'9, 250, and there's two of me" mode this NCAA Tournament. Marcus has Final Four Most Outstanding Player potential. He needs to demand the ball for important possessions down the stretch (he failed to against Ok State - which almost cost them). As for Angel Morris, I hope she sports the 21 1/2 jersey throughout the entirety of the Tournament.
- Ty Tay The Tightay - Has obviously become the key to this team. If he is playing well, KU becomes a very difficult team to beat. If he goes into his unstab-lay mode, even slight-lay, or temporari-lay, then KU could be in trouble. People are mistakenly referring to him as the X-factor, but make no mistake, he is the (t)Ay-Factor.
- Tyrelasaurus finds his shot - He shot 6-20 from deep in the Big 12 Tournament. That's not terrible, but it's not good enough. Worse off, he didn't look overly confident in his stroke. However, he did look confident in his "Wacky-waving-inflatable-arm-flailing-tube-drive." If he can shoot 50% from three-land, KU will be sitting pretty.
- X-Factor step up - Since I've ruled out Ty-Tay as a potential X-factor, here are the candidates in order of likelihood: 1. Mario Lil' 2. Josh Selby Do(n't) 3. Eli-Jah Rule Johnson 408. Brock Withey. This is paramount to have, and you won't know when you'll need it, or in what way, but you will need it. Think Sasha Kaun's performance against Davidson in the Elite 8, when he was the best player on the court, which KU wouldn't have won without him.
Up to my clavicles in brackets,