Still hours away from tipoff in St. Louis for KU's Sweet 16 matchup with NC State. As I go Andy Rooney “can these tipoffs get any later??” I guess what I'm really saying is that I wish there was ball all day today.
KU enters the Sweet 16 for the 28th time and Bill Self is in it for the sixth time in nine seasons. The term “house money” has been thrown all over the place this week. But Kansas is a 2 seed and NC Stae is an 11. The outside pressure is clearly on Kansas. They are supposed to win this game. NC State is supposed to be happy to be in the 2nd weekend.
Some final thoughts --
-KU needs to take advantage of their advantage, which is inside play. Kansas players told me Thursday and people who cover the Wolfpack have said they will try to guard Thomas Robinson straight up and not send multiple bodies to him in the post unless they have to. If they try this KU has to make them pay. We've seen the best success against KU being three and four players bottling up Robinson. If they choose to leave him one or two on one, it will be time to get busy.
-KU needs to see some Jeff Withey tonight being a presence. Being the 1-2 with Robinson inside and not just an invisible 15 minutes like he played vs Purdue. Rebounds, blocks, altered shots, then scoring in that order would be a huge benefit.
-Someone other than Elijah Johnson neeeds to make some outside shots. Tyshawn Taylor 1-10 last three games, Travis Releford 1-8, Conner Teahan 3-13. This has been a streaky but not great three point shooting team, but some shots need to go in.
-Make NC State come and get them. No more digging early holes. Giving the Wolfpack an early haymaker may make them just 'glad to be here.'
Two magic numbers for tonight. 59 – KU is 16-0 when holding a team to 59 points or below this season. And 4 – NC State is 10-0 when Scott Wood hits 4 or more three pointers in a game.