Best Way For Kansas State To Beat Kansas' Jeff Withey: Go Right At Him

By Mike Gillmeister
Denny Medley – US Presswire

The Kansas Jayhawks can be beaten, the Michigan State Spartans proved that and both the Texas Longhorns and Temple Owls came close to duplicating that feat.

It’s time for the Kansas State Wildcats to join the club.

In all three of those games, opponents got to the free-throw line at least 20 times. The Jayhawks have stud center Jeff Withey in the middle  and he’s one of the smartest big men in the game. However, even Withey can’t block everything and forward Kevin Young is far from the defensive wizard Withey is.

Yet neither Withey nor Young should be the target of drawing fouls, it’s the Jayhawk guards where the money is.

Elijah Johnson averages nearly three fouls per-game and even super-freshman Ben McLemore averages at least a pair of fouls per-contest, as does Travis Releford.

If the trio of guards get into foul trouble, Kansas will have no choice but to go with Withey on offense, which can hinder just as much as it helps the Jayhawk offense.

When teams get on scoring runs against Kansas, the Jayhawks try and push the tempo in transition but Withey takes  it upon himself to be the outlet passer, which doesn’t always have the best result.

Withey may have the post locked down but he becomes incredibly exposed outside of the paint.

The Wildcats shoot pretty well from the foul line and their top guys at the line: Rodney McGruder, Will Spradling and Angel Rodriguez all shoot at least 72-percent from the charity stripe, with Spradling leading the pack with an 85-percent clip. Spradling and Rodriguez don’t shoot at a high percentage from the field, so getting to the line tonight is imperative to their success and in a rivalry game like this, I’d be shocked if they didn’t show up to play.

Rivalry games make for great story lines. They also make for great upsets, too.

Mike Gillmeister can be reached at, or on Twitter:@mgillmei. Like his Facebook page here for updates on Big 12/A-1o men’s basketball.

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