The Buckeyes are riding high after a solid win over the Washington Huskies. Next up are the Kangaroos of the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC) in what should be a tune-up game before the Bucks have to travel to take on the Duke Blue Devils in North Carolina. Let’s give the Kangaroos a look.
|School:||University of Missouri Kansas City|
|Location:||Kansas City, Missouri|
|Division:||NCAA Division 1|
|Stadium:||Swinney Recreation Center|
|Head Coach:||Matt Brown|
So you might be wondering why UMKC chose the mascot “Kangaroos”. It’s not like there are too many Kangaroos in Missouri, after all. It turns out the mascot was chosen by the school’s debate team in the 1930s when the Kansas City Zoo adopted a pair of baby Kangaroos. And now you know.
UMKC has split their four games so far this season, defeating Lincoln (99-64), and Norfolk State (63-57), while falling to Albany (62-59) and Seton Hall (75-36). This is a moderate improvement over last season’s start (1-4) by this time of the year for Matt Brown’s squad. They’re hoping to continue to see improvement from last season’s team that finished only 10-21 overall.
|#32||L. Smith Jr.||3||30.333||11.0||48.0||66.7||62.5||5.0||2.0||0.667||0.0||1.667|
There are three players in particular that UMKC is depending upon to carry them this year. The most critical on the team is also one of the youngest. Sophomore guard Estan Tyler (6-1, 175, #11) leads the team in minutes played on the season, and gives every bit he can to help his team. He leads the team in scoring while hitting nearly 20% of his points from the charity stripe, and shooting more than half of his baskets from the two. He has an impressive basketball IQ, feeding his teammates, and finding the highest quality look. He doesn’t often take long range shots, but he certainly takes good ones, going 7/12 (58%) so far this season.
Helping him out this year is Junior forward Kirk Korver (6-7, 225, #44), the do-it-all for you guy who may matchup favorably against DeShaun Thomas. Kirk plays solid defense, rebounds well, shoots free throws at an above 90% clip, and plays both inside and outside basketball. Like Tyler, he also has an excellent long-range shooting percentage at a hair over 47%.
On the inside is Fred Chatmon (6-9, 230, #21), who will primarily be Evan Ravenel’s responsibility. Chatmon is a good rebounder, picking up just shy of 7 boards per game. He’s not a huge scoring threat, and doesn’t shoot particularly well for a frontcourt player. He is, however, a good shot-blocker and should be approached with care by guards on the dribble-drive.
We should get a pretty good look at how the Buckeye’s defense handles a quality inside-outside game as executed by a smaller, faster lineup. Most critically, and it has been an issue for several years, the Bucks need to close out very well on shooters. Opponents find far too many unchallenged three pointers against Ohio State’s man defense, and while the three is a high-risk shot, this UMKC team has a couple picky sharpshooters that could make OSU pay if they’re not on the ball defensively.
I expect the Buckeyes will come into the game and struggle early, most likely while they feel out exactly how much effort they have to offer in order to defeat the Kangaroos. We should see the patented end-of-half run that this team seems to put together on a regular basis that will allow them to take control. Just be warned that it will probably be a little frustrating in the early going if UMKC plays their style of ball well.
The Buckeyes will face the UMKC Kangaroos in Value City Arena on Friday, November 23rd at 6:00 PM EST. You’ll be able to see that game on the BTN proper (none of this internet based BTN.com stuff this time).