There are 32 games on Thursday and Friday, one of the most exciting 48-hour segments on the sports calendar.
We won’t be able to get individual previews up for every game, but we’ll cherry pick some of the more compelling matchups during the tournament’s “second” round.
In this post, we preview the Midwest Region’s 2-15 matchup between the 2nd-seeded Kansas Jayhawks and an intriguing bunch of Titans from Detroit.
Kansas-Detroit Kentucky Game Info
- Seeds & Region: #2 Kansas v #15 Detroit in Midwest Region
- Kansas-Detroit Date: Friday, 3/16
- Kansas-Detroit Tip Time: 9:52 ET
- Kansas-Detroit Location: Omaha
- Kansas-Detroit TV: truTV
- Kansas-Detroit Announcers: Marv Albert, Steve Kerr, and Craig Sager
- Kansas-Detroit Point Spread: Kansas -15
- Tickets: Kansas-Detroit Tickets
- Tickets: All Omaha Sessions
- Tickets: Midwest Regional Tickets in Boston
Kansas-Detroit Analysis and Prediction
Admittedly, Detroit has more high-level talent than many 15 seeds, but they simply don’t shoot the ball well enough to score against a stingy Kansas defense.
This game features a couple terrific shot-blockers in Eli Holman and Jeff Withey, and the backcourt matchup of Ray McCallum Jr. and Tyshawn Taylor should be a good one as well.
In the end, Thomas Robinson and the Jayhawks will be too much for the Titans to handle, but this one could be too close for comfort for some KU fans.
Predicted Winner: Kansas
Kansas Jayhawks Team Capsule
- Conference: Big 12
- Record: 27-6 (16-2 conf)
- Last 10 Games: 9-1
- Record vs. Tournament Teams: 12-6
- Wins vs. Tournament Teams: Baylor (2), Georgetown, Iowa State, Kansas State (2), Long Beach State, Missouri, Ohio State, South Florida, Texas (2)
- Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Baylor, Davidson, Duke, Iowa State, Kentucky, Missouri
- Player to Watch: Thomas Robinson (6’9” F, Jr.) – 17.9 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 1.1 spg, 1.0 bpg, 53.1 FG%
Kansas Bottoms Line:
Despite losing a number of key contributors from last season’s team, the Jayhawks refused to relinquish their stranglehold on the Big 12 and won the league by two full games.
Player of the Year candidate Thomas Robinson is a double-double machine who is relentless on both ends of the floor. His 31.6 defensive rebounding percentage is the best in the country, and he has proven adept at getting opposing defenders into foul trouble. The other key offensive weapon is guard Tyshawn Taylor, who averages 17.3 points and a team-high 4.8 assists while hitting 43.5 percent from deep. Center Jeff Withey has come up big for the Jayhawks on multiple occasions and always impacts the game with his rebounding and shot-blocking prowess.
Overall, Kansas ranks in the Top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, and their two-point shooting and two-point defense are also among the nation’s best. They have also done a solid job of getting to the line and competing on the glass.
Detroit Titans Team Capsule
- Conference: Horizon
- Record: 22-13 (11-7 conf)
- Last 10 Games: 9-1
- Record vs. Tournament Teams: 0-2
- Wins vs. Tournament Teams: None
- Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Alabama, Notre Dame
- Player to Watch: Ray McCallum, Jr. (6’2″ G, So.) – 15.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.5 spg
Detroit Bottoms Line:
The Titans got off to an extremely slow start and were 7-10 in early January, and those struggles can be partially attributed to an early-season injury to Nick Minnerath and a “leave of absence” by big man Eli Holman, both of which left Detroit limited inside. The team does have quite a big of talent and seemed to gel over the latter part of the year, culminating in four victories in the Horizon League Tournament.
Point guard Ray McCallum, Jr. leads the team in points, assists, and steals, and he’s been adept at getting to the line thanks to his relentlessness at attacking the rim. Holman (10.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 61.3 FG%) gives the team a tremendous presence in the lane in terms of rebounding and shot-blocking. Chase Simon (13.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.4 apg) and Jason Calliste (10.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg) both score in double-figures but shoot less than 40 percent from the field.
As a team, their great offensive strengths are a free throw rate, which ranks in the Top 25, and a 44.0 offensive rebounding percentage. On the defensive end, the Titans boast a decent turnover rate and a strong block percentage, but none of the other numbers jump off the page.
Related: Jump to our Midwest Region Bracket Breakdown
See our other individual game previews:
- South Region: #5 Wichita State v #12 VCU
- South Region: #4 Indiana v #13 New Mexico State
- South Region: #7 Notre Dame v #10 Xavier
- South Region: #8 Iowa State v #9 Connecticut
- South Region: #6 UNLV v #11 Colorado
- West Region: #5 New Mexico v #12 Long Beach State
- West Region: #8 Memphis v #9 Saint Louis
- West Region: #7 Florida v #10 Virginia
- West Region: #6 Murray State v #11 Colorado State
- West Region: #4 Louisville v #13 Davidson
- East Region: #4 Wisconsin v #13 Montana
- East Region: #5 Vanderbilt v #12 Harvard
- East Region: #6 Cincinnati v #11 Texas
- East Region: #7 Gonzaga v #10 West Virginia
- Midwest Region: #5 Temple v #12 Cal/USF
- Midwest Region: #7 St. Mary’s v #10 Purdue
- Midwest Region: #4 Michigan v #13 Ohio
- Midwest Region: #8 Creighton v #9 Alabama
- Midwest Region: #6 San Diego State v #11 NC State
- Midwest Region: #3 Georgetown v #14 Belmont