Something magical happens when I enter the beautiful city of Lawrence, Kan. My heart beats a little faster, my smile widens — I feel powerful. Maybe it’s the time I spent at the University of Kansas? Or the triggered fond memories? Or maybe it’s the Jayhawk spirit welling up inside me? On Friday November 13, it was Kansas basketball.
The college basketball regular season officially tipped off Friday. The Kansas men’s basketball team opened the regular season against Northern Colorado at home. I didn’t need to question whether the team would win, rather I wondered if the team would break 100 points?
It was done. But with Tuesday’s match up against Michigan State ahead, I can’t help but feel anxious. The Kansas men still have some wrinkles to iron out. Any college basketball team early in the season does. So, I’m not saying I’m worried about March (because any that that says that already needs to take a chill pill).
While I sat in the rafters of the Kansas game on Friday, I came up with a few things that I think can help Kansas take control of Tuesday night’s game against Sparty:
Points from the bench: If Brannen Greene can sink 3-pointers like he did Friday against Northern Colorado, I think Bill Self would be grinning the entire game. I’m not going to count on it, though. Carlton Bragg, Jr. and Sviatoslav (Svi) Mykhailiuk played more than 15 minutes from the bench. Bragg and Svi could provide big man assistance from the bench. The Kansas bench scored 46 points Friday night.
Smart defense: From what I’ve read, Michigan State is a good 3-point shooting team. Kansas will have to defend well. In the game on Friday night, Kansas spent a lot of time at the foul line; Northern Colorado had more fouls than rebounds and field goals. This won’t be the case on Tuesday night. Michigan State will be a more competitive match up for Kansas.
Jamari returns to Chicago: In his five years at Kansas, Jamari Traylor has traveled almost everywhere, but none are more important than Chicago. In an interview with the Lawrence Journal World, Traylor said that he enjoys playing in front of a home crowd — especially getting a chance to see his family. Traylor also said that he’s looking forward to facing another ranked opponent (ranked No. 13, Kansas No. 4).
The Kansas men are 2-3 against Michigan State during Bill Self’s time at the school. Most recently, the Jayhawks came out on top beating Sparty 61-56 in the Orlando Classic last season. Kansas looks to improve their 1-3 record at the Champions Classic on Tuesday night. The game will be on ESPN at 9 p.m.