PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas — The 2022-23 Kansas men’s basketball season resumes Thursday with a matchup of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament at the Imperial Arena against Wisconsin.
The No. 3 Jayhawks (5-0) come off an 80-74 win in this event against NC State. The Badgers (4-0) are coming off a 43-42 win in this event against Dayton. Kansas will look to continue its success at this tournament, which it has not competed in since 2013.
Will Coach Bill Self’s Jayhawks team go undefeated? Will coach Greg Gard’s Badgers side deliver a big upset? This is a matchup between the Big 12 Conference and Big Ten Conference programs.
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HALFTIME: Kansas 33, Wisconsin 20
Kansas leads 26-15 against Wisconsin by 2:58 in the 1st half
MJ Rice came on with 4:05 minutes remaining, meaning both he and Zach Clemence were making their first appearances for the Jayhawks of the tournament after recently returning to practice. Rice will be a key part of Kansas’ rotation later this season. So it’s good news for the Jayhawks that he’s back in action.
As for Wisconsin, the Badgers haven’t scored in more than three minutes. Kansas denies shots and plays defensively with a lot of effort. A jump game by KJ Adams Jr. not long ago showed the energy the Jayhawks play with at this end of the court.
Kansas leads 20-12 against Wisconsin with 7:36 in the 1st half
The Jayhawks are now on a 6-0 run and lead by eight points with about seven and a half minutes to go. A 3-pointer from Kevin McCullar Jr. forced a timeout in Wisconsin on a day when McCullar was having trouble shooting the ball. He now has up to five points after not hitting a bucket for some time.
More than half of Kansas’ shots so far have been 3s, and the Jayhawks are 5-for-13 behind the arc. For that reason, being outscored in the paint at 8-2 hasn’t mattered much yet. The Badgers are 1-for-5 on 3s so far.
Kansas and Wisconsin are 6-6 with 11:29 left in the 1st half
Self went with a lineup consisting of three smaller guards — Joseph Yesufu, Bobby Pettiford Jr., and Dajuan Harris Jr. — to level with the Badgers. Kansas, which had Jalen Wilson and Zach Clemence on court with those three during the stretch they were out there together, is now tied 6-6 with Wisconsin with 11-29 left in the first half. It was a points-based lineup that didn’t do much there but at least tied again.
The Jayhawks are a poor 2-for-16 from the field and 1-for-8 from behind the arc so far. Some of these shots have been contested, but many are simply missed. Getting Gradey Dick working could do a lot for Kansas right now.
Wisconsin leads 4-3 with 15:51 in the 1st half
Unable to hit an open shot, Kevin McCullar Jr. started the game 0v5 from the field. Self took him out after that break at 15-51 in the first half and the Jayhawks were 4-3 behind. They go with the regular starters and Joseph Yesufu now, as does Zach Clemence for KJ Adams Jr.
McCullar’s game was emblematic of what Kansas struggled with early on offense. He chose Springer when they should move the ball more and try to attack inside. Fix that and they should be in a much better position. The Jayhawks have performed well defensively so far.
Bill Self from Kansas appears on the team’s pregame show
When it comes to Wisconsin’s offense, Self said the Badgers will take their time. You are disciplined. Fans should expect to see long holdings.
When it comes to defending Wisconsin, Self said the Badgers won’t block a lot of shots, but will have you blasting through traffic. They defend the 3-point arc well with their distance. And they’re disciplined at that end of the pitch too.
KJ Adams Jr. of Kansas appears on the team’s pre-game radio show
Adams said the team wants him to be more aggressive, and that’s what the second forward attempted in Wednesday’s win against NC State and has attempted that this season. The biggest change for him compared to his debut season in 2021-22 was his confidence. And he thinks it shows on the pitch.
Adams compared Wisconsin to Duke because the Badgers will try to play two bigs like the Blue Devils did. He will try to put energy on the defensive. And he’s enjoying showing that in the Bahamas.
Wisconsin is warming up
No changes to who is warming up for Kansas
Jordan Guskey covers University of Kansas Athletics in the Topeka Capital-Journal. Reach out to him at [email protected] or on Twitter @JordanGuskey.