This is a quick video take on the game tonight. Digger Phelps is right to highlight Perry Ellis as a factor in this game, although I’d hesitate to use the concocted term "x-factor," to Ellis. Ellis has been a consistent presence for Kansas, and he’s not really a variable for them in this game. Most likely he’ll be the guy that plays the same game he always does.
Contra Digger, I’d say the real x-factor for Kansas is Frank Mason III. Kansas has had turnover problems, and Mason struggled in their only game so far this season taking care of the basketball. If he does a better job of that, plus gets the Kansas players involved in the game, I think the contest will be very competitive. If he’s weak with the ball or gives it away with bad passes, it’s going to be hard to stop Kentucky from dominating.
I like Jordan Cornette’s pick of Alex Poythress as Kentucky’s x-factor. When Poythress is at his explosive best, Kentucky can be an absolute nightmare. Alex has to take open jumpers when he has them, but forget about whether or not they go in. He gets a little caught up in his jump shot, and he needs to forget about that thing and worry about getting lanes to the basket for lobs, getting out on the break, rebounding, tough defense and setting good screens. Those are the things that make him such a valuable contributor to the Wildcats effort.
Also, 3-point shooting is a big x-factor for Kentucky as a general matter. The Wildcats can crush teams very quickly when they are making that shot, and just as easily allow them to hang when they aren’t, as we saw this weekend. If Devin Booker and Aaron Harrison are making threes, Kentucky should be able to spread the floor more, and that favors the Wildcats.