Lawrence, KS – Fresh off a disappointing loss in the ranked Kansas Jayhawks conference clash with the Florida Atlantic Owls.
FAU comes into this contest with a 3-4 record, and the Owls have split their last four games after opening the season 0-2. In the most recent outing, the team dropped a 68-55 decision at South Florida on Saturday, and FAU averaged just 55.5 points in the last two setbacks. The Owls will face a few more top- notch opponents before beginning Sun Belt Conference play at Louisiana on New Year's Eve, as bouts with Mississippi State, Miami and Harvard are on the immediate horizon.
Kansas is just a game over .500 after five games, a somewhat shocking early development when you consider the team's track record over the years. Still, losses to Kentucky and Duke aren't anything to be ashamed of, and the 68-61 setback to the Blue Devils took place in Hawaii last week. The Jayhawks are expected to challenge once again for the Big 12 Conference crown, and a December 10 clash with Big Ten heavyweight Ohio State will tell coach Bill Self and the KU faithful whether or not the team is ready for the rigors of league play.
This bout marks only the second all-time meeting between these two teams on the hardwood, and Kansas won the first with an 87-49 triumph at home back on November 28, 2007.
Florida Atlantic is about as ordinary a team as you're going to find, at least from a statistical standpoint. The Owls are averaging 67.6 ppg in hitting 41.6 percent of their field goal attempts, which includes a 36.4 percent showing from three-point range. Defensively, the team allows 69.9 ppg on typical shooting outputs of 40.2 percent overall and 36.8 percent from beyond the arc. The Owls are being outrebounded by fewer than two boards per contest, while they've committed just four more turnovers than they've created. Greg Gantt leads FAU in scoring with his 14.7 ppg, while Omari Grier (10.4 ppg), Kore White (10.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Pablo Bertone (10.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg) round out the unit's double-digit scorers. Grier scored a career-high 20 points off the bench in the Owls' loss at USF over the weekend.
Kansas is doing a solid job offensively through the first five games, netting 73.0 ppg on the strength of its 47.1 percent shooting effort and +5.6 rebounding margin. At the other end of the court, the Jayhawks are yielding 63.2 ppg, with foes hitting their total field goals 40.5 percent of the time, but their three-pointers at an even better 41.4 percent. Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson are both averaging 16.0 ppg, with the former also handing out 3.8 apg and having more made free throws (30) than his closest teammate has attempts (22), and the latter coming up with a whopping 12.0 rpg. Elijah Johnson (11.6 ppg) is the third and final double-digit scorer for Kansas coming into this game, and he also brings quick hands to the floor, dishing out 3.8 apg while coming up with a team-high 10 steals.