Saturday December 21, the Kansas Jayhawks finally return home to Phog Allen Fieldhouse after over a month of playing away from Lawrence, as they prepare to take on the Georgetown Hoyas.
Kansas come into the non-conference contest with a 7-3 overall record. The Jayhawks have suffered losses to Villanova in the Bahamas, as well as Colorado and Florida on the road.
Georgetown comes into Lawrence with a 7-2 record on the season. The Hoyas fell short in the opening game of the season to Oregon as well as a stunning loss to Northeastern.
Freshman Andrew Wiggins is the Jayhawks’ leading scorer, averaging 15.9 points per contest and also adds 5.9 rebounds in 30 minutes played per game. Following closely behind is Sophomore F Perry Ellis who averages 14.1 points per contest and leads the Jayhawks in rebounding, pulling down 6.7 boards per contest.
Kansas shoots an even 50% from the field through their first ten games and averages 68.5% shooting from the free-throw stripe. The Jayhawks struggle, however, in their long range game, only averaging 31% from the arc per game.
Joel Embiid, who has only been playing organized basketball for three years now, is erupting on the scene in Lawrence and is constantly improving his game. Embiid shows a vast similarity to one Akeem Olajuwon and many wonder exactly how high the ceiling could be from the 19 year old Cameroon native. Embiid can do it all, averaging 9.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and 2.4 blocks in just 20 minutes per game.
The Hoyas of Georgetown have a dynamic backcourt in Sophomore G D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, who leads the Hoyas in scoring with 16.9 points per contest, and Senior G Markel Starks who averages 15.7 points per contest.
The Hoyas and Jayhawks are extremely similar in most statistical categories, all the way from points per games to turnovers per game, as well as field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and three-point percentage.
For the Jayhawks, this game is basically like playing themselves with a stronger backcourt in my opinion.
Naadir Tharpe is another key component to a Kansas victory. Tharpe needs to carry over his play from the second half of their win over New Mexico, where he bagged seven assists of his game high nine. He emerged as the leader on the floor of the team and must continue to keep the young guys at bay heading into conference play after the holidays.
Can Wiggins, Embiid, and crew lead the Jayhawks to their second consecutive victory after their 3 of 4 game slide earlier in the season?
Catch the Jayhawks and Hoyas in action tomorrow morning at 11 AM CST on ESPN.