Kansas-San Diego State basketball preview
01/04/2014 4:37 PM
01/05/2014 10:49 AM
3:30 p.m. Sunday at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence• TV/RADIO:
CBS (Chs. 5, 13); KCSP (610 AM)• ABOUT SAN DIEGO STATE (11-1):
Not many prognosticators expected San Diego State to start 11-1 and be ranked in the top 25 in the first week of January. But that’s exactly where the Aztecs are. They own victories over Creighton, Marquette and Washington — and their only loss came against No. 1 Arizona. … Veteran coach Steve Fisher, 68, has taken San Diego State to four straight NCAA Tournaments, and it looks as if a fifth could be in the near future. … Leading scorer Xavier Thames is shooting 47 percent from three-point range and is the Aztecs’ primary offensive option. But San Diego State is mostly winning with defense, ranking 14th nationally in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom.com. … This game is the first leg of a home-and-home series with Kansas. The Jayhawks will make the return trip to San Diego State in 2015-16.• ABOUT KANSAS (9-3):
Entering its final nonconference game, Kansas ranked second in the country in strength of schedule, according to the NCAA’s RPI numbers. It won’t get much easier against No. 21 San Diego State. The Jayhawks have played four teams ranked in the top 30 of KenPom.com’s computer rankings (Duke, Villanova, Florida and Colorado) and the Aztecs will make five. … While its defense has stagnated some over the two games, the KU offense has trended upward. KU ranks third in the country on two-point field goals, making 57.5 percent, and freshman center Joel Embiid and sophomore forward Perry Ellis have supplemented Andrew Wiggins’ team-leading 15.9 points per game. … The outside shooting has also improved; KU is shooting 40 percent from three-point range in its last three games.• BOTTOM LINE:
After San Diego State, KU opens Big 12 play with a stretch that includes road games at Oklahoma and Iowa State, sandwiched around a home game against K-State. The Jayhawks would definitely like to avoid a loss in their nonconference finale.
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