University of Kansas

Kansas-New Mexico basketball preview

Updated: 2013-12-14T01:54:03Z

• WHEN/WHERE: 6 p.m. Saturday at the Sprint Center

• TV/RADI O: ESPN2; KCSP (610 AM)

• ABOUT KANSAS (6-3): The Jayhawks have lost three straight games just twice during Bill Self’s tenure at Kansas. The first three-game skid came in 2004-05, while the second came last February. After consecutive road losses against Colorado and Florida, KU will be trying to avoid another three-game skid. Kansas freshman center Joel Embiid is expected to make his second straight start after replacing senior Tarik Black in the lineup against Florida. Embiid is averaging 8.9 points and 6.6 rebounds in 20.2 minutes per game. … The Jayhawks had one of their best defensive performances of the season at Florida, holding the Gators to just 37 percent shooting. And swingman Andrew Wiggins is coming off a 26-point, 11-rebound night at Florida.

• ABOUT NEW MEXICO (7-1): One year after finishing 29-6 and winning the Mountain West championship, New Mexico is off to another strong start under first-year coach Craig Neal. When Steve Alford left for UCLA, Neal inherited a team that returned Kendall Williams, the reigning Mountain West player of the year. But the Lobos’ leading scorer to this point is 6-foot-9 forward Cameron Bairstow, an Australian national team member who is averaging 19.8 points per game. Junior center Alex Kirk is also scoring above 18 points per game. “We’re not gonna play another team where three guys are averaging (nearly) 19 a game,” Self said. “They’re loaded.”

• BOTTOM LINE:The Jayhawks are 22-5 at the Sprint Center and were 8-0 in the building last season. But Kansas will need to play a complete game to beat a New Mexico team that could earn a high seed in the NCAA tourney.

PNo.KansasHt.Yr.PPG
F21Joel Embiid7-0Fr.8.9
F34Perry Ellis6-8So.13.3
G22Andrew Wiggins6-8Fr.16.4
G1Wayne Selden6-5Fr.8.6
G10Frank Mason5-11Fr.9.1

PNo.New MexicoHt.Yr.PPG
F41Cameron Bairstow6-9Sr.19.8
C53Alex Kirk7-0Jr.18.5
G1Cleveland Thomas6-3So.5.0
G10Kendall Williams6-4Sr.19.1
G3Hugh Greenwood6-3Jr.5.1

| Rustin Dodd, rdodd@kcstar.com

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