Colorado (7-1) at (9) Kansas (6-1)
Saturday, December 8, 2 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Nicholas DeLorenzo, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Allen Fieldhouse (16,300) -- Lawrence, Kansas. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Colorado 4-0, KU 3-0. Away Record: Colorado 0-1, KU 3-1. Neutral Record: Colorado 3-0, KU 0-0. Conference Record: Colorado 0-0, KU 0-0. Series Record: Kansas leads, 122-39.
GAME NOTES: Former Big 12 Conference foes will square off at Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon, as the ninth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks play host to the Colorado Buffaloes.
Colorado was able to work its way into the Top-25 following an impressive 6-0 start, but it promptly fell from the ranks after a Dec. 1 loss at Wyoming (76-69). The Buffs managed to get back on the winning track at home on Wednesday night, defeating in-state rival Colorado State, 70-61.
Kansas has also been very impressive on the young season, with its lone loss coming on a neutral floor to nationally-ranked Michigan State, 67-64. Since that defeat, the Jayhawks have ripped off five straight wins, most recently beating Oregon State on Nov. 30, 84-78.
As members of the Big 12 for so many years, these two programs became very familiar with one another. Kansas has the upper hand in the all-time series, 122-39, and the Jayhawks have been incredibly dominant of late, winning 20 in a row and 47 of the last 48 games between the two dating back to 1991.
Colorado has gotten off to a strong start shooting the ball this season, as it makes better than 46 percent of its field goal attempts for 74.4 ppg, 7.0 ppg more than its opponents. The Buffs were nearly right on their average in their recent win over Colorado State as they made good on 46 percent of their total shots (including 6-of-13 from three-point range) as they got out to a 20-point halftime lead and never looked back. Spencer Dinwiddie shined in the victory with a career-high 29 points, and Andre Roberson controlled the paint with 15 points, 14 rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Dinwiddie has been on fire lately, scoring 24 points or more in three straight games to give him a team- high 17.8 ppg on better than 54 percent shooting from three-point range. Roberson is one of the premiere power forwards in the nation (12.0 ppg, 11.5 rpg), especially at the defensive end where he racks up 2.4 spg and 1.5 bpg. Askia Booker (14.1 ppg) and Josh Scott (12.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg) are also regular contributors to a potent starting lineup.
The Jayhawks are fresh off their best offensive performance of the season, as they shot a lofty 60 percent from the field in holding off Oregon State for what wound up as a six-point decision. Ben McLemore scored a team-high 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field (3-of-4 from three-point range), and Travis Releford was just as good with 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals. Jeff Withey tallied 17 points and three blocks, and Kevin Young chipped in with 10 points. On the season, Kansas has nearly an identical scoring output as Colorado, making 46.4 percent of its field goal attempts for 73.1 ppg. McLemore is the team's leading scorer with nearly 15 ppg, but the redshirt freshman is more than just a talented shooter, adding 5.7 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.1 spg and 1.0 bpg to his stat line. Jeff Withey is a force down low, scoring 14.6 ppg, hauling in 8.1 rpg, and leading the country in blocked shots with a whooping 5.7 per contest. Releford (13.1 ppg, 3.0 apg) and Elijah Johnson (10.0 ppg, 4.9 apg) are two very talented guards to complement McLemore in the backcourt.
Colorado has proven itself to be a very good team with weapons on the inside as well as along the perimeter, so it is sure to give Kansas all it can handle. That said, the Jayhawks simply have more potent weapons, and at home, they should be able to capture their sixth straight win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kansas 74, Colorado 68
12/08 10:47:05 ET