Monday, January 28, 2013
Jeff Withey's dominant defense
By Joe Kaiser
Kansas could very well be the best team in the country this season -- as ESPN's Eamonn Brennan wrote on Sunday, it's increasingly evident that there are only a handful of teams that can battle the Jayhawks for that honor. One big reason for KU's success is its defense, and the built-in advantage they have with senior center Jeff Withey patrolling the paint.
Withey frustrated Oklahoma's Romero Osby on Saturday, limiting the Sooners' big man to 4-of-16 shooting on the way to another Jayhawk's victory, and that's become a common theme for Kansas opponents this season.
The inside presence of Withey, the nation's second leading shot-blocker at 4.3 per game, has KU limiting their opponents to 37 percent shooting from inside the arc. That leads the nation and is 10.3 percent under the Division-I average, according to KenPom.com.
“He's a unique player not only in our league but in college basketball in terms of you don't play against those players very often,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said of Withey in The Oklahoman over the weekend. “You learn from the mistakes. He erases the mistakes on the perimeter plus he guards his own guy inside. ... It's that little difference that Withey provides that makes a difference in shooting.”