David Hess is a Kansas fan and writer for TeamRankings.com. Wildcat fans might remember the Hype Clouds he created for last season. He was kind enough to answer a few questions about this year's Kansas team as we get ready for an early season tilt between two of the elite programs in college basketball.
On another note, David was the catalyst for the DSS project I started last season. He has tracked the defense for Kansas and contributed to an excellent piece about defense by Luke Winn for Sports Illustrated's college basketball preview. He and I will both be charting the defense for the UK-Kansas game which will provided an uncommon opportunity to see how different people view the same game. His results will appear at TeamRankings later this week.
2) The team lost a lot of talent to graduation and the draft last year, and you had a great post on TeamRankings last week showing just how much production Kansas lost. Most everyone knows about Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor, but who else on this team will be filling the holes? Who are the players that Bill Self needs to step forward this season for Kansas to continue to excel?
3) Ben McLemore, Jamari Traylor and Braedon Anderson all failed to qualify this season and Kaleb Tarczewski chose Arizona over the Jayhawks. This led Gary Parrish to wonder what has been wrong with Kansas' recruiting. Are there really problems, or is this just a confluence of bad luck that every program hits now and again?
4) Last year you did a Project Defensive Scoresheet series for the Jayhawks. What did you learn about their defense, or defense in general, that you didn't know or hadn't thought about before?
5) As far as the game Tuesday is concerned, what do you expect out of the team? This early in the season, will they be better on offense or defense? Who are the players you want to see step forward?
6) What's your prediction for the game?
I know it's blasphemous for a Jayhawk fan to say this, but I'll be happy if Kansas can stay within single digits. I think by the end of the year Kentucky may be the best team in the country, if they aren't already. Though I said I'm looking for a good rebounding performance, I'm actually expecting the Wildcats to dominate the interior, and T-Jones to get T-Rob in foul trouble. I hate picking a score because I'll obviously be wrong, but let's say ... I can't bring myself to project a double digit loss, so 74-65 Kentucky.