Sneak peek: Who are the Colonels?
We'll be learning a lot about the Eastern Kentucky Colonels this week, in the days leading up to the NCAA Tournament matchup between the No. 15 seed out of the Ohio Valley Conference and the No. 2-seeded Kansas Jayhawks — Friday at 3:10 p.m., in St. Louis, Mo.
After finding out his team's draw, EKU coach Jeff Neubauer told the Lawrence Journal-World's Matt Tait he and his staff knew they would be facing one of the nation's elite teams:
"… We just happened to draw one of the greatest programs in the history of college basketball, so our team is looking forward to the challenge, and we’ll see if we’re ready for this test.”
Obviously, we're a lot more familiar with the Jayhawks (24-9) than the Colonels (24-9), so we might as well start getting to know KU's foe.
The best way to do that is with video highlights. Eastern Kentucky swept through the OVC tournament in Nashville, Tenn., more than a week ago. EKU defeated:
Southeast Missouri State, 84-76
Murray State, 86-83
EKU only has two double-digit scorers for KU to worry about, but three more players average a hair under 10, and the Colonels' sixth-leading scorer puts up more than eight points a night, so there is some balance to their attack:
G — Glenn Cosey, 18.8 ppg
G — Corey Wladen, 14.1 ppg
G — Marcus Lewis, 9.9 ppg
G — Orlando Williams, 9.6 ppg
G — Tarius Johnson, 9.5 ppg
F — Eric Stutz, 8.4 ppg
Playing in the one-bid OVC, in which Eastern Kentucky went 11-5 (second place in the East division, third-best mark in the league) didn't provide the Colonels with much high-level competition. But they did venture into some challenging non-conference matchups, including an 86-61 loss at Wisconsin in mid-December.
These highlights are Badger-centric, but you can see some of the ways Kansas might be able to break down the EKU defense for baskets:
• Anticipate over-aggressive plays in passing lanes
• Attack the paint
• Move the ball for reversals, especially against zone defense, for open shots
— Look for more on EKU in the days to come at KUsports.com.