Kansas University's basketball team may not average 82.7 points per game during the 2003-04 season, as the Jayhawks did a year ago.
Then again ...
"I think it's a possibility," KU junior point guard Aaron Miles said of the Jayhawks again ranking as high as third in the country in scoring.
"For that to happen, we have to guard players and get defensive stops so we can get it and go in transition. We've got to force them to take bad shots and commit turnovers."
Turnovers often lead to uncontested layups.
"Yes, I think we'll run, but that predicates on our defense," junior guard Keith Langford said. "If we play defense better, get in passing lanes and make teams take tough shots, we can have transition. If we don't play defense and let teams score easily, we won't have as many possessions."
Under current KU coach Bill Self, Illinois led the Big Ten in scoring the past three seasons with scoring marks of 74.6, 77.4 and 77.9 points per game.
"The problem in the Big Ten is lack of possessions," Self said. "Teams you are playing may not play quite as fast.
"I think you'll see a style here that may not be as fast as last season. I am not sure coach (Roy) Williams and his staff could play as fast this year after losing Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison, who may have been the two fastest-playing guys in America at their respective positions.
"I think we can be a team that scores in the 80s," said Self, whose preference when not running is to use the high/low offense with one big man near the free-throw line and the other in the paint. "Last year, Kansas averaged 83 points a game. I don't see any reason we can't consistently, over time, be in that range."
KU junior forward Wayne Simien said the Jayhawks might not top last year's scoring feats, but would definitely play an exciting style.
"We still have an array of personalities on this team. We have talented, high-flying players. I just don't think we'll average as many points," Simien said. "Last year it was getting the ball and a big shoot-out. This year, we're focusing on getting defensive stops and limiting fewer possessions."
EA Sports addition: Jason Bueker, a 6-foot-5 sophomore from Springfield, Mo., won the "Rudy contest" Friday at Watson Park and will suit up for EA Sports All-Stars during Tuesday's exhibition game against KU. Tip is 7:05 p.m. at Allen Fieldhouse. Bueker defeated 6-foot-1 Brett Nixon of St. Louis, 11-9, in the one-on-one tournament finals that attracted 24 players.
"Those two were really good players," EA Sports representative Kyle Rohde said.