Yes, I said it. Sorry I’m not sorry.
The Kansas Jayhawks have the top seed in the South region for the 2013 NCAA Tournament and KU likely won’t face the toughest of opposition.
Yes, the region includes the Georgetown Hoyas, Florida Gators and Michigan Wolverines. However, the Hoyas can’t run with Florida, the Wolverines don’t do well against hard-nosed, elite defensive teams like the VCU Rams and the Gators don’t have an inside presence to bang with the Jayhawks’ Wooden Award finalist, 7-footer Jeff Withey.
KU may have the former volleyball wunderkin that is Withey and the Big 12 Rookie of the Year in Ben McLemore, but the success of point guard Naadir Tharpe will be key to the success of the Jayhawks. Tharpe has the skill to make pristine passes in the lane, especially in transition. Yet, a young hot shot like McLemore has a tendency to hog touches and Withey is often the backup scoring option.
That’s the thing, though. Tharpe doesn’t need the ball in his hands to create his own offense, he needs it to create for others.
The senior only has five games of at least five assists on the season and Kansas’ tailspin at the end of the regular season may not have happened had Tharpe been more involved in the offense.
Withey and McLemore can provide the scoring punch, but if a savvy floor general like Tharpe can find them once the pressure’s on, they can become that much more lethal.
Mike Gillmeister can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter:@mgillmeiRantCBB. Like his Facebook page here for updates on Big 12/A-10 men’s basketball.