Kansas basketball coach Roy Williams likes his three-guard lineup.
He won't love the setup until the Jayhawks and their three 6-foot-3-or-under starters begin ruling the backboards.
"I am not as comfortable as I'd like to be with our size only because of a lack of rebounding," said Williams, whose Jayhawks grabbed 135 rebounds to the opposition's 108 at last week's three-game Maui Invitational.
"You look at three-game totals everybody will say, 'You are not that bad rebounding. We average 45 rebounds to 36,'" Williams said. "That is so skewed because of how significant the margin was (in the last game)."
The Jayhawks outboarded Seton Hall, 57-32, en route to an 80-62 victory last Wednesday at Lahaina Civic Center. KU was outrebounded 42-35, in a 95-78 loser's bracket victory over Houston one day after snaring a 43-35 rebound advantage in a 93-91 first-round loss to Ball State.
"Nick and Drew basically have done so much of the rebounding," Williams said of forwards Drew Gooden and Nick Collison, who averaged 10.0 and 9.0 rebounds, respectively, in Maui.
Guards Keith Langford and Jeff Boschee averaged 5.3 boards a game respectively, while forward Jeff Carey had 4.0 boards a game. Guards Kirk Hinrich and Aaron Miles contributed 3.7 and 3.3 boards respectively.
"Keith had six rebounds (against Seton Hall). If we can get our small forward or three-man five to six rebounds, it helps," Williams said. "Keith has given us good play."
Williams is pretty much sold on using three guards most of the time, even when freshman forward Wayne Simien returns from arthroscopic knee surgery.
"I try to not plan it all out," Williams said. "Part of coaching is going by the seat of your pants. I think there will be possessions and minutes we'll have three guys in there. The majority of the time, it'll be three true perimeter players, whether it's Jeff, Aaron, Kirk and Keith in the mix. We'll stick with perimeter players the majority of the time."
He hopes when all is said and done the Jayhawks hold similar rebounding totals to last year's 26-7 club. Former Jayhawks Eric Chenowith (7.6 rpg) and Kenny Gregory (7.3) helped KU outrebound the opposition 42.6 to 35.0 per game.
The Jayhawks returned to the mainland Saturday with four double-figure scorers and four players hitting better than 50 percent of their floor shots.
Gooden averages 22.0 points on 51.0 percent shooting. Collison adds 19.7 ppg on 66.7 percent marksmanship (24 of 36). Hinrich averages 14.0 points on 54.5 percent shooting and Langford 11.3 points (45.5 percent). Boschee has hit for 9.7 ppg on 52.4 percent shooting.
As a team, the Jayhawks are hitting 51.3 percent of their shots to opponents' 39.7 percent. KU converted 71.2 percent of its free throws in Hawaii, up from last year's 65.9 percent mark.
The Jayhawks averaged 88.7 points per game and allowed 77.7 Last year KU logged 82.0 points a game to foes' 69.3 mark.
KU will next meet NCAA Div. II Pittsburg State at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday at Allen Fieldhouse.