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Wildcats and Jayhawks square off in Kansas City

The Kansas Jayhawks take aim at their fifth straight win tonight, as they tangle with the Davidson Wildcats in the M&I Kansas City Shootout.

In contrast to their counterpart, the Wildcats are hoping to avoid a third consecutive loss as they dropped decisions to both Vanderbilt (87-83) and Charlotte (84-61) before taking a nine-day break for finals. Davidson is currently 6-3 on the season, and the team is already 2-0 in Southern Conference action, posting victories over both Wofford and Furman to begin the month of December.

Kansas has been idle since knocking off Ohio State at home on December 10, 78-67, a win that improved the Jayhawks to 5-0 in Lawrence and 7-2 on the year. KU's only two losses this season have come against perennial national powers in Kentucky and Duke. Coach Bill Self's squad is 13-2 all-time at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, and the Jayhawks will open Big 12 Conference play at home against Kansas State on January 4.

This game marks just the second meeting all-time between these two teams on the hardwood, the first coming in the Elite Eight of the 2008 NCAA Tournament, a game in which Kansas claimed a 59-57 victory en route to winning the national championship.

It's a wonder Davidson is three games over .500 at the moment, as the team is being outshot both from three-point range and the floor overall on average. An 80-percent effort from the foul line has certainly helped matters, as has the fact that the Wildcats own favorable margins in both rebounding (+4.3) and turnovers (+0.8). The team boasts four double-digit scorers in the starting five, with De'Mon Brooks leading the way with 16.0 ppg. A 50.9 percent shooter, the sophomore forward also paces the club with his 7.0 rpg. JP Kuhlman (13.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg), Jake Cohen (12.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and Nik Cochran (10.2 ppg) have all performed well for the most part, but long-time coach Bob McKillop knows his team needs to tighten the reins defensively if it hopes to win the Southern Conference and reach the NCAA Tournament yet again. Kuhlman scored 13 points to lead four players in double figures, but the Wildcats shot just 35.6 percent from the field, committed 19 turnovers and allowed Charlotte to hit 51.8 percent of its total shots in what wound up as a 23-point loss to the 49ers.

Kansas has just two double-digit scorers in Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor, the duo combining to account for 45 percent of the team's 75.3 ppg this season. Robinson is actually averaging a double-double (17.8 ppg, 11.4 rpg), as he makes an early claim for Big 12 Player of the Year honors, and Taylor (15.9 ppg, 4.7 apg) serves as the Jayhawks' primary playmaker as well. Overall, KU is shooting 48.6 percent from the floor, while making good on 37.0 percent of its three-point attempts. A 73.5 percent showing at the charity stripe has helped the cause, as has a resounding +8.3 edge on the glass. The Jayhawks were on top of their game at both ends of the court in the win over Ohio State, as they shot 58.3 percent from the field, draining nine three- pointers along the way, while holding the Buckeyes to just 38.7 percent field goal efficiency. Robinson scored 21 points and pulled down seven rebounds in the win, while Elijah Johnson added 15 points, and Travis Releford chipped in with 10. It's important to note that OSU's super sophomore Jared Sullinger did not play in the game due to injury.