KU's youth to be tested by Stanford's upperclassmen

Published On: Mar 22 2014 04:42:43 PM CDT
ST. LOUIS, Kan. -

When Kansas beat Eastern Kentucky in the first round, the Jayhawks trotted out just two upperclassmen among the eight players that logged minutes.

That youth will be tested by a Stanford team that gets 87.2 percent of its scoring from five starters that are all juniors and seniors, and have played a combined 565 games in their careers.

The Cardinal hopes that game experience will help bridge the gap in overall talent Kansas will throw at them.

"The amount of different experiences we've had as a team, and we've been in so many different situations that it's prepared us for just about every one we can face," Stanford senior Josh Huestis said.

Kansas has played the toughest schedule in the country, which has helped to get Bill Self's young team ready for these March moments.

"I do think talent will trump experience in a lot of ways, but certainly experience can play havoc on young talent. But I think at this point in time freshmen should be able to handle it," Self said. "It's almost like you're a sophomore by the time conference play starts with all of the things that these guys have experienced before getting to school and him being thrown in the fire right when they get there."

Even though the Cardinal have much more game experience, Kansas' freshmen have the exact same amount of NCAA tournament experience as the Stanford upperclassmen.

The NCAA Tournament stage brings a microscope that can get to the most experienced upperclassmen the same as a freshman.

"The pressures are a little bit different in the NCAA Tournament than what they may be during the regular season, and mistakes are more magnified and things like that because there is not another game if you don't play well," Self said. "But I think these young kids will handle it very well for the most part, because you see experienced guys not handling it well sometimes under the same circumstances."

Kansas and Stanford will tip off in the Round of 32 at 11:15 a.m. in St. Louis.