NCAA Tournament Round Of 16: #1 Kansas Vs. #4 Michigan
- CoachingBill Self always has Jayhawks fans rocking and chalking, absolutely annihilating Big 12 competition every year, but success hasn’t come as easy in the tournaments. Despite any criticism, nobody can ever take away his 2008 national title.John Beilein has enjoyed his share of success at West Virginia and now at Michigan, but despite some solid tournament performances, he has yet to steer a team far enough to join the elite coaches.
- OffenseBoth of these teams are dominant offensive squads, and their stats are nearly identical in team total categories. Freshman guard Ben McLemore, normally their best scorer, suffered a woeful 0-9 showing vs. UNC. Kansas will need him to be better.Like Kansas, Michigan scores early and often, and with incredible sophomore Trey Burke on the floor, there’s no shortage of playmaking ability. The Wolverines get the edge, based on better offensive performances in the tourney thus far.
- DefenseJeff Withey is a leviathan on the inside, blocking an astounding 3.9 shots per game in under 31 minutes of work. On the whole, the Jayhawks have been pretty stingy, holding opponents to late-in-the-shot-clock misfires and clogging the lanes.The Wolverines sport an above-average defense, but they rely more on containment than forcing turnovers. They also do an incredible job of avoiding fouls, often never allowing teams to reach the bonus.
- Bench DepthNaadir Tharpe has turned into their ace off the bench, but if Kansas’ tourney run is any indication, Self plans to ride the starters as much as he can beyond Tharpe.Against VCU – a game the Wolverines claimed by a massive 25 points – Beilein played all five starters over 30 minutes. Kansas may not run deep, but Michigan is as shallow as Paris Hilton.
The Wolverines played like an elite team for much of this season, and they’ve looked better in the first two games of the tournament, but Kansas comes in as a slight favorite. -Adam Spunberg, College Basketball Contributor