Kansas looks for redemption in SEC/Big 12 Challenge rematch

Last year, Kansas suffered a devestating early season loss at the hands of the Florida Gators, 67-61. Despite the score, it didn’t really seem that close. Kansas fell behind early in the first half, allowing 16 turnovers in the first 20 minutes and at one point, gave up a 21-0 run to the Gators that lasted over eight minutes.

The game was close thanks to Andrew Wiggins, who recorded his first double-double of his career dropping 26 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Many of the points came from three-pointers late

On Friday, the Jayhawks will look for redemption as they face off again in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. This time, the Gators will play at Allen Fieldhouse and they’re a little less talented than last year but still going to be a challenge. They were a preseason top 10 team, like Kansas, but have dropped out of the top 25 completely after starting the season 3-3.

The Jayhawks watched game film of last year’s matchup for a film session this week as extra motivation

“It wasn’t pretty at all,” Landen Lucas told the media this week. “To be able to play them again is going to be fun for us and is definitely something that we’re looking forward to.”

What to watch for:

  • Florida
    • Dorian Finney-Smith — The junior forward is averaging 10.3 ppg and 5.0 rpg this season. Finney-Smith is putting up those numbers despite two fractured bones in his non-shooting hand.
    • Kasey Hill – Hill scored 20 points in a loss to North Carolina at Atlantis last week.  The point guard got to the line 12 times against UNC. He’s averaging 8.2 ppg and 3.5 apg. It’ll be a key for Florida to get to the line with Hill.
    • Michael Frazier – The junior guard leads the Gators in scoring with 15.2 ppg and is also rebounding the ball well (6.5 rebounds per game). His shooting will be key to a Florida upset.
  • Kansas
    • Cliff Alexander – Alexander has the skills to give Florida fits inside. Can he avoid foul trouble and perhaps secure a starting spot against Georgetown next week?
    • Perry Ellis – Ellis has been KU’s undisputed leader on the team so far. Despite a shaky game against Kentucky, he’s been fantastic.
    • Wayne Selden – Can Selden overcome his shooting issues? Being able to score against a good defensive team would be great for his confidence. Kansas will need him in this upcoming tough stretch (vs. Florida, at Georgetown, vs. Utah).

What is going to happen:

I expect this game to be pretty close throughout the first half but I see a strong second half from Kansas putting the Jayhawks up 10+ points. Kansas will win this, 71-59.