Originally posted on Hack The Bracket, where you can check out previews for the rest of the Sweet 16 games. Neither of these teams have a real defensive weakness, but there's one thing they clearly both do least well defensively: they send their opponents on the free throw line fairly often. Their respective free throw rates allowed (opponents' FTA/opponents FGA) are inflated somewhat due to the number of turnovers they force: Kansas forces turnovers on 24% of opponents' possessions, Southern Illinois does so on 25% of opponents' possessions so there's a practical limit to how many field goal attempts either team allows. Still, Kansas allows their opponents a little more than one free throw attempt for every three field goal attempts while Southern Illinois allows one free throw attempt for every two field goal attempts.
Similarly, neither team's offense appears likely to take advantage of frequent trips to the free throw line. Kansas shoots 66.6% on free throws, Southern Illinois shoots 69.1%. If Matt Shaw is unable to play, Southern Illinois's free throw shooting is unlikely to match their season average. Shaw has made 81.7% of his free throws while taking about 15% of Southern Illinois's free throws on the year.
Even with Shaw, Southern Illinois is far more limited offensively than Kansas. Whereas the Jayhawks feature seven players who score between 19.8 and 30.8 points per 100 possessions, Southern Illinois relies on Jamaal Tatum (30.4 Pts/100), Randal Falker (27.7 Pts/100), Tony Young (23.3 Pts/100), and Shaw (24.6 Pts/100) for almost all their scoring. Bryan Mullins (13.9 Pts/100) is the next most frequent scorer on the team. Tony Boyle provided a significant boost off the bench against Holy Cross (14 points in 21 minutes) but it was massively atypical (Boyle over the rest of the season: 67 points in 375 minutes).
In addition to their greater depth, Kansas does a much better job on the offensive glass (37.9 OR%) than Southern Illinois (31.7 OR%) and in taking care of the ball (19.8 TO% vs. 23% for Southern Illinois). The Jayhawks should put far more pressure on the Salukis' defense than vice-versa. If Kansas can dictate the pace of play (they'd prefer 8-10 more possessions per game than Southern Illinois typically allows), each of their advantages will be magnified.
FIRST 2 GAMES ADJ. EFFICIENCY
- Full Season Prediction ... Kansas 64, Southern Illinois 56
- Last 10 Prediction ... Kansas 69, Southern Illinois 59
- Vs. Good Prediction ... Kansas 65, Southern Illinois 58
- Trendline Prediction ... Kansas 68, Southern Illinois 60
- Best 6 Prediction ... Kansas 67, Southern Illinois 53