Friday’s NCAA Tournament preview | (15) Detroit vs. (2) Kansas
• WHEN/WHERE: About 8:57 p.m. Friday at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.
• TV/RADIO: truTV (Ch. 74 and 220 on Time Warner, Ch. 47 on Comcast in Missouri, Ch. 31 on Comcast in Kansas, Ch. 63 on Surewest, Ch. 164 on AT&T U-Verse, Ch. 246 on DirecTV and Ch. 204 on Dish Network); KCSP (610 AM)
• ABOUT DETROIT (22-13): The Titans were 4-6 in the games Eli Holman didn’t play because of a suspension. With him, they’re 18-7. … There are no common opponents between the schools. … The Titans have met two teams ranked at tip-off, falling at No. 16 Alabama 62-54 on Dec. 11 and No. 17 Mississippi State 80-75 on Dec. 17. … Detroit asks not be called Detroit Mercy. In 1990, the University of Detroit consolidated with Mercy College. The school prefers Detroit, The University of Detroit Mercy and Detroit Titans. It does not like U of D Mercy, Detroit Mercy or UD Mercy.
• ABOUT KANSAS (27-6): The Jayhawks open their 23rd straight NCAA Tournament — the game’s longest current streak — and are a No. 2 seed for the first time since 2003. That run worked, as KU reached the national title game. … Detroit was the opponent for Danny Manning’s first home game in Lawrence in 1984, and KU is 3-0 in the series. … Kansas started its 2008 national title run in Omaha, and the Jayhawks are staying in the same hotel and practicing at the same high school (Central) as they did then.
Detroit stands tall with LaMarcus Lowe and Eli Holman, both 6-foot-10 seniors. Lowe starts. Holman was the Horizon Conference’s sixth man of the year. But the Titans don’t dominate the boards. They average 34.1 rebounds to opponents’ 32. Kansas averages nearly 37 rebounds per game and is led by Thomas Robinson, whose 11.8 average ranks second nationally. Jeff Withey is on his way to one of the great shot-blocking seasons in KU history.
Edge >> Kansas
Ray McCallum, the son of the coach, was a McDonald’s All-American and a top-shelf recruit. He averages 15.6 points but can be erratic on the deep ball, averaging 25.0 percent on threes. Jason Calliste, who hits 35.9 percent of his shots from behind the arc, is the team’s top perimeter shooter. Tyshawn Taylor has topped 20 points in four of his last five games. KU would love to get Elijah Johnson hot again. He made five of seven threes against Texas A&M.
Edge >> Kansas
Holman doesn’t start for Detroit and he leads the team in rebounding at 6.8. Donavan Foster is a playmaker who spells McCallum. Conner Teahan is Kansas’ three-point specialist, but he didn’t score in each of the previous two games. Kevin Young has chipped in active minutes lately.
Edge >> Detroit
The Titans will have the chip-on-the-shoulder underdog mentality, and the smack talk this week has about evened out. Detroit coach Ray McCallum, who spent two seasons coaching against Kansas as an Oklahoma assistant from 2004-06, is making his third trip to the NCAA, the first with this program. It’s been six years since an opening-round bounce out for Kansas. Bill Self is 18-7 at Kansas in the NCAA Tournament.
Edge >> Kansas
The Titans deserved a seed better than No. 15. They’re athletic and talented. If there’s a Big 12 equivalent, it’s Oklahoma State. The Jayhawks have had a week to lick their wounds from the conference tournament loss to Baylor and should be in good shape to advance to the next round.