We have already admitted recently to once again picking against Kansas to win the Big 12 in the preseason, but now that we've gotten a few looks at contenders in the conference (Kansas, Baylor, Oklahoma St.), there's no doubt that the Jayhawks are the best of the bunch. And this is still a relatively inexperienced team and could potentially grow and develop into a much more dangerous team as the year goes on.
So what makes Kansas so great? As a team, they Jayhawks are nearly attempting half of their shots at the rim and hitting 64 percent of these contested and uncontested close range shots. It's the slashing of Ben McLemore (72 percent field-goal mark in this range), the size of Jeff Withey (67 percent) and the playmaking of guards Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford to set up these buckets. It's going to be difficult to unseat Kansas when they are getting such good attempts.
But equally as impressive is Kansas' defense in this close range, highlighting Jeff Withey's impact around the rim in blocking and altering shot attempts. The Jayhawks lead the nation defensively in allowing only 42 percent of shots at the rim to go in and are 13th overall in field-goal defense at 35 percent. Withey is averaging a nation-leading 5.6 blocks per game and averaging less than a personal foul per game as well. This allows the Jayhawk guards to be more aggressive in the passing lanes, knowing their last line of defense is the 7-footer and other frontline counterparts with outstanding athleticism as well.