The NCAA Tournament is the greatest single elimination tournament ever invented. That is a fact–kind of. When the big dance reaches the Sweet 16 portion of its glorious event, it becomes an even more amazing battle of programs looking to take the next step. It is where teams such as the Kansas Jayhawks will ride the horse who got them there until the point of the horse’s collapse.
Many feel whatever success Kansas will have against the Michigan Wolverines will be because of Ben McLemore. While they are not completely wrong, McLemore’s inconsistency has proven to be the only consistent part of his game. If the Jayhawks were to use him as their primary option of offense it could prove futile, as the worse version of McLemore is likely to show up as the one who is a potential top five draft pick.
McLemore is clearly Kansas’ most talented player, but he isn’t their most consistent. This is why the Jayhawks will need to turn to Jeff Withey. Yes, the Withey that never gets talked about despite his ability to deter more shots than a child at the doctor’s office.
Withey does everything you could ask for from a big man playing at this level. He scores over 13 points, grabs over eight boards and sends away nearly four blocks per game. These are only the stats for the center, it is not even mentioning being a fifth-year senior and bringing all kinds of leadership to the team.
Whichever direction this game goes all of the highlights will be focusing on the guard play. Considering they are more exciting, and feature all of the “name” stars–it would make sense to package them as such. For Kansas, however, it might come down to how they utilize their center.
Now, if only he and McLemore can have a great game at the same time–that would be the maddest part of this March.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone