Busting Brackets

Kansas Basketball: 3 keys to victory for the Jayhawks against Houston

The Kansas Jayhawks will take on the nation’s best defensive team in a top-ten matchup on Saturday.

Kansas v West Virginia
Kansas v West Virginia / G Fiume/GettyImages
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1. Control the boards

Houston is one of college basketball’s best offensive rebounding teams, boasting a 39.7 offensive rebounding percentage, according to BartTorvik.

Although the Cougars may not be the tallest nor biggest team in college basketball, it's their sheer physicality, toughness and grit that allows them to crash the boards so effectively. 

In a full 40-minute game, Houston has four players -- J’Wan Roberts, Ja’Vier Francis, Joseph Tugler, Ramon Walker Jr. -- that do a great job at grabbing offensive rebounds. 

Although the Cougar’s depth and rebounding prowess took a bit of a hit in mid-December with Terrance Arcenaux being listed out for the season with a torn Achilles, this remains one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country, speaking volumes on the overall toughness of this team.

In short, Kansas will not out-tough Houston nor should look to out-tough them in a full 40-minute stretch. They don’t have the depth to do that. They will simply need to match Houston’s toughness if they want to limit the amount of second-chance points that Houston gets.

KJ Adams and Hunter Dickinson will have their hands full all game and Johnny Furphy, who struggled to box out in the closing minutes of their West Virginia loss, will need to find a body every single possession to limit the Cougar’s impact on the boards. 

By no means is Kansas a bad rebounding team. They have been quite solid on the boards this year. However, when faced against a team that hangs their identity on the boards and through the defense, controlling the boards is necessary when points will be harder to come by on the offensive side of the floor for Bill Self & Co.