Michael Frazier II
Wayne Selden Jr.
Frank Mason III
▪ WHEN/WHERE: 8 p.m. Friday at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence
▪ TV/RADIO: ESPN; KCSP (610 AM)
▪ ABOUT FLORIDA (3-3): One year after finishing 36-3 and advancing to the Final Four, the Gators are off to a sluggish 3-3 start. After losing a deep senior class, including point guard Scottie Wilbekin, the SEC player of the year, Florida coach Billy Donovan has reloaded around junior guard Michael Frazier and sophomore guard Kasey Hill. For now, it’s still coming together. The Gators lost to Miami at home, and then went 1-2 at the Battle 4 Atlantis, losing to Georgetown and North Carolina. Florida also needed overtime to defeat Louisiana-Monroe. Now it’s round two of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Last season, the Gators used a 1-3-1 defense to contain Kansas in a 67-61 victory in Gainesville, Fla. But this season, Florida has struggled on the offensive end. The Gators rank 59th in the country in offensive efficiency and they shoot 29.5 percent from three-point range. Sophomore power forward Chris Walker, a former McDonald’s All-American, is still settling into an expanded role. He’s averaging 5.0 points in 16.8 minutes per game. Donovan, in his 19th season at Florida, made his last trip to Allen Fieldhouse as a Kentucky assistant in 1989, when Kansas defeated the Wildcats 150-95.
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▪ ABOUT KANSAS (5-1): When the season began, Kansas coach Bill Self expected to slot sophomore guard Wayne Selden into a category: Reliable veteran. Selden started all 35 games as a freshman, but he’s struggled to slide into a leading role as sophomore, shooting just 26 percent through six games. “He’s capable,” Self said. “He’ll make shots. He can’t think about it. He’s just got to go do it.” Picking up the slack on offense, sophomore point guard Frank Mason is averaging 9.8 points per game and shooting 46 percent from three. A 5-foot-11 guard, Mason also is averaging four rebounds per game while facilitating an improved offense. The Jayhawks are averaging 15 assists per game during their four-game winning streak.
Earlier this week, Self said he would continue to use forward Landen Lucas in the starting lineup while bringing freshman forward Cliff Alexander off the bench. In the end, Self said Alexander likely will end up starting, but for now, the setup allows Alexander to stay out of early foul trouble. “If he starts or not,” Self said, “it (won’t) affect the number of minutes he plays.”
| Rustin Dodd, firstname.lastname@example.org