Q&A: The Jayhawker

Dylan Burkhardt

Jon Brubaker from The Jayhawker agreed to answer a couple questions about this weekend’s game. Here are his answers and my answers will be going up over there later this week.

kansas-picKansas is obviously the Goliath to Michigan’s David. If you were game planning against the Jayhawks, what are two weaknesses you would try to exploit?

This year’s version of the Jayhawks is obviously a very deep, talented, and well-coached team with few weaknesses.  Obviously the first step towards claiming victory over Kansas starts with limiting the ball down low to Cole Aldrich as best as possible.  Bill Self looks to get the big man going early and often to establish dominance in the paint.

Has Kansas faced much zone this year? How have they fared?

KU has faced zone only sparingly this year, and usually broke them very quickly.  Blessed with guards who can penetrate the lane and shoot the 3 efficiently, along with post-players who are deft passers and can hit an outside jump-shot, most teams find man to man is their best defense against this very talented team.

Brady Morningstar returns, what kind of effect will he have for the Jayhawks?

Brady Morningstar’s return is much anticipated, despite the Jayhawk backcourt already being overcrowded.  He will play a fair amount of minutes, however, as he provides 3 key elements while on the court:  defense, 3-point shooting, and ability to feed the post.  Morningstar provides outstanding perimeter defense and leadership on the court.  He is an excellent shooter from range, but perhaps most overlooked is his ability to feed the ball to Aldrich in the paint.  At times this year getting Cole the ball has been an issue, but with Morningstar on the court he should see his fair share of touches against Michigan.


Everyone knows about Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich, who else has been most impressive this year?

By far the most impressive player for KU this season has been super freshman Xavier Henry.  At first committed to play with other super freshman John Wall at Memphis, once Calipari made the move to Kentucky Xavier was released from this commitment and decided to attend KU with his older brother CJ, where both of his parents had played.  Xavier Henry is the team’s leading scorer at 18 points a game, and is fresh off scoring a personal-best 31 points against La Salle.

Any other final thoughts on the game?

Like most KU games this year, I think the game will be close through 10 or 12 minutes of the first half, while each team’s offense tries to answer the other’s defense.  What will eventually break Michigan’s back, as it had for other teams this season, is the play of Xavier Henry.  He possesses one of the smoothest strokes from the outside, and has the talent to take it to the hoop as necessary.  Eventually, through shrewd 3-point shooting and a seemingly endless stream of big bodies downlow (Cole Aldrich, Marcus Morris, Markief Morris, Thomas Robinson) the depth of talent and play-making will be too much for the Wolverine’s to handle.  If Beilein employs his zone most of the game it could get ugly.

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  • Mat

    Turnovers off the zone are our only hope. Manny and DeShawn bringing their A games and the rest of the team shooting lights out from 3 are prerequisites. It could happen…

  • Mith

    I think I agree with the last sentence the most- “If Beilein employs his zone most of the game it could get ugly.” I don’t feel like the 1-3-1 is working. The amount of turnovers it creates aren’t a fair trade for the constant stream of easy baskets.

    Honestly, if Michigan manages to lose by less than 15 I’d be happy. If we’d played as well as I thought we would this year, I’d be optimistic for an upset, but there’s just no way.

  • maxwell’s demon

    I had been feeling foolishly optimistic about this game the past couple days thinking that without any pressure maybe we’d finally get over our mental block. Thanks to this post I am reminded that even uofms best game = ku mediocrity or there abouts.

  • JimC

    This game looks like it might be a lesson on how to shoot 3’s.
    KS as a team has shot 44% from 3 this year, by my math.
    I can only dream about us hitting 44%.

  • JB

    quemos los barcos o quemos las sofas

  • AG2

    Do you think Beilein will throw the kitchen sink at Kansas to keep this close, including Cronin?

  • maxwell’s demon

    I think Beilein is praying that the spirit of Louis Bullock finds its way into Stu by game time.

  • Bluebufoon

    If Peedi comes to play– anythings possible. Would think either Douglass or Novak would have to play a big game also– like Stu did last year at UConn.

  • maxwell’s demon
  • Dave

    as a team they need to be above 40% for 3 pointers and then they will have a good shot………..deshawn, manny, and 1 maybe 2 others need to be in double digits in order to win this one…..plus defense needs to be solid…………..extremely possible, but obviously unlikely seeing how things have played out…….i will say that i have a feeling like some of the big win games last year that michigan may do something fun come saturday

  • JB
  • LLP will be the guy to step up IMO. If he can knock down 4-5 3’s along with either Stu or Zack draining 3-4, Michigan can stick around… provided Manny and Sims are having their A games.

    In my mind Kansas will be able to score whenever they want, Michigan’s O will have to win this game… lofty proposition no doubt.

  • Tom

    I believe that it rests on Peedi. If he can score UM’s chances go way up. Mark my words…If Peedi gets 20 we’re in it at the end. He won’t, but if he did…

  • Paul F.

    Need a big game from Manny, Deshawn and a third scorer. Somebody else will have to step it up.

  • Benjamin

    I feel like, we need more than 3 scorers… just to not get embarrassed. We are a fragile team right now, and getting obliterated could be truly devastating for the teams moral.

    If we can somehow just manage to just play them tough and not give in- that is victory enough.

  • Jeff

    Honestly, I haven’t even dared to dream about them winning this game. Sims and Harris are in the same ballpark as Aldrich and Collins, but their 8th best player is better than our 3rd best player. No shame in that, they are probably the most talented team in the country. All I want is for them to play a good game and show improvement. If they stay within 15 I won’t be unhappy.

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  • JimC

    Mañana probablemente quemos los wolverines.

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