WHEN/WHERE: 2 p.m. Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence
TV/RADIO: Time Warner Cable SportsChannel; KCSP (610 AM)
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ABOUT LAFAYETTE (7-2): Located in Easton, Pa., Lafayette was projected to finish fourth in the Patriot League after finishing 11-20 last season. The Leopards, though, returned all five starters and have started 7-2 this year, with their only losses coming against Yale and West Virginia. For Kansas, though, this should be its easiest non-conference opponent since facing Rider at Allen Fieldhouse on Nov. 24. Lafayette ranks 132nd in the country, according to computer rankings at KenPom.com. But the Leopards’ profile is a case in extremes. They rank 28th in the country in offensive efficiency while shooting an impressive 43.1 percent from three-point range as a team. But they rank just 314th in defensive efficiency and are susceptible to giving up tons of offensive rebounds. On Nov. 16, Lafayette fell 83-56 at West Virginia. Perhaps that puts this matchup in context.
ABOUT KANSAS (8-1): The Jayhawks will try to run their winning streak to eight games after surviving a difficult stretch of non-conference games in late November and early December. After having a six-day break following a 63-60 victory over Utah at the Sprint Center, the Jayhawks will head to Philadelphia to face Temple on Monday and then scatter for the holidays. It’s the time of year where games are more spread out, and Kansas coach Bill Self can focus in on practices. The Jayhawks will play their second straight game without freshman guard Devonte’ Graham, who is expected to be out at least another three weeks because of a sprained right big toe — an ailment also known as “turf toe.” After the victory over Utah, Self said the Jayhawks needed to “redefine” themselves on offense. A couple of numbers that illustrate the offensive issues: The Jayhawks are converting on just 50.3 percent of their shots at the rim, according to numbers at Hoop-Math.com. But they are also shooting 41 percent from three-point range during their seven-game winning streak. Will this team need to rely more heavily on its outside shooting?
| Rustin Dodd, firstname.lastname@example.org