Florida Gulf Coast (0-0) at (24) Kansas (1-0)
Tuesday, November 18th, 9:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Allen Fieldhouse (16,300) -- Lawrence, Kansas. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: FGCU 0-0, Kansas 1-0. Away Record: FGCU 0-0, Kansas 0-0. Neutral Record: FGCU 0-0, Kansas 0-0. Conference Record: FGCU 0-0, Kansas 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The 24th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks are set to do battle with the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles in a non-conference clash.
In their first season at the Division I level, the Eagles went 10-21 overall and 6-10 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. FGCU is still in its probation period and will not be able to participate in the A-Sun Tournament for the next few seasons. The Eagles are without four starters and 11 letterwinners from a year ago, leaving head coach Dave Balza with a lot of work to do. Clearly, the team is a big underdog heading into tonight's clash.
Kansas opened the season on Sunday with a 71-56 decision over UMKC. In 2007-08, Kansas won its third national championship and first since 1988 with a victory over Memphis in a game for the ages. Head coach Bill Self elected to stay in Lawrence after being tempted by is alma mater, Oklahoma State. Self also guided the Jayhawks to their third straight Big 12 Tournament title last season, but with no starters back from that club, things figure to be a lot tougher this time around.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between Florida Gulf Coast and Kansas on the hardwood.
Delvin Franklin is the lone starter back in the fold for Florida Gulf Coast, and the 6-2 guard averaged 9.2 ppg last season. He will be counted on for a lot more than scoring this year and figures to draw considerable defensive attention from Kansas in this contest. On a positive note, the Eagles welcome one of the most heralded recruiting classes in school history and they will also have the services of Reed Baker, Kyle Marks and Ed Rolax, all of whom redshirted during the 2007-08 season. Franklin is the lone senior on the roster, so he will be asked to exhibit leadership.
Kansas did not play a perfect game by any means in the season opener against UMKC. The Jayhawks connected on only 1-of-13 three-pointers in the clash and missed 13 free throws. They also finished with 11 assists against 15 turnovers. Fortunately, they were able to earn a 46-36 rebounding advantage and limit the Kangaroos to 29 percent shooting from the field. Sherron Collins scored 16 points for Kansas in the victory, and Cole Aldrich added 13 points. Tyrel Reed pitched in 12 points for the Jayhawks, who got 15 rebounds from Markieff Morris. Collins was a significant contributor to last year's title run for Kansas, and he will be counted on to produce at an even higher level in 2008-09. The 5-11 Collins averaged 9.3 ppg and 3.1 apg in a supporting role, and the former McDonald's All-American is off to strong start.
There is no reason to expect anything other than a Kansas blowout. There is plenty of talent on the roster, and Florida Gulf Coast will simply be overmatched.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kansas 80, Florida Gulf Coast 55
11/18 10:32:13 ET