If I have to be in the office today, I might as well be productive. Therefore... Ball State
KU OFFENSE vs. BALL ST. DEFENSE
KU DEFENSE vs. BALL ST. OFFENSE
Ball State won their first two games of the year, beating Northern Colorado and Prairie View A&M at home. They lost at home to Chattanooga on Tuesday night. Ball State's offensive numbers are inflated and their defensive numbers deflated due to their 39-point blowout of Northern Colorado.
The Cardinals have not shot 50% from the floor in any of their three games, though their solid offensive rebounding and free throw shooting (plus an atypical reluctance to turn the ball over against Northern Colorado) have helped them to achieve offensive mediocrity overall against very marginal competition.
Ball State's defensive success is predicted on forcing turnovers which may keep them in the game for awhile against the Jayhawks.
SO #23 Jalon Perryman comes off the bench but leads Ball State in scoring (31.3 pts/100 possessions) through three games.
Perryman, SO #32 Anthony Newell, JR #2 Micah Rollin, and FR #34 Rashaun McLemore (in limited minutes) all sport offensive rebounding percentages over 10.
JR #5 Steve Horton has shot poorly from the field (25% on two-point attempts, 31.6% on 19 three-point attempts), but enters tonight's game with a 6.9:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
KU OFFENSE vs. FLORIDA DEFENSE
KU DEFENSE vs. FLORIDA OFFENSE
These numbers are through Florida's Tuesday game against Prairie View A&M. The Gators' stats should be slightly less imposing after their game against Western Kentucky tonight in Vegas as Florida has thus far played Samford, Northern Florida, Jacksonville, and Chattanooga at home.
I doubt that will matter as Florida is a terribly difficult matchup for Kansas. As you can see above, Florida will attempt to slow the pace of the game and their adept at forcing turnovers and rebounding on both ends of the court.
The individual matchups along the frontcourt don't favor Kansas at all. Noah and Horford are superior to any combination of Kansas big men. Both are excellent passers (Noah averages 8 assists/100 possessions, Horford 7.1, and both have assist-to-turnover ratios better than 1:1) capable of exploiting Kansas's double teams in the post even if the defensive rotations have improved (and they couldn't be any worse) since the Oral Roberts game. Corey Brewer, himself an excellent passer and efficient scorer, is probably Florida's best defender and should be expected to expose the limitations of Brandon Rush's offensive game.
Kansas's guards will have to outplay their Florida counterparts for the Jayhawks to be competitive. It's not at all a remote possibilit but Green, Humphrey, and Hodge all shoot the ball well from the three-point line and don't turn the ball over. Robinson, Chalmers, and Collins need to force the Florida guards to have to score off the dribble. That may be difficult due to the likely constant double-teaming of Florida's post players. On the other end of the court, Robinson and (especially) Chalmers need to start making some shots while Collins must continue to shoot well.
Thus, to win the game, Kansas will need an excellent team defensive effort in what figures to be a relatively low-scoring game. Plus, the guards will have to score more efficiently than they have thus far, Brandon Rush must not be a complete zero offensively, Julian Wright and Darrell Arthur will have to match the performances of players who are bigger and better than they are, and the Jayhawks can't afford to get into foul trouble such that Rodrick Stewart or Matt Kleinmann enter the game. I'm not optimistic. I am, however, very much looking forward to the game tomorrow night. It will be especially fun coming on the heels of the football team's invasion of Columbia.