Andy Katz Profiles Brandon Rush

Andy Katz's nice profile of Brandon Rush leads ESPN.com's college basketball coverage today. Personally, I'd be surprised if Rush was Kansas's best player this year. His perimeter shooting, defending, and defensive rebounding will be crucial but I expect Mario Chalmers, Julian Wright, and (later in the season) Sherron Collins to initiate most of the offense. Behind the Insider wall, Katz suggests that Darrell Arthur will probably start the year behind at least Wright and Kaun in the rotation but figures to take on a bigger role in the second-half of the season.

Also, Bill Self compares the last two NCAA Tournament games Kansas has played.

"Bucknell had two or three guys who could have started for us, they were well coached and it was a scary game."

"But we played to our age against Bradley. We weren't under duress. We didn't play with pressure, since we weren't hunted all year. Last year's team was better equipped to go longer in the tournament, but it still didn't surprise me how it ended. We were so loose at shootaround that day, but by 9 p.m., we went out for warmups and I said, 'Oh, my gosh.' I had a totally different feel."

Ken Pomeroy on Texas' D

It's behind the Insider curtain at ESPN.com, but here's the relevant passage:

Let's be clear: Texas has a great defense. But it also has an obvious, if difficult to exploit, weakness. As long as the Horns allow a lot of 3-point attempts, they will be occasionally susceptible to a hot-shooting opponent that makes their tough D look ineffective. And that makes a potentially outstanding Texas team beatable.

Russell Robinson and Jeff Hawkins will both be integral in getting the ball to Kansas' best perimeter shooters (Rush and Chalmers). Texas may also allow (force?) Robinson and Hawkins to beat them from behind the arc.

ESPN loving on the Jayhawks

Even though ESPN has made pretty much everything pay-per-view in the last year or so, their stuff is still worth checking out from time to time. Today is Jayhawk love day, or perhaps Jayhawk lust day. Sunday will determine whether it was more than just a twinkle in the eye of Disney/ABC/ESPN/Pixar.

First, Pat Forde says that the 'Hawks are on the rise:

Ready to rise: Kansas (9). Record now: 14-6, 5-2. Projected record heading into postseason: 21-8, 12-4. The Jayhawks haven't learned how to close out a close game -- their record in games decided by single digits is a gruesome 0-5 -- but that should change this month, as Bill Self's talented baby birds continue to grow up.

And second, we actually appear to be close to hitting the Power 16. That will be the day.

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