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Archive for Saturday, December 10, 2005

Cal coach won’t overlook KU

Jayhawks favored to beat Bears despite 3-4 mark

December 10, 2005

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— Kansas University's basketball team takes a sub-.500 record into today's game against California.

Still, the Jayhawks (3-4) enter the nonconference battle as a 31/2-point favorite over the Bears (6-1) in the 11 a.m. tip at KU's home away from home, Kemper Arena.

"You can't define their team by their record," Cal coach Ben Braun told the Oakland Tribune. "They've had a pretty good schedule, and I'm looking less at their record than their personnel."

KU's schedule, on paper, has been a bit tougher than Cal's. The Jayhawks have fallen to Arizona, Arkansas, Nevada and Saint Joseph's while beating Idaho State, Chaminade and Western Illinois.

Cal dropped its opener at Eastern Michigan and since has rolled over Long Beach State, Northern Colorado, Northeastern, San Jose State, Akron and San Diego State in games played in Berkeley, Calif.

The Bears' schedule toughens starting today. Cal will meet DePaul on Dec. 21, then travel Dec. 29 and 31 to USC and UCLA before playing Oregon on Jan. 5.

"It is a game that gives us an opportunity to get ready for Pac-10 play, hopefully for (NCAA) Tournament play," said Braun, now in his 11th year at Cal.

¢ More on Omar: California sophomore guard Omar Wilkes told the San Francisco Chronicle it was a shock when the coach who recruited him, Roy Williams, left for North Carolina prior to his freshman season. Wilkes showed at KU to play for coach Bill Self, but elected to transfer after his freshman season (2003-04).

"You could never predict Roy Williams leaving Kansas," Wilkes told the paper. "It would be like (Mike) Krzyzewski leaving Duke. Initially, I was sad. It was quite a shock. It was kind of a bitter moment."

Of Wilkes' return to KU country to play today, Braun told the paper: "I don't think Omar has circled this as the game, but it's like me going back to Eastern Michigan (where he once was head coach). It has some significance."

¢ He can pass, too: Cal sophomore power forward Leon Powe not only is a beast inside -- he helps the Bears' outside game, kicking the ball out to three-point bombers.

In Tuesday's victory over San Jose State, guards Richard Midgley and Ayinde Ubaka combined to hit seven of 12 threes. Powe had 18 points and three assists. He has six assists this season after recording 19 his freshman season.

"We knew they were going to double the post. We worked on it all week," Midgley said after the game. "The posts did a great job when they were doubled of kicking it out. A few of us were open and we knocked them down."

Cal has hit 40 percent of its threes this year (48-of-120) after finishing dead-last in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting the past two seasons.

¢ This, that: The Jayhawks have a 79-24 all-time record at Kemper Arena. KU fell to Oklahoma State, 78-75, in last year's Big 12 Tournament semis at Kemper. ... Today's game is called the "American Century Investments Shootout."

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