Miami University’s basketball team, which has already played the Nos. 1- and 2-ranked teams in the country, today takes on No. 3-rated Kansas University in a 5 p.m. tipoff in Allen Fieldhouse.
Coach Charlie Coles’ RedHawks (5-8) have lost at Duke (79-45, Nov. 16) and at Ohio State (66-45, Nov. 26).
“To me, Duke and Ohio State’s scores and everything ... they have played far superior to this point than anybody else,” KU coach Bill Self said.
Miami also lost to No. 7-rated San Diego State, 77-56, on Nov. 22 on Miami’s campus in Oxford, Ohio. Miami has also lost to Wisconsin-Green Bay, Dayton, Wright State, Cincinnati and Belmont and defeated Towson, IUPUI, Xavier, Saginaw Valley State and Troy.
“The one thing about Miami ... they really control the tempo. They are giving up 68 points a game (while averaging 61),” Self said.
“When we played them a couple years ago, we were the first team to score 70 points on them in 80 games or something,” he added of KU’s 78-54 victory on Dec. 22, 2007, in Lawrence. “Charlie does a great job of controlling tempo, which is good for us to play against. We have to learn to grind it out in some games.”
Mid-American Conference member Miami, which has lost three straight, is led by junior forward Julian Mavunga (13.2 ppg, 7.0 rpg). Senior forward Nick Winbush averages 11.6 points and 5.8 boards, with guard/forward Antonio Ballard right behind at 11.5 ppg and 5.8 rpg.
“Sure, we’d like to be able to try to speed them up and play to our depth,” Self said, “but it’s much easier to slow a team down than speed a team up. Tyshawn (Taylor) is back now (after getting stranded in New Jersey on holiday break) and with Josh (Selby) ... of course we don’t have our full complement of players with ‘Rio (Mario Little, suspended), but hopefully we can play to our depth and maybe play guys shorter periods of time as opposed to having one guy play 32 or 34 minutes.”
Miami coach on KU
“You know what, since Duke has lost Kyrie Irving, some people are thinking Kansas is the best team in the country right now. I don’t know if they are or not,” Coles told the Dayton Daily News.
“They’re talented and well-coached, the same as with Duke, playing in a legendary fieldhouse. It never hurts you to go into those places, even though our record isn’t glowing. I think we’re a little bit better than we were at Duke. We know more what to expect.”
The colorful Coles had a funny quote printed in the Dayton Daily News after Thursday’s 83-72 loss to Belmont in Nashville.
“I’m kind of anxious to get there,” Coles said of KU. “They can’t do to us what ain’t been done to us, right? We’re kind of whipping boys across the country. We’ll go high and low to get a spanking.”
KU is 1-0 all-time against Miami and 9-1 versus the 12 MAC schools.
KU forward Thomas Robinson, who started last game, might not start today. Self said his lineup is a game-day decision.
“I think for this team it would be best for me to come off the bench,” Robinson said. “I am happy with whatever. At the same time, I think my role would play a better part if I am sixth man.”
Why? “Actually coach mentioned it to me and it’s something I agree with. Whatever happens, happens.”