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Archive for Friday, December 4, 2009

Tougher tests await KU men’s hoops

Kansas guard Conner Teahan defends Alcorn State guard Tony Eackles, who puts up a shot during the second half, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Conner Teahan defends Alcorn State guard Tony Eackles, who puts up a shot during the second half, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

December 4, 2009

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The stress level of Kansas University basketball fans has been mighty low on five of six game days this young season.

The No. 1-ranked Jayhawks (6-0) have outscored the opposition, 91.8 points per game to 54.8.

Throw out a narrow 57-55 neutral-court victory over Memphis and KU has pummeled its foes, 98.8 ppg to 54.8. KU has bludgeoned Hofstra, Central Arkansas, Oakland, Tennessee Tech and Alcorn State by a scoring margin of 44 points per contest, making for some festive atmospheres in Allen Fieldhouse.

“I don’t think we’ve gotten out of it what probably I would have hoped yet,” KU coach Bill Self said of the nonconference schedule, “but I don’t know that for a fact because I don’t know how good the teams are that we’ve played yet.

“Let’s wait and see how they do when they get in conference play. Maybe we played pretty well. I do know this, it’s getting ready to get much more difficult real fast. There will not be any games on our schedule you’ll be able to point to and say, ‘OK, that’s a game they (Jayhawks) won’t be challenged.’

“You get to the Radfords, Cornells, Belmonts, LaSalles ... and of course we’ve got Michigan and Cal (at home) and are at UCLA, Tennessee and Temple. From this point forward, that’s probably the best nonconference schedule anybody will have in the country, I’d think.”

UCLA is off to a shocking 2-4 start entering Sunday’s 4:30 p.m. game against KU in Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles. California is 4-3, Michigan 3-3, Tennessee 6-1 and Temple 5-2.

“I’m not going to apologize for our schedule so far,” Self said. “I think Oakland (3-4) is a good team and will probably win the Summit (League). Tennessee Tech is a good game, and Hofstra’s a good game, but it’ll get tougher as we go.”

Of the rout against (4-3) Hofstra, Self noted: “We won that game going away, but then they are two points down with a minute to go at Connecticut the next game (in Huskies’ 76-67 victory).”

The Jayhawks’ strength of schedule currently is 339 out of 347 teams according to Kenpom.com. That ranking obviously will improve dramatically in coming weeks and months.

KU in the first six years of the Self era has had strength of schedules of 31, 10, 57, 47, 4 and 13, according to Kenpom.com.

Self likes the way KU’s slate is set up.

“You go to Memphis on a neutral site, it was plenty for our guys, as we saw,” Self said. “Temple will be a handful on their campus. Tennessee will be a handful on their campus, and UCLA will be a handful on their campus. I don’t see any reason we need to play more than three road games and a neutral game in a given season,” he added, aware that because of financial reasons, the Jayhawks prefer to play a batch of home games each season.

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