Kansas forward Dwight Coleby will know just about everything there is to know about Purdue’s basketball team prior to Thursday night’s NCAA Midwest Regional semifinal at Kansas City’s Sprint Center.
Minus a detailed scouting report, Coleby still was able to brief media members on the Big Ten regular-season champs after KU’s 90-70 second-round victory over Michigan State on Sunday in Tulsa.
“Just big,” Coleby said of the Boilermakers (27-7), the No. 4 seed. “We know they are huge.”
The biggest Boilermakers are 6-foot-9, 250-pound sophomore forward Caleb Swanigan and 7-2, 290-pound junior center Isaac Haas.
Swanigan, who averages 18.5 points and 12.6 rebounds in 32.5 minutes, scored 20 points with 12 rebounds and seven assists while playing 34 minutes in Saturday’s 80-76 second-round victory over Iowa State. Swanigan, the Big Ten’s Player of the Year, shoots 52.7 percent — 43.2 percent from three.
Haas, who has started 15 games and come off the bench in the rest, scored 14 points and grabbed three rebounds against the Cyclones. He averages 12.6 points (on 58.8-percent shooting) and 5.1 boards.
Swanigan on Sunday was named a finalist for the Naismith Trophy (national player of the year) with KU’s Frank Mason, UCLA’s Lonzo Ball and Villanova’s Josh Hart.
“I haven’t seen him much,” Coleby said. “I watched two games all season. He’s a great player. We’ve got to find a way to stop them and come out with a win.”
KU coach Bill Self said Sunday the Jayhawks would return to full practice on Tuesday. KU takes on Purdue at 8:40 p.m. Thursday.
“That is a different animal,” Self said of Purdue’s game plan. “We haven’t seen that this year, a team that plays through their bigs. That’s how they play. Certainly they are really good at it.”
Purdue has made 48.1 percent of its shots, 40.4 percent of its threes and 75.9 percent of its free throws.
“When they play the two bigs together, it’s a different look than what we’ve seen all year long,” Self said. “When they play one (Swanigan), he’s hardest to guard because they’ve got four shooters around him. We’ve got to come up with a game plan.”
Self and several of the Jayhawks were able to watch the Iowa State-Purdue game on Saturday night.
“I was really impressed because when you think of it right now going into it, they’ve got some guys that we haven’t seen down low yet,” Self said. “We haven’t gone against an inside presence scoring like Caleb and of course the big fellow off the bench. So we’ve got to come up with a way to eliminate post touches and still get to their shooters because they can stretch it from all the spots to the perimeter.”
Swanigan’s name will be mentioned plenty in days leading up to the game, that’s for sure. His nickname “Biggie” was given to him by an aunt several years ago.
“Swanigan is a load,” said KU sophomore forward Carlton Bragg. “He’ll be a big challenge for us. He can pretty much do everything. He had seven assists as well. For a big guy, that’s pretty good.”
Purdue vs. Kansas
- When: About 8:40 p.m. Thursday
- Where: Sprint Center, Kansas City, Mo.
- Records: Purdue 27-7, KU 30-4
- Radio: 1240-AM, 97.5-FM
- TV: KWCH