Belmont at No. 9 Kansas
• WHEN/WHERE: 6 p.m. Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence
• TV/RADIO: ESPNU; KCSP (610 AM)
• ABOUT BELMONT (7-2): Senior guard Ian Clark is a true marksman, hitting 56 percent (38 for 68) of his three-point attempts in nine games. Its not just Clark, either. The Bruins have made a name for themselves as a program that wants to stretch the court. Belmont has the third-most field goals in Division I (behind Duke and Troy) since 1996, and the Bruins play a smallish lineup that poses matchup problems on the perimeter. Belmont coach Rick Byrd (643 career wins) is in his 27th season at the school. The Bruins lost 81-51 to Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 29, 2009, the only meeting between the two schools.
• ABOUT KANSAS (7-1): Freshman Ben McLemore has shown signs of being a budding star, averaging 16 points and 5.6 rebounds in his first eight games. Its solid production, but KU coach Bill Self believes it can be even better in time. McLemore, for instance, is shooting 31 percent from three-point range and will continue to become more comfortable handling the ball on the perimeter. McLemores play has made the Jayhawks reserve guard play a little more palatable. In the long term, though, Self may need more production from sophomore Naadir Tharpe and/or Rio Adams, and theyll get time to progress during the holidays. Reserve Justin Wesley, who has played just 35 minutes this season, broke a finger during practice Thursday and will be in a splint for two weeks and out for three weeks, according to Self.
• BOTTOM LINE: Senior center Jeff Withey (5.6 blocks per game) has been at his best when hes had another big man to bang against. Belmont will attempt to combat Withey with a team of skilled guards and small forwards. The Jayhawks may have to eek out an ugly victory. But as along as they defend, their talent and athleticism should overwhelm Belmont.
| Rustin Dodd, email@example.com