(6) Kansas (6-1) at Colorado (8-1)
Saturday, December 7, 3:15 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Coors Events Center (11,064) -- Boulder, Colorado. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Kansas 3-0, Colorado 6-0. Away Record: Kansas 0-0, Colorado 2-0. Neutral Record: Kansas 3-1, Colorado 0-1. Conference Record: Kansas 0-0, Colorado 0-0. Series Record: Kansas leads, 123-39.
GAME NOTES: Sixth-ranked Kansas plays its first true road game of the season, as the Jayhawks invade Boulder this weekend for a showdown with former conference foe Colorado at the Coors Events Center.
Bill Self's Jayhawks opened the season with five straight wins and were clearly the favorite in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament last week. However, Kansas fell to Villanova in the semifinal round (63-59), before bouncing back a day later to finish off tourney play with a 67-63 win over UTEP.
Tad Boyle's Buffaloes are off to a fast start and could be a real player in the Pac-12 this season. Colorado dropped its season opener to nationally- ranked Baylor (72-60), but has won eight games since, including a 67-62 victory over instate rival Colorado State on Tuesday.
These teams are former conference foes in the Big Seven, Big Eight and Big 12. The series dates back to 1931, with Kansas owning a sizeable 123-39 advantage all-time. The Jayhawks have won 19 straight meetings and 46 of the last 47 dating back to 1991.
After scoring 80 or more points in the first five games of the season, the Jayhawks have had a bit of a power shortage in the last two games. In the win over the Miners, KU shot an uncharacteristically low .393 from the floor, a number weighed down by a .263 effort from 3-point range (5-of-19). Sophomore Perry Ellis led the way with 19 points. Freshman Wayne Selden Jr. finished with 14 points, while junior Naadir Tharpe tallied 11. Freshman star Andrew Wiggins struggled offensively, with just six points, on 2-of-9 shooting, but did tie for team-high honors with seven rebounds.
Despite the offensive shortcomings the last two games, Kansas remains an efficient team at that end of the floor, averaging 80.1 ppg on .501 shooting. The squad has also done its work on the glass, with a +7.3 rebounding margin. Ellis leads the team in scoring at 15.1 ppg and ranks second in rebounding (6.6 rpg). Wiggins has produced in a number of areas and ranks second in scoring (14.3 ppg) and third in rebounding (5.6 rpg).
The Buffaloes have also shown themselves to be tough across the board, averaging a healthy 77.2 ppg, while limiting foes to just 64.9. In addition, the team outrebounds opponents by almost 10 boards per game, and is forcing just over 14 turnovers per outing. Junior Spencer Dinwiddie is both a potent scorer (15.3 ppg) and deft distributor (3.1 apg), leading the team in both categories. Fellow junior Askia Booker (11.4 ppg) adds depth in the backcourt, while frontcourt balance comes in the form of 6-10 sophomore Josh Scott, who averages 12.2 points and a team-high 8.7 rebounds per game.
Dinwiddie was once again the driving force in Colorado's five-point win over Colorado State, as he accounted for over 40 percent of the offense, netting 28 points on an 8-of-14 shooting performance, while going a perfect 11-of-11 from the free-throw line. Booker added 12 points and Jaron Hopkins came off the bench to tally 10 for the Buffaloes, who shot just .404 from the field in the game.
The Jayhawks have owned this series over the last decade or so, but keeping it going this weekend won't come easy. The Buffaloes are settling in and playing extremely well, but to get past Kansas, Colorado will need production from a variety of sources and that hasn't been the storyline for the Buffs thus far.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kansas 74, Colorado 70
12/07 10:39:02 ET