Cal's rough and tough non-conference schedule reaches its climax with a date with the third-ranked Kansas Jayhawks tonight at Haas. It'll be a formidable test to even keep this one competitive--any loss in the single digits would probably be considered a big moral victory (Kansas is an 11.5 point favorite), if you're into those sort of things.
To get ourselves ready, we sat down with Warden11 of Rock Chalk Talk, the Kansas SB Nation blog, to talk Jayhawk hoops. You can check out our answers to their questions about Cal basketball here.
After Saturday, it has to be Josh Selby. In his first game with the Jayhawks, he had 21 points and was 5-8 on 3 pointers. He also got to the basket a couple of times with ease. Marcus Morris was the offensive leader before Saturday and he'll get plenty of chances to score, so he'd be a very close second.
Was the USC game a fluke or did it expose some weaknesses of your team?
Not sure if fluke is the right word, I definitely think we are better than they are and should have won more handily. However, it did highlight some of the weaknesses of the team. Interior post play on defense has been a question mark all season. See the UCLA and Arizona games for other examples of that. Offensively, it wasn't a bad game for the Jayhawks but it wasn't good either. Tyshawn Taylor was awful for the first time this year and outside of Josh Selby, nobody else stepped in to help.
You also had a very close game against UCLA. How did the Bruins manage to hang with Kansas for 40 minutes?
Their post players pushed our bigs underneath the basket on the defensive end and 10 feet away on the offensive end. Marcus and Markieff Morris are both good scorers but do struggle with the traditional post up game. Combine that with below average 3 point shooting and you've got an uphill battle.
Harper Kamp is your leading scorer so far this year but he doesn't seem to be scary, just consistent. Is that an accurate description of him? I noticed he had a great game against Southern Miss but it looks like he was in a bit of a funk for 3 games earlier this year.
Most concerned about would probably be Gary Franklin. I noticed he's not scared to pull the trigger on his shot and those guys always scare me. Looking at his numbers, he might scare you too.
The Morris brothers are both very good shooters, so those aren't bad shots for them. But a lot of KU fans would prefer to see them move toward the basket more consistently on the offensive end. If Thomas Robinson or Jeff Withey do it, it's horrible shot selection.
That's tough to answer because I do think Kansas is as good as anyone in the nation for about 10 minutes of every game. There are times when they go on a run and look unstoppable. After that, who knows what they'll do though. Using 2 previous games against Pac10 schools as an example- Kansas up 15-12 against Arizona and within 3 minutes they're up 27-12. Against USC, Kansas works up to a 27-13 lead with about 6 minutes left in the 1st half.
The real scare is that same problem was present last year. We really don't want another repeat of that.
As I said in the preview I did at Rock Chalk Talk, I'm leaving that to Ken Pomeroy, he predicts a 75-62 win for Kansas. That sounds about right but I'm definitely worried because Cal seems to be a similar team to UCLA.