Preview: #1 Kansas vs. #16 Austin Peay

Kansas vs. Austin Peay

March 17 , 2016, 4pm

(will begin immediately after first game)

TNT

 

The second game of the 2016 Madness: the University of Kansas (30-4) versus Austin Peay State University (18-17). Everyone was surprised when Austin Peay clinched the 16th seed in the South region, even the Governors. But they managed to win several upset games in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament and secured their spot in the national tournament. Coming up against the powerhouse Jayhawks, Austin Peay has a lot of work to do.

 

Match-Up to Watch

I’m interested to see how Perry Ellis, Landen Lucas, and Hunter Mickelson will handle Austin Peay’s star center Chris Horton. Horton, standing at 6-8, leads the Governors emotionally and statistically, scoring 18.9 ppg, 12 rpg, and about 5 offensive rebounds per game. Horton is pretty small for a center, about the same height as Perry Ellis, but even so he has skills that some of the Kansas big men don’t have. It’ll be interesting to see how Ellis, Lucas, and Mickelson (if he sees the floor) will guard Horton, and how they will get shots up in front of him.

 

X-Factor for Kansas

Kansas’s X-Factor will be their guards. Frank Mason III, Wayne Selden Jr., and Devonte´ Graham are Kansas’s guard dream team, all scoring in double figures every game. They add both to the points on the board and to the pace of the game. With the ability to dribble through trouble and, in turn, avoid excessive turn overs, these three guards will be a tough spot for the Governors to overcome.

 

X-Factor for Austin Peay

Chris Horton. With Kansas’s lack of a true center, Horton is Austin Peay’s real hope for success. If the Governors can feed the ball into Horton in the paint, and Horton is able to convert under the rim, he could force the Jayhawks to adapt in order to keep him from racking up the points off the glass.

 

Key Stat

The key stat in this game is shooting. Kansas shoots 49% from the field and 42% from beyond the arc. Other than leading scorer Horton, the Governor’s next best shooters are guards Josh Robinson and Jared Savage. Robinson is apt at attacking the perimeter and has scored over 25 points in several recent games. Savage is a budding scorer as well, adding to Austin Peay’s stats. There’s only so much those two can do, though, against Kansas’s high scoring guards.

 

Prediction

I’m sure Austin Peay will be able to hold their own against the Jayhawks in some ways, but the Jayhawks are too strong of a powerhouse to overcome in the first round of the tournament. I expect a good game and a valiant fight from the Governors, but a Kansas win in the end.

 

Kansas win

87-64

 

Kelly Werther

University of Kansas, 2019

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