When Stanford forward Josh Huestis began to study film on Kansas, one thing became pretty clear, pretty fast.
“They are a team that likes to play above the rim,” says Huestis, 6-foot-7 forward who will start for No. 10 seed Stanford against No. 2 Kansas in the round of 32 game on Sunday at the Scottrade Center.
The Jayhawks finished with a season-high 11 dunks in an 80-69 victory over Eastern Kentucky on Friday, but Stanford will pose a lot tougher — and bigger — challenge.
The Cardinal starts two players 6 feet 10 or taller — 6-10 forward Dwight Powell and 6-11 center Stefan Nastic, both natives of Toronto.
With 7-foot center Joel Embiid on the bench, Kansas’ front court of Jamari Traylor, Tarik Black and Perry Ellis will have to find a way to score against a physical front line. The Jayhawks still have forward Landen Lucas to provide size off the bench, but KU coach Bill Self said Saturday that backup forward Justin Wesley will be unavailable after turning his ankle.
Much of the load could fall on Ellis and Black, who is trying to return to his hometown of Memphis, Tenn., for the South Regional semifinals.
“We think he’s been terrific,” Self said of Black. “And he prepares every day the right way we obviously miss (Embiid) with that length, but we haven’t missed what a lot of people thought we would because he played so well.”Not hoping on Wiggins
How good could Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins be if he spent another season in college? Well, Self isn’t exactly spending too much time thinking about it even if he was asked that question on Saturday.
“I think he should definitely come back, there’s no doubt about that,” Self said, smiling.
Self added: “You know, that’s not anything we’re going to hold out hope for at all. What I’d like to see him do is — on the biggest stage that college basketball has to offer, play very, very well to give him confidence and help springboard what his next step is, whatever that is.”Who is Chasson Randle?
Andrew Wiggins and Wayne Selden were Kansas’ representatives at the off-day news conference, which means they sat on a podium and fielded questions from a gallery of reporters. Early in the session, the freshmen were asked about a specific Stanford player, leading scorer Chasson Randle, a shooting guard.
Wiggins and Selden didn’t know him.
“I’m not sure right now. How about you, Wayne?” Wiggins said.
“I am along with you,” Selden said.
The players heads were down, and they appeared to be giggling. Perhaps from embarrassment from not knowing the answer. Later in the session, Selden again was asked about Randle, and he said something about playing team defense.
Kansas coach Bill Self explained the players’ unfamiliarity with individual players.
“We haven’t gone over personnel stuff with our guys yet,” Self said. “That’s not very fair to our guys to ask something that we haven’t passed out scouting reports about.
“I think our guys will be very, very aware of them.”Turning KU over
Turnovers were one of the main discussion points in the Stanford and Kansas locker rooms Saturday.
Stanford’s Anthony Brown said the Cardinal would look to confuse the Jayhawks on offense after they committed 13 first-half turnovers in their opening win over Eastern Kentucky. KU’s Naadir Tharpe was replaced by freshman Conner Frankamp in the lineup after four early turnovers, but Tharpe returned for the second half and didn’t turn it over the rest of the way.
“Anytime we can try to throw different looks at them,” Brown said, “whether it’s the zone or the man or the press. Just try to give them different looks and make them think about stuff and not let them just play and be free and throw lobs and dunks, which they love to do.”
KU’s Perry Ellis said the key to reducing turnovers was mostly internal, not a result of what the opposition is doing.
“I feel like it’s something easy for us to turn around just to slow the game down,” Ellis said. “Our guards just need to slow the game down and good things will happen from there.
“We have to have the ability to focus on the different types of pressures that teams bring.”The Star’s Blair Kerkhoff and Chris Fickett contributed to this report