On Saturday, #14 Kansas (20-4, 8-3 Big 12) matches up with Texas (11-13, 3-8 Big 12) on College Gameday. After rebounding from a three-game losing streak, the Jayhawks crushed in-state rival Kansas State in convincing fashion. Ben McLemore had his second 30-point game of his short career, and Kansas swept yet another season series from the Wildcats.
Texas has struggled in 2013, managing only a 3-8 conference record, currently eighth in the Big 12 standings. Formerly suspended sophomore Myck Kabongo played in his first game of the season Wednesday, scoring 13 points in 35 minutes of action in an 89-86 double overtime win over Iowa State.
ESPN’s College Gameday will be in attendance at Saturday’s game, the fifth time the popular TV program has come to Allen Fieldhouse since 2005. Kansas has gone 4-1 with Gameday in Lawrence, and will look to add to that mark against the Longhorns.
Players to watch:
# 5 Jeff Withey: Withey has been consistent as always for the Jayhawks this season. Second in the country in blocked shots per game with 4.1, the 5th year transfer from Arizona set the school blocks record Monday, topping Greg Ostertag’s mark of 258. Withey’s historic defensive presence may be one of the keys to the success of Kansas going forward.
# 23 Ben McLemore: A deadly and efficient scoring threat, McLemore is capable of scoring 30 points in any game he chooses, as he did against Kansas State. The redshirt freshman is having great success in his first and likely only season with the Jayhawks, and shows no signs of slowing down.
# 24 Travis Releford: A quiet key to Kansas’ offense, Releford has scored in double figures in 18 games this season, every one of which has been a Jayhawk victory. A 59% shooter, the senior can be deadly when his offensive game is working in full force.
# 12 Myck Kabongo: Recently cleared to return from suspension by the NCAA, Kabongo saw his first action Wednesday in a victory over Iowa State. A decent scorer but shaky ball handler, Kabongo will be fired up Saturday and may feel as if he has something to prove- a potentially dangerous combination for Kansas.
# 1 Sheldon McClellan: A key Longhorn reserve, McClellan scored 18 points and added 8 rebounds in his last game, above his already impressive season average of 14 points per game. An imposing presence, McClellan will be a tough match up for Kansas.
# 14 Julien Lewis: The sophomore starting guard will need to be watched by the Kansas defense as he scored 11 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in the team’s first meeting, a 64-59 win for the Jayhawks. An accurate shooter, Lewis provides a decent offensive threat to the Longhorns.
How I see it:
Kansas found their rhythm again against Kansas State, and it would be surprising if they lost it again this year. Playing in the friendly confines of Allen Fieldhouse in front of what is sure to be a raucous crowd, the Jayhawks should have no trouble dispatching the Longhorns.
Texas just doesn’t match up well with Kansas. A very unthreatening offensive team, the undersized Longhorns don’t have the horses to stay with the Jayhawks for 40 minutes. Getting Myck Kabongo back from suspension will help, but not enough to pull off the upset.
Last Time They Met:
Kansas sent Texas to its fourth straight Big 12 loss in Austin, with a 64-59 win. Down 11 points, Kansas stormed back for the victory for their fifteenth straight.
Allen Fieldhouse will capture yet another victim Saturday. Kansas will be motivated to show that their 21-point win over Kansas State was not a fluke, and that they still are the team to beat in the Big 12 championship race. Texas will be behind from the start, and Kansas should coast to a simple 82-69 victory.