Mizzou Basketball opponent preview: Kansas
In this series, we’ll look ahead at Mizzou’s opponents in the upcoming 2023-24 season. We’ll continue by previewing the Kansas Jayhawks.
Date & Location: Dec. 9 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan.
2022-23 Record: 28-8 overall (13-5 Big 12)
NCAA Tournament Finish: Defeated No. 16-seed Howard in Round of 64, lost to No. 8-seed Arkansas in Round of 32
KEY INCOMING TRANSFERS
Parker Braun (Santa Clara, 7.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.0 apg), Hunter Dickinson (Michigan, 18.5 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 1.5 apg), Arterio Morris (Texas, 4.6 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 0.5 apg), Nicolas Timberlake (Towson, 17.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.4 apg)
KEY INCOMING FRESHMEN (rankings from Rivals.com)
Kansas’ year came to a disappointing end last March after a dominant run through the regular season, getting upset by Arkansas in the second round of the NCAA tournament. But with three starters returning and a stacked class of newcomers, the Jayhawks should have the talent to contend for another No. 1 seed.
The backcourt will be led by incumbent starting point guard Dajuan Harris Jr., who was sixth in the nation handing out 6.2 assists per game and was also voted as the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, averaging 2.2 steals. Kevin McCullar Jr. will also return to his role as a stingy two-way player who could see time at the wing.
Head coach Bill Self made sure to invest in the depth of his guard positions, especially with Gradey Dick moving on to the NBA. Nick Timberlake was the leading scorer for a Towson team that won 21 games last season. The sixth-year senior should help make up for some of the 3-point production Dick provided last year as Timberlake is a career 37.9% shooter from deep. Arterio Morris was the No. 15-ranked recruit of the Class of 2022 and could reach his potential in a bigger role with the Jayhawks. And freshmen Elmarko Jackson and Jamari McDowell both have the size to play at either guard spot and could compete for minutes as well.
KJ Adams Jr. functioned as Kansas’ small-ball center last season and led the team in blocks but should be able to move back to a more natural position as a forward with Michigan transfer Hunter Dickinson coming in. The All-American big man was considered one of the best names to enter the transfer portal and should be the focal point of the team on both offense and defense after averaging 18.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game for the Wolverines last year.
Sophomore forward Zach Clemence could be ready for more playing time after seeing 5.6 minutes per game across 20 appearances. Former Mizzou forward Parker Braun, the older brother of former Kansas guard and current Denver Nugget Christian Braun, should provide adequate help on the boards. And freshman Australian wing Johnny Furphy, who Self added in August after Marcus Adams Jr. was released from his letter of intent, could also crack the rotation.
Missouri has lost both of its outings against the Jayhawks since the Border War rivalry was renewed in 2021, both games by a margin of over 40 points. Playing Kansas on the road this season, the Tigers will need to be at their best to snap the losing streak.