Central Arkansas (1-1) at (1) Kansas (2-0)
Thursday, March 19th, 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: ESPN Full Court. Home Record: C. Arkansas 1-1, Kansas 1-0. Away Record: C. Arkansas 0-0, Kansas 0-0. Neutral Record: C. Arkansas 0-0, Kansas 1-0. Conference Record: C. Arkansas 0-0, Kansas 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The top-ranked Kansas Jayhawks survived a scare on Tuesday, and they will get back to action tonight against Central Arkansas in the second game of the Hall of Fame Showcase.
Central Arkansas opened the season with a 68-40 romp over Hendrix, but the team dropped to 1-1 overall on Monday with a 71-67 loss to Tennessee Tech. Considering the fact that Coach Rand Chappell's team finished a mere 3-13 in Southland Conference play a year ago, a victory over the top-ranked team in the nation would be a monumental upset.
Kansas was pushed to the limit by an underrated Memphis team on Tuesday, but Bill Self's club showed plenty of mental toughness to claim a 57-55 victory. The Jayhawks are now 2-0 on the young season, as they opened with a 101-65 romp over Hofstra on Saturday. The Jayhawks have won five straight Big 12 titles, but anything short of a national championship in 2009-10 would likely be considered a disappointment.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between Central Arkansas and Kansas on the hardwood.
In the narrow loss to Tennessee Tech earlier this week, Central Arkansas connected on only 37.7 percent of its field goal attempts, including a 3-of-19 effort from three-point range. The Bears finished with a mere six assists against 14 turnovers, and the only reason that they were able to stay close in the contest was because of a 24-13 edge in points from the foul line. Mike Pouncy and Carlos Dos Santos scored 14 points apiece to lead the way in the setback, while Tadre Sheppard posted 13 points and 11 rebounds off the bench. Mitch Rueter, who also scored 13 points, finished with nine boards. Central Arkansas shot under 40 percent from the floor in its season-opening victory and had more turnovers than assists in that game as well, so there are some problems to be worked out offensively.
Against Memphis on Tuesday, Kansas turned the ball over 21 times, and the team was fortunate to overcome all of those miscues. Four players reached double figures in scoring for the Jayhawks, and center Cole Aldrich led the way with 18 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots. Sherron Collins pitched in 12 points, and Xavier Henry added 11 points. Rounding out the foursome was Marcus Morris with 10 points off the bench, as he was the only reserve to score in the contest. Kansas connected on 46.5 percent of its field goal attempts and limited Memphis to 34.5 percent efficiency. The Jayhawks also earned a 36-25 rebounding advantage and scored five more points from the foul line than their counterparts. Henry scored 27 points in the season-opening victory over Hofstra, and he may be looked upon as a big-time scorer all season.
Obviously, this game will likely result in a blowout victory for Kansas, which is far superior to Central Arkansas in all aspects of the game. Coach Self wasn't happy with his team's performance against Memphis, so expect a highly motivated group of Jayhawks tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kansas 96, Central Arkansas 50
11/19 10:37:25 ET