February 6, 2007

Hardwood Analysis: K-State at Kansas

Hardly anyone saw it coming when Kansas State stunned Kansas 59-55 in Lawrence last season, a victory that snapped a 31-game losing streak to the Jayhawks at a most unlikely time. With Bob Huggins coaching the Wildcat program things have changed in the sunflower state, however, and few would be shocked if K-State made it two in a row in Allen Fieldhouse.

Hardwood Analysis: Kansas State (17-6, 6-2) vs. Kansas (19-4, 6-2)
Wednesday, Feb. 7
Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kan.

The dish: The Jayhawks don't have a superstar in their backcourt, but KU does have three undersized yet explosive guards capable of causing K-State real problems. Mario Chalmers, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, doesn't get as much hype as some of his teammates but is what makes the Kansas offense go. He can distribute the ball and score (11.6 points per game), plus he can ignite the fast break with his quick hands on defense. Russell Robinson isn't quite the offensive threat but is solid on both ends of the floor. The player to watch might be Sharron Collins, a well-built 5-foot-11 freshman with the ability to shoot from the outside and use his strength to attack the basket. On the Wildcat side, senior Lance Harris was huge in the first half against Texas, scoring 16 of his 19 points and hitting four 3-pointers. Harris will force KU to respect his shooting ability, as could junior point guard Clent Stewart, an underrated 3-point shooter in his own right. The questions lie in how well K-State can protect the ball against Kansas' guards (Chalmers and Robinson rank second and fifth in the conference and steals and are a big reason why KU ranks second in field-goal percentage defense) and whether or not they can contain the likes of Chalmers and Collins off the dribble. The Wildcats did a fantastic job against Texas' guards on Saturday; it's even more important to do so against the Jayhawks.

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