Like just about every major college basketball team, Pepperdine plays a Division II opponent once or twice a season.
Boredom gave way to shock waves last Saturday when Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo defeated Pepperdine, 76-72, in overtime at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu.
Pepperdine has dropped four of its last seven after starting 4-0.
"I am concerned about the development of our basketball team, but it is not time to panic," said Pepperdine coach Tom Asbury. "This is basically the same team that won the regular season conference championship by four games last season. Right now we are not operating on all cylinders, but that is nothing that a few wins cannot cure."
The Waves, 7-4 overall, will face unbeaten Kansas tonight. Tipoff is 7:08 at Allen Fieldhouse with a live telecast available on channels 13 and 62.
No. 4-ranked Kansas doesn't appear to be a cure-all for the Waves' woes, but Asbury is looking ahead.
"WE ARE fortunate to have a nine-day break in the schedule following the game at Kansas, and that will be an excellent chance to retool things for the opening of league play," the Pepperdine coach said.
Last year, Pepperdine had a 6-8 record after falling to KU, 88-62, and San Diego, 91-88, in Malibu. The Waves then won 16 in a row, capturing the West Coast Conference and advancing to the NCAA Tournament where they fell to Seton Hall, 71-51, in the first round.
"Kansas is playing with tremendous confidence right now and they have so many weapons on their roster," Asbury said. "They were the best defensive team we faced last season, and we played a few quality ballclubs such as Arizona, DePaul, Temple and UCLA."
Defense saved the day on the beach last year. KU led 50-47 with 13:57 left, then went on a 21-0 run during the next 5:42.
"WE HURT 'EM last year with our pressure. We scored 21 in a row. Our defense got after it. At the end, we had some big steals," KU coach Roy Williams said. "We laid it up five or six times in a row."
Doug Christie, a 6-6 senior guard, scored 18 and 6-8 senior forward Geoff Lear potted 16 in last year's game. Christie and Lear are the Waves' top scorers, averaging 17.5 and 14.7 points this season.
With KU students gone, general admission tickets are available for tonight's game. They cost $14.