A big thank you to Steve Fetch at Rock Chalk Talk for taking the time to answer a few questions about the OSU-Kansas game this weekend. You can check out our responses to his questions here.
Many people questioned why Bill Self and KU set up such a brutal non conference schedule with a young team. Do you think the losses they suffered in non-conference play was worth helping the team prepare for the rest of the season and postseason play?
I think yes and no. Playing a month away from Allen Fieldhouse hurt them and kinda ruined their confidence a bit. It also seemed like playing became a bit of a chore for them rather than something fun. The good thing about their losses is that it was mostly due to stuff they were responsible for and stuff that they have the ability to fix. They were also close losses against good teams. I'm not sure whether it will help them or not come March, but we do know they'll have experience in close games so it won't be new to them.
Obviously Wiggins was the early candidate for Freshman (and Player) of the Year coming into this season, but Embiid has been extremely impressive the last few games. Who has the bigger upside in your opinion?
As far as long term goes I think it's Embiid. He's only been playing for a couple years and while he's still raw, he's amazingly athletic. He has a really high basketball IQ as well and is adding new post moves seemingly every day. He has added some interior defense lately too, as evidence by his work on Georges Niang on Monday.
Outside of the freshmen, who has been the biggest contributor to Kansas' success this season?
He's struggled a bit lately, but it's still Perry Ellis. He's taking the second most shots on the team, and he's shooting the second highest percentage. He is such a tough matchup because he can hit a 15 footer pretty regularly, but he can drive by guys as well. He's also really good at getting position down low.
Has there been much talk of this game having a revenge type feel for KU fans considering what happened last season in Fog?
Not really I don't think. I'm sure Bill Self has shown clips and has mentioned it roughly 50 million times, but I get the sense that the more rational fans aren't worried about the backflip or anything. 18 year old kids have done a lot worse. As for the loss itself, obviously anytime Kansas loses at home it's a weird situation and it prompts some sort of revenge factor, but I think bigger than revenge is the chance to go up 2 games on both Oklahoma State and Iowa State
OK, prediction time! How do you see this game going?
Ah damn I hate predictions. I worry about KU's perimeter defense other than Wiggins, and I wonder where Kansas goes offensively if they aren't hitting the perimeter shots. On the other hand, Kansas is going to get to hide Tharpe or Mason or Frankamp on Forte defensively, and if Embiid stays out of foul trouble the interior defense should be good enough. I'm going to take Kansas just because I don't want to sandbag, but I really think both of the KU-OSU games are about as close to 50/50 as possible.