After a big-time, beat-down 73-48 win over Ole Miss on Tuesday that featured the best half of basketball the Vols have played all season, we now face the best team Tennessee will see all season (redundant, my apologies). I want to give you a look at our next opponent, the nation’s number three team and a snippet of their program, what we learned from the Vols in Tuesday’s win, as well as how I think this Big12-SEC challenge matchup will pan out. So without further ado, let’s dive in.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The First Rule of Fight Club…

  • School: University of Kansas
  • Location: Lawrence, Kansas
  • Mascot: Jayhawks
  • Conference: Big 12
  • Coach: Bill Self (17th season)
  • 2019-2020 Record: 15-3 (5-1 Big12)
  • Notable Former Basketball Player: Wilt Chamberlain- While at Kansas, “The Stilt” was a 2x All-American, NCAA Tournament MOP, as well as put together a career that ended up with his number 13 put in the rafters. He also had a pretty successful professional career with the Harlem Globetrotters, as well as the NBA franchises that are today’s Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, and Los Angeles Lakers. He was a 13x NBA All-Star, 4x NBA MVP, and 2x NBA Champion. Oh yeah, he also once dropped 100 in a game. He averaged 30.1 points per game over his career, and is enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

    Credit: Wikipedia

KU v. K-State = Smackdown v. Raw

Credit: search #SilvioDeSousa Instagram

I truly thought Silvio DeSousa was going to commit manslaughter, but was thankfully wrong. For the second time this season, Kansas got their trou in a wad when they weren’t allowed to dribble out the clock, and this time it about got real ugly. I’m not here to analyze the brawl though; my concern is that on Saturday, the Jayhawks will be without Silvio DeSousa and David McCormack when they host the Vols. They together average the following stat line: 10.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 0.8 assists and 0.9 steals. I say that to make it very clear that Kansas is not going to miss these players. They may even be better without them, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

Credit: @ddotson_1 Instagram

The two big studs for the Jayhawks are sophomore guard Devon Dotson and senior center Udoka Azubuike. First, let’s look at Dotson. The Jayhawks’ leading scorer (18.2 ppg), Dotson is an explosive athlete and has no hesitation when attacking the basket. He is also pretty unselfish, dishing out 4.2 assists per night. Where Dotson struggles though is shooting the ball outside of 12-15 feet. To slow Dotson down, and therefore cause the Jayhawks major issues, you have to prevent Dotson from scoring while attacking the basket. Furthermore, you can’t allow him to get into and-one opportunities, as he is a +80% shooter from the stripe.

Credit: @udoka_azubuike Instagram

Azubuike is the Jayhawk that will cause the Vols the most trouble. Again, I am happy with the play out of our frontcourt this season. They haven’t yet seen someone with the height and frame of Kansas’ Senior Center, though. Udoka plays nearly 75% of games, on average, and leads the nation in FG% at 77.7%. He plays a clean game (only fouled out one time this season) and averages 12.9 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Like Dotson though, Azubuike has a kryptonite; free throw shooting, as he is only hitting 40.5% of his attempts. If things get close, don’t be at all surprised to see Bill Self sit Azubuike to prevent a “hack-a-Udoka” attempt by Tennessee, and instead play some small ball against an already undersized opponent.

What We Learned from Ole Miss

Credit: @josiah.j.james Instagram

My biggest takeaway from our thrumming of the Rebels was that Josiah-Jordan James needs to be this team’s primary ball handler. He is becoming more aggressive, gaining confidence and would serve as a matchup nightmare for most Point Guards in the SEC. I think Rick Barnes can see this, as well, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see more of JJJ initiating our offense. James’ handling and ability to size up his defender is in stark contrast to Vescovi’s Point Guard make up, and I think will make for a more potent offensive attack should he continue his confident play.

I also liked the continued resurgence of Jordan Bowden. My big question, though, is will he attack as aggressively as he did against Vandy and Ole Miss against a Kansas squad that is much more challenging. This will be a good game to measure where Bowden is right now.

Finally, Olivier Nkamhoua showed me that while it does look like he is going to trip over his own feet 80% of the time, he is slowly becoming a solid Power Forward for the Vols. He is still a little slow and unpolished, but has shown great strides since conference season began.

Credit: @olivier.r.n Instagram

Final Prediction

I think the Vols have made some big strides and gotten some solid wins in the past couple of weeks. I also believe that the main stars for Kansas (Azubuike and Dotson) have weaknesses we can exploit.
The problem is that Kansas has a roster that is loaded with talent. They have a number of other players who can come out and tally double digit scoring nights should we slow those two down. Also, this game is being played in the Phog, one of the few places in any sport that I believe offers a true home-field/court advantage.
While I think our guards may have some success early on keeping Dotson on the perimeter, I don’t think we can hold that all game. I also don’t think our frontcourt will have any answer for Azubuike. Even if they do, the rest of the Jayhawks’ talented roster will still be able to generate points. All of that being said, I think Kansas beats the Vols handedly; Vols 48- KU 74.
Credit: @jordybow3 Instagram

Outro

Credit: @john_fulkerson Instagram

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. While a win against the Jayhawks could do wonders for NCAA Tournament hopes/resume (as well as street-cred), I just don’t see this one shaking out in the Vols favor, but I sincerely hope I am wrong. If we were to win, I will likely jump off my couch and scream much like I did a few years ago when a slight framed kid from Rutledge hit a pretty dagger three against Kansas.

For minute to minute news concerning all aspects of all Volunteer sports, be sure to check out MoreImportantIssues on Twitter (@More_Issues), as well as listening to the podcast on any of the various podcast platforms! Trust me, Landon and Caleb won’t let you down If you’re looking for quality Big Orange talk with a laid-back attitude. Until we meet again, this is Dakota Robertson saying see ya later and Go Vols!

Credit: @More_Issues Twitter

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Author Details
Content Creator at Armchair Tennessee , The Armchair All-Americans, LLC
My name is Dakota Robertson, and I cover the Tennessee Volunteers. I am a fourth-year medical student, and a lifelong East Tennessee resident. I have a wonderful wife (Lauren), beautiful daughter (Everly), and the best dog in the known universe (James Taylor). I have been a U.T. fan since the beginning, and still get chills when I hear John Ward. I believe Pat Summitt’s stare could have ended or prevented several wars and conflicts, and that Fulmer is the greatest coach in the history of football. I mostly concern myself with football, basketball, and baseball, but will become the biggest fan of any sport for a few hours if the Big Orange is involved. I hope you enjoy what content I put out, and be sure to tip your waiter/waitress. Excited to have you come #TakeASeat with me! Go Vols!
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Content Creator at Armchair Tennessee , The Armchair All-Americans, LLC
My name is Dakota Robertson, and I cover the Tennessee Volunteers. I am a fourth-year medical student, and a lifelong East Tennessee resident. I have a wonderful wife (Lauren), beautiful daughter (Everly), and the best dog in the known universe (James Taylor). I have been a U.T. fan since the beginning, and still get chills when I hear John Ward. I believe Pat Summitt’s stare could have ended or prevented several wars and conflicts, and that Fulmer is the greatest coach in the history of football. I mostly concern myself with football, basketball, and baseball, but will become the biggest fan of any sport for a few hours if the Big Orange is involved. I hope you enjoy what content I put out, and be sure to tip your waiter/waitress. Excited to have you come #TakeASeat with me! Go Vols!

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