(21) San Diego State (11-1) at (16) Kansas (9-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, January 5, 4:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Allen Fieldhouse (16,300) -- Lawrence, Kansas.
Television: CBS. Home Record: SDSU 6-1, Kansas 6-0. Away Record: SDSU 2-0,
Kansas 0-2. Neutral Record: SDSU 3-0, Kansas 3-1. Conference Record: SDSU 1-0,
Kansas 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: One of three games on the Sunday schedule that involves a pair of
nationally-ranked programs, the 16th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks welcome the 21st-
ranked San Diego State Aztecs to Allen Fieldhouse for a non-conference affair.
Kansas, which is led by head coach Bill Self, has won 68 straight games at
home versus non-league opponents, and is the second-winningest program in
college basketball history overall, so the Aztecs have their work cut out for
them. Despite having Andrew Wiggins, who is considered one of the top talents
in the nation, the Jayhawks already have three defeats even before Big 12
Conference play begins on Wednesday versus Oklahoma in Norman.
However, the good news for Kansas is that the team is currently enjoying a
three-game win streak thanks to a 93-83 triumph over Toledo on Dec. 30.
As for the Aztecs, they are cruising along with a 10-game win streak at the
moment, just the fifth time in the 93-year history of the program that they've
been able to mount a winning streak of double figures. Following a crushing
118-35 win over St. Katherine College on Dec. 27 that served to pad quite a
few stats, San Diego State turned around and kicked off the Mountain West
Conference portion of its schedule with a 71-61 triumph versus Colorado State
on New Year's Day in Fort Collins.
This is the first meeting between these two programs in more than three
decades, and just the third overall. The Aztecs won the very first encounter
in 1978 when they took down seventh-ranked Kansas, 81-69, at the San Diego
Sports Arena. At the time, the Jayhawks were the highest-ranked program SDSU
had ever defeated. A year later Kansas returned the favor in Lawrence, 79-66.
The Aztecs celebrated the new calendar year by taking down Colorado State on
the road earlier this week, scoring the first six points of the meeting and
never looking back. Xavier Thames paced the visitors with his game-high 23
points, adding five steals and three rebounds, while Winston Shepard tacked on
17 points. Josh Davis tallied just seven points, but at the same time ripped
down a game-high 15 rebounds for SDSU.
Thames leads the team in scoring overall this season with his 16.3 ppg, one of
only two players to have started all 12 games. Thames, who is shooting an
impressive 47.4 percent behind the 3-point line, is also first with 30 assists
and 24 steals. Shepard accounts for 13.3 ppg and Davis continues to hover in
the vicinity of a double-double with 8.8 points and 11.1 rebounds per contest
for a unit that is holding the competition to just 53.3 ppg.
Against an undefeated Toledo squad, the Jayhawks had their hands full but the
hosts managed to withstand 18 turnovers and a disappointing 63.6 percent
showing at the free-throw line to come away with the win. Perry Ellis picked
up some style points with his double-double which consisted of 21 points and
11 rebounds, both of which were game highs, while Joel Embiid turned the trick
as well with 14 points and 10 boards. Fellow starters Wiggins and Naadir
Tharpe stepped up with 20 points apiece, the latter handing out eight assists.
Wiggins, who figures to be one-and-done at the collegiate level, tends to get
most of the attention as he averages a team-best 15.9 ppg and is one of the
better rebounders with 5.4 rpg, but there is still plenty more talent on the
Kansas roster to speak of. Ellis (13.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and Embiid (10.8 ppg, 6.9
rpg) have proven that they can coexist in the paint and both be very
successful as each shoots better than 60 percent from the field in order
to lift the squad to an impressive 50.9 percent overall.
One of the top shooting teams in the country, the Jayhawks might have a hard
time finding clean looks at the basket if SDSU decides to slow the pace and
frustrate the hosts. However, even with running four forwards in the starting
lineup, the Aztecs will still be challenged on the glass and that could make
all the difference.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kansas 77, San Diego State 69
01/05 11:04:59 ET
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