I browsed the obvious college basketball sites this morning searching to see if they had noticed on the national level what Kansas fans had the delight of seeing the past 2 games. Oh have they noticed!
A recurring trend this morning is not a front page picture of Thomas Robinson dunking over some poor soul, but in fact an emotional Jeff Withey towering for rebounds, dominating the paint, and scoring under the basket!
This point in the college basketball season it is pivotal to have guys step up. Of course you need your foundation players to continue to play well and Thomas Robinson seems to get his double double without fail, but to have fellow big man Jeff Withey step up and ease the pressure is a piece of the puzzle KU has been silently and patiently waiting for this entire season.
Not long ago the 7 footer seemed to be a step behind, showed zero emotion, and often seemed lost on the offensive end of the court. Prior to the Baylor contest Withey was averaging just over 8 points and 5 rebounds per game. Over the past 2 games he has surged to average 21 points and 15 rebounds. The latest being Saturday against Oklahoma State where Kansas played a nearly flawless first half to put the game away early.
This type of production allows Robinson to relax and play his game, which is well, to dominate the post. One key aspect that is beginning to emerge is chemistry. Now the two Kansas bigs are trusting in each other. The tough pass is beginning to look easier. The double team is leaving a weapon wide open and the other can feel it before he sees it.
Kansas will no doubt ride into the NCAA Tournament on the back of potential player of the year Thomas Robinson, but the 7 footer Withey may just keep them there to fight another day.
KU will face a rough and rowdy crowd tonight in Manhattan at 8p.m. against in state rival Kansas State. Last year the Wildcats sent KU home with a 16 point defeat. Look for this to be an emotionally charged game and watch for both squads to come out firing early.