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Archive for Monday, January 6, 1992

ACCURACY HAS BEEN KU KEY AFTER 10 CONTESTS

January 6, 1992

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Ten games into the Kansas basketball season and the Jayhawks' personality has been pretty well established.

Kansas depends on its guards, relies on its depth and hopes one or more of its big men will produce points.

Let's start with the backcourt.

Incumbent Adonis Jordan and Northwestern transfer Rex Walters have been nothing short of terrific. Walters and Jordan roommates, by the way rank 1-2 in scoring at 15.5 and 14.0 points a game respectively.

Look closely at the numbers and their shooting percentages stick out like strobe lights. They're almost equal and very, very un-guardlike. Jordan is shooting 60 percent; Walters 59.7. From beyond the three-point arc, Jordan is hitting 50 percent (13 of 26) and Walters 48 percent (24 of 50).

OVER THE long haul, it's doubtful either Jordan or Walters can maintain that kind of accuracy. Then again, it's unlikely newcomers Ben Davis and Eric Pauley will remain so inconsistent inside.

Saturday night at SMU had to be the nadir for Pauley, the juco transfer from California. He shot zeroes as many times as cats have lives all from point-blank range, too.

Pauley's shooting percentage, once over 60 percent, has plummeted to 45.9. Meanwhile Davis, who missed seven of 11 shots in Dallas, has plunged from over 60 percent to exactly 50 percent.

Kansas' only consistent inside performer has been Richard Scott. The 6-6 sophomore made six of nine shots against the Ponies and his shooting percentage actually dropped from 70.3 to 69.9. That's right. . .69.9.

Roy Williams' philosophy on the offensive end isn't a closely guarded secret. Look for the easy shot inside or shoot the trey. KU's guards have been hitting that three-pointer and, when all the inside guys are hot, the Jayhawks are a threat for the century mark.

THAT HASN'T happened the last two times out, of course. Kansas dodged a runaway train from Pepperdine in Allen Fieldhouse last Thursday night, then posted a lackluster 79-67 road victory over a so-so SMU team two nights later.

"It was not," Williams reflected, "a classic."

Ah, but it WAS a classic case of playing not to lose instead of playing to win a common malady that afflicts undefeated sports teams. Kansas is 10-0 and needs a test. Kansas needs to face a Top 25 team in order to reaquire its resolve.

Wichita State isn't that team. The Shockers are, in effect, another SMU. That is to say, another ordinary team that will play over its head because it is facing a nationally ranked team.

"It won't be easy," Jordan said about Wednesday night's visit to Levitt Arena. "The No. 4 team in the country. . .in-state rivalry. . .they're home. They'll be on cloud nine."

KANSAS WILL probably be on cloud six or seven. No team can play an entire schedule at a fever pitch. Kansas certainly didn't in last week's two games. But the Jayhawks won 'em both and, as Williams noted afterward, "Any win in college basketball, especially on the road, is very important."

After Wichita State, Kansas will entertain Louisville the Cardinals will probably drop out of the Top 25 this week on Saturday, then travel to Missouri for the Big Eight opener a week from tonight.

Will Kansas and Missouri go into that game in Columbia unbeaten? Or will one of them slip up this week?

Kansas has seemed ripe for the plucking lately. But this is a new week and, with Missouri looming, it's time for the Jayhawks to rekindle the flame.

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