The Jayhawks have proved thus far that they are a resilient team despite a lack of consistency. The Cougars are coming off of a tough overtime loss to Pepperdine. We preview this game, considering relevant stats, before making our NCAA basketball picks on the outcome.

Comeback kids  

Kansas is coming off of a game against Chattanooga in which they trailed by double digits at home. Despite the Mocs shooting nearly 50% from 3 point range, the Jayhawks managed to rally behind senior Elijah Johnson and freshman Ben McLemore as Kansas went on to defeat Chattanooga, 69-55. The Jayhawks own Allen Fieldhouse, and the deficit was a major surprise to many.  

Freshman Phenom  

Ben McLemoreIt isn't exactly clear how long freshman Ben McLemore will stay a Jayhawk, as leaving early for the NBA seems to be a foregone conclusion, he's made a major impact on the Jayhawks squad in just a short period of time. 

McLemore is coming off of a career high 25 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists against Chattanooga. He's already proven that he can play against high level competition as he had a 14 point game in a loss to #21 Michigan State. Coach Bill Self has stated that he wants his freshman star to be aggressive as opponents will be keying in on him and double teaming. Look for Kansas to ride Ben McLemore's back in this semifinal game as he's clearly getting more comfortable as the season goes on.  

Major Obstruction  

Along with senior Elijah Johnson (12.7 ppg, 3 rpg, 2.3 apg), Kansas will be relying upon it's 7 foot, 235 pound center, Jeff Withey, to control the paint on the defensive end. He's coming off of a double-double in which he had 6 blocks. On the season, Jeff Withey is averaging 12 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.3 blocks per game.  

With a combination of talented youth and experience on this squad, Kansas should not only be able to win this game quite easily, but they should also be able to conquer the CBE Hall of Fame Championship without a problem. 

Malibu Mess  

Washington State came into California, thinking that they could come into Firestone Fieldhouse and come away with an easy "W". Instead, they were handed their first defeat of the season and now the prospects of picking up a 2nd consecutive loss look quite promising. 

The Cougars were ineffective against Pepperdine as they shot just 40% from the field while guard Mike Ladd was the only starter to shoot 50% at 4 for 8. Nevertheless, Washington was still able to take this game into overtime but unable to stop guard Lorne Jackson as he hit the game winning shot with 12 seconds remaining.  

Size and experience  

The Cougars will be looking for their two leading scorers, seniors Brock Motum and Mike Ladd, to lead the way against Kansas. At 6 foot 5, Ladd is coming off an unexpected huge game on the boards in which he collected 13 rebounds. He might not be able to duplicate his performance against Pepperdine, but for Washington State to have any chance in this game, Ladd must come up with a big game.  

The Cougars will be relying on leading scorer, Austrailian native Brock Motum, to shoulder the load offensively. Motum has great size and is an efficient scorer and rebounder. On the season, he's averaging 17.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Don't expect the Jayhawks to be able to stop Motum, it's the rest of the team that the Cougars should be concerned about.  

The Jayhawks are 49-3 in their last 52 games against non-conference opponents.  

Outcome  

This should be a cakewalk for Kansas and expect Ben McLemore to only get better. Washington State had trouble against a low level team like Pepperdine. Things will only get worse as they face a top 10 team in Kansas. The spread is very low for this game. Kansas will cover and blowout the Cougars.  

Pick: Kansas -12

5 Dimes Sportsbook list the Jayhawks as a clearcut favorite at -1