Longwood (0-0) at (7) Kansas (0-0)
Friday, November 12th, 8:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Allen Fieldhouse (16,300) -- Lawrence, Kansas. Television: Jayhawk TV. Home Record: Longwood 0-0, Kansas 0-0. Away Record: Longwood 0-0, Kansas 0-0. Neutral Record: Longwood 0-0, Kansas 0-0. Conference Record: Longwood 0-0, Kansas 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The seventh-ranked Kansas Jayhawks enter the 2010-11 season with high expectations as usual, and the team will host the Longwood Lancers tonight at Allen Fieldhouse.
Head coach Mike Gillian enters his eighth season at the helm for the Lancers, who finished last season with a 12-19 record. Longwood will need to improve its play on the road, as it won just three of its 17 games away from home in 2009-10. Longwood, a Division I Independent, lost its leading scorer from that team, so it is hard to expect much from coach Gillian's squad.
The Jayhawks are the most decorated team in the Big 12, having won or shared 10 regular-season titles and capturing the league tournament seven times. Kansas won its sixth consecutive Big 12 crown last season, but a quick exit in the NCAA Tournament ruined a tremendous season that included 33 wins against just three losses. As has always been the case under head coach Bill Self, the Jayhawks have plenty of talent on the roster, though they must replace three star players from a year ago.
Tonight's game marks the first-ever meeting between Longwood and Kansas on the hardwood.
With the departure of leading scorer Dana Smith (18.2 ppg), the Lancers will look to junior center Antwan Carter to pick up the slack. Last season, Carter led the team in field goal efficiency and rebounding, sinking 52.4 percent of his shots while grabbing 8.5 boards per contest, while also finishing second on the team with 14.6 ppg. Aaron Mitchell is the lone returning starter for the team, but his 9.0 ppg average of a year ago isn't going to scare the Jayhawks or any other opponent. Overall, Longwood has a fairly solid core of players returning, but the key to a successful season will be how coach Gillian will be able to incorporate the new blood.
It will be interesting to evaluate the chemistry of this Kansas team tonight, as it will play its first meaningful game without departed standouts Sherron Collins, Xavier Henry and Cole Aldrich. The addition of highly-touted freshman Josh Selby was expected to help fill those voids, but he is unlikely to play versus Longwood because of eligibility questions. Tyshawn Taylor (7.2 ppg, 3.4 apg) has the potential to be a star despite a disappointing 2009-10 campaign that was marred by off the court issues, but he wasn't even a starter in a recent exhibition game and may have to earn his minutes early on. Marcus Morris (12.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and twin brother Markieff (6.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg) will provide the muscle down low for Kansas, and that is one aspect of the team that Self can count on. Travis Releford, Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar are all talented guards who will hold the fort down until Selby gets cleared, whenever that may be.
Self isn't playing with a full deck, but don't expect sympathy from anyone. Kansas is still loaded with talent and will crush Longwood.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kansas 99, Longwood 68
11/12 10:38:07 ET