The NCAA Final Four was set last weekend and, although only one top seed advanced all the way to the semifinals, the 2012 version of college basketball's biggest games should still be pretty exciting. The Kansas Jayhawks will play the Ohio St. Buckeyes on one side of the bracket with a couple of star players leading the way for both teams.
The Jayhawks have advanced through the tournament on the backs of just a few players, though it's been quite awhile since all of their "impact" players were able to impact the same game. Regardless, the men that should be most influential to this weekend's game are included below.
Thomas Robinson has been the team's most consistent player all season, earning the Big 12 Player of the Year award to go with All-American honors in his first year as a starter. The 6-foot-10 junior is probably going to be overlooked when it comes to his matchup with Jared Sullinger and the Buckeyes, but Robinson's been excellent all season and currently holds averages of 17.9 points and 11.8 rebounds while missing a double-double just once (by a single rebound) thus far this tournament.
The other brand name player on the Kansas roster is 6-foot-3 senior point guard Tyshawn Taylor. Nobody has ever accused him of being consistent, but he can take over a game when he's on -- and his 22 points, six rebounds, five assists and five steals against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Elite Eight back that up. He scored just six points on 2-of-14 shooting before fouling out in the Sweet 16, though, so it's tough to know exactly what Taylor will bring to the Final Four's table.
While the above-named players are going to garner most of the headlines, the Jayhawks do have other members on the roster who occasionally are able to contribute to victories.
- Jeff Withey, a 7-foot junior center, is averaging a mediocre 9.3 points and 6.2 rebounds this season as the defensive complement to Robinson's offensive game in the frontcourt. His defense has been impeccable, though, as he's averaging five blocks per game thus far in the tournament -- including a 10 block effort against the N.C. State Spartans.
- Elijah Johnson wasn't much of a factor during the regular season, but the junior guard has been asked to step up in the tournament as Taylor continues his yo-yo production. Johnson's delivered, though, scoring in double figures every game of the tournament while finding his shot from beyond the arc (9-of-20 in four games).
The pickings are slim as far as impact players after those four, but having four players all capable of contributing in key areas should certainly help Kansas as they move closer to the championship game.