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Kansas by the numbers

Looking at the stats to better understand the Jayhawks


12.1 - The gap between the eFG% that Kansas shoots on offense (53.2) and what the defense allows (41.1). A big part of this is center Jeff Withey -- he of the blk% of 13.7 (5th nationally) -- who is the ultimate safety for a good Kansas perimeter defense that only gives up 30.2 percent on opponent threes (27th nationally). Kansas is experienced with four senior starters -- the one freshman is Ben McLemore -- and physically imposing, ranking 12th in Kenpom's average height measure.

On the other side of the ball, Kansas shoots over 70 percent of their shot attempts inside the arc (where they shoot 52.6 percent, 27th nationally), draws fouls on over 40 percent of their field goal attempts (65th), and then hits those free throws at a team average of 73 percent. Kansas' offense will get the ball inside a lot in an attempt to score easy baskets and draw fouls.

Michigan's defense is decidedly average at defending the two (47.2 percent allowed compared to a D-I average of 47.5 percent), but phenomenal at keeping opposing teams off the line, giving up free throws of just 22 percent of field goal attempts. MIchigan's defense has at times been victimized by large and talented teams, so this match up could be a problem for the Wolverines.

20.4 - Kansas' turnover percentage, 201st overall in the nation. Kansas doesn't do very well with ball control. The Jayhawks beat North Carolina handily last Sunday despite a turnover rate of 30.6 for the game, a total of 22 for the game. A lot of this happened early as Kansas fell behind because of sloppy offensive play. Of all Kansas' eight contributors, all but one have a turnover rate of greater than 17.

Michigan hasn't been great about forcing a lot of turnovers, but as Michigan showed against VCU, the team can make those turnovers count with transition baskets. The Rams has 11 turnovers, on which Michigan scored 15 points. VCU managed just four points on 12 turnovers.

Michigan won't give the ball up much, and Kansas won't force many turnovers, doing so on just 18 percent of opponent possessions this year. Instead of selling out for steals the Jayhawks concentrate on contesting shots. But Kansas could get sloppy -- something that Michigan will need as the Wolverines aren't great at forcing turnovers -- and that will give Michigan a few of the kinds of transition opportunities it needs to engineer the runs that have been keeping Michigan in games against elite opponents.

140 - Spots in Kenpom's adj tempo rankings that separate Kansas (89th at 67.7) and Michigan (229 at 64.7). Surprisingly when one considers the highlights, Michigan doesn't play a very up tempo game. Part of this is explainable by the difference in each team's conference tempo. The Big Ten is 31st in adj tempo as a conference. The Big 12 is 14th.

Still, Michigan will look to get the ball in transition when it can to attack without the specter of Jeff Withey looming nearby. Given Michigan's skills in transition and the fact that Trey Burke running the break is a comforting thought, and you have a no brainer.

36, 33, 30, 24, 25 (twice) - Ben McLemore's six best career point totals. He's a freshman.

Kansas relies on McLemore for a sizable portion of the team's perimeter offense. He is high usage, but still one of the two most efficient offensive players on the team. His shooting percentages are stellar 55/42/87 and he has one of the lowest turnover rates on the team. The problem is, McLemore is prone to off games. His last four point totals have been 11, 5, 10, and 2, and in February he went for seven each against Okla St. and ISU.

As Ben McLemore goes, so goes the KU offense. The Jayhawks are going to want their best scorer to find a way out of his slump soon, and with him firing on all cylinders, Kansas will be able to put up the kind of offensive effort that will be hard for Michigan to stop.