Thanks to Andy Mitts of Rock Chalk Talk for taking the time to share some insight on Kansas!
1) How do Kansas fans feel about meeting with a very frisky UConn team in the 2nd round? I imagine this potential matchup was on the radar when the brackets were released?
Honestly, I wasn't too happy, as Connecticut looked to be a bit under-seeded. This matchup was pretty much considered a certainty, given how well the Huskies matched up with Colorado.
2) What are the weaknesses of this Kansas team? Are there any?
It's kind of hard to find weaknesses in a team that has won 15 straight and seemingly cruised their way to the regular season and tournament title in the toughest conference in the nation. The one thing that has been consistent is that this is a second half team. Many times, the Jayhawks have gotten off to a really slow start and had to claw their way back into the game. It's not clear whether they are taking time to adjust to the opponent's defense or just taking a while to get going, but any team looking to beat Kansas has to get out to a fast start.
3) Were there any special circumstances behind the three losses from Jan 12-25 or was it just a rough stretch for the team?
There were a couple factors at work. First is that West Virginia came a week after the draining 3OT game against Oklahoma. Add in a suffocating defense, and the Jayhawks couldn't keep up. They tired quickly and couldn't help but turn it over.
Against Oklahoma State a week later, multiple players were in slumps and couldn't get going. Plus, the Cowboys have traditionally played well against Self teams, even in down years. And Iowa State was able to take advantage of those continued struggles as Landen Lucas and the rest of the non-Perry Ellis frontcourt still hadn't really found their happy place on the court.
4) The Kansas offense and defense are both highly rated, would you say the team or Bill Self emphasizes one side of the ball over the other?
Defense has always been Coach Self's calling card and he is much more likely to yank a player for a defensive lapse than a mistake on offense. Before Lucas developed into a stout defender down low, he routinely lost minutes to the less offensively capable Hunter Mickelson. It's also why players like Check Diallo and Carlton Bragg haven't seen the floor very much this year.
5) What kind of gameplan would you use against this Kansas team?
The game plan still has to be attacking down low and trying to get Lucas and company into foul trouble. Playing around the perimeter is only going to get you into trouble, as Frank Mason, Devonte Graham and Wayne Selden have each taken turns locking down opponents this year.
6) I have to ask, how would you feel if UConn joined the Big 12?
Competitively, it would be nice to have another basketball program that is paired with a football team somewhat on par with our football program. Geographically, I just don't see how it works. There are already complaints about how far outside the footprint West Virginia was, and Connecticut really isn't even a realistic travel partner for the Mountaineers.