Game 2: UNC Greensboro at Kansas – Preview and Prediction

The No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks head into the home opener on Friday night coming off a frustrating 68-66 loss to Duke in the Champions Classic. The Jayhawks committed 28 turnovers, yet still only lost by two points. With a little more care of the ball, this KU team could be very dangerous. Kansas now welcomes in a quality mid-major opponent in UNC-Greensboro to Allen Fieldhouse.

  • Friday, November 8, 2019, (roughly) 8 PM CDT
  • Allen Fieldhouse — Lawrence, Kansas
  • ESPNU or ESPN App
  • After its 68-66 loss to No. 4 Duke on Nov. 5, Kansas is 0-1 for only the second time in the Bill Self era. The other time was in 2016-17. KU went on to go 31-5 that season and advanced to the Elite Eight.
  • The last time KU entered its home opener 0-1 was 1981-82 under head coach Ted Owens. That season Jayhawks lost to North Carolina in Charlotte, N.C., before defeating Arizona State the following game in Lawrence.
  • KU has won a mind-boggling 46-consecutive regular-season home openers in Allen Fieldhouse, a streak which started in the 1973-74 season.
  • Kansas 93-13 following a loss in the Bill Self era, including 8-1 last season. Since the 2013-14 season, KU is 43-5 following a loss.
  • KU went 17-0 in home games last season, including a 16-0 record in Allen Fieldhouse. KU has gone undefeated in Allen Fieldhouse 20 times, including seven seasons since 2007-08.
  • Kansas and UNCG have met just once with KU winning 105-66 on Nov. 22, 2002. KU went on to play in the 2003 Final Four, finishing runner-up and posting at 30-8 record under head coach Roy Williams.

UNCG had a great season last year, as they reached the Southern Conference championship before falling to Wofford. The Spartans settled for an NIT bid and actually got to host a pair of games. This season, UNCG was picked to finish second in the SoCon after they return three of their top five scorers from a year ago. The Spartans won their season opener over North Carolina A&T by a score of 83-50. Sophomore Kaleb Hunter led the way with 17 points for UNCG.

Spartans to Watch

Kaleb Hunter – Sophomore, Guard, 6’4″
Hunter scored just 5.6 PPG as a freshmen last season, but he played in all 36 games. He figures to play a bigger role this season, and that showed in the season opener as he led the team with 17 points and seven rebounds and was 2-of-3 from three-point land.

Isaiah Miller – Junior, Guard, 6’0″
Miller was the second leading scorer on last year’s squad, as he poured in 15.3 PPG. He chipped in with 13 in the season opener, while pulling down six boards and dishing three assists. Miller is not a threat to shoot it from the outside, as he only shot 28 percent from three last season.

Prediction

UNCG is a quality opponent and not one KU should take likely. This a team that was a game away from an NCAA Tournament bid last season and returns a good number of the same players.

That being said, Kansas is a vastly more talented team and rarely lose inside Allen Fieldhouse. I expect the Jayhawks to take care much better care of the ball, although it’d be hard not to take better care of the ball after the showing against Duke.

Kansas needs to feed Udoka Azubuike more. Get him more touches near the rim. They did not do a good enough job of that on Tuesday. The two big men look of Azubuike and David McCormack did not look great in the season’s first game, but there were times where there seemed to be some missed opportunities from it. I wouldn’t expect Bill Self to abandoned it two games in.

It’ll also be intriguing see more of the young guys. We saw a little bit of Tristan Enaruna on Tuesday and saw some flashes of what he can do. Christian Braun and Jalen Wilson saw a few minutes, so hopefully this game will be decided early, so those young guys can get some meaningful minutes.

Kansas 85, UNC-Greensboro 68
KU -15.5

AUDIO PREVIEW: LINK (go to 66:30 mark of podcast for preview)

Season Record: 0-1 (0-1 ATS)

Bobby Norell

My name is Bobby Norell. I'm from a small town in northern Indiana. I recently graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Sport Communication. Even though my diploma says I'm a Hoosier, my love for the Jayhawks has never wavered. They'll always come No.1.