2014 NCAA Tournament: Kansas vs. Stanford preview

Stanford has golden opportunity if Joel Embiid doesn't play.

Who: 2 Kansas (25-9) vs. 10 Stanford (22-12)

When: Sunday

Channel: TBD

Where: South Region, St. Louis

Why watch?

With star freshman seven footer for Kansas Joel Embiid reportedly out, the Cardinal have a serious chance at pulling off another upset.

Who are the stars?

F Andrew Wiggins 6'8 200 Fr. Kansas

Wiggins came into the season as highly-regarded as just about any incoming freshman ever and has shown the ability at times, to be that out-of-this world player. He is an athletic, versatile scorer that has the ability to go off on any given night and take the game over.

F Dwight Powell 6'10 240 Sr. Stanford

One of the most versatile players in the country, Powell is a forward/center that also leads Stanford in assists. Along with distributing as a big man, Powell can also score around the basket, rebound and defend.

F Perry Ellis 6'8 225 So. Kansas

Another former big time recruit, Ellis plays more inside than Wiggins and can score and rebound. Ellis can really score inside and get to the free throw line with his strength.

Key matchups

Can Stanford exploit the absence of Embiid?

With Embiid reportedly out, the Cardinal, and Powell, may have a chance to score some easy points against the Jayhawks along with focus their defenses efforts almost entirely towards Wiggins, making their chances of upsetting Kansas much more likely.

Can Stanford guard Wiggins?

Wiggins might be the best overall athlete in the entire country and the Cardinal don't have anyone who can even come close to matching him on the wing. Wiggins could go off for 40-plus and take over the game all by himself if Stanford can't find a way to contain him as a team.

You're a Pac-12 fan, why do you want Stanford to win?

The Cardinal had to scratch and claw to get into the NCAA Tournament and now after an impressive win over New Mexico, have the chance to pull off the kind of major second round upset that the conference hasn't secured in a long, long time.

Prediction

I know that the Jayhawks are vulnerable without Embiid and did not impress against Eastern Kentucky, but I'm still not a believer in this Stanford team pulling off an upset here, they relied too much on Chasson Randle exploding from outside against New Mexico to beat the Lobos. Expect Stanford to have trouble containing Wiggins and to fall behind early but keep it competitive throughout, ultimately avoiding a lopsided loss, but never truly getting to a back-and-forth affair.

Kansas 72 Stanford 64

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