UC Irvine at Kansas
▪ WHEN/WHERE: 8 p.m. Tuesday at Allen Fieldhouse
▪ TV/RADIO: ESPNU; KCSP (610 AM)
▪ ABOUT KANSAS (10-1): After facing UC Irvine on Tuesday, the second-ranked Jayhawks will have one nonconference game remaining — a much-anticipated showdown with Kentucky on Jan. 30. But in some ways, Tuesday represents an opportunity to close out a portion of this schedule. On Saturday, KU will open Big 12 play against Baylor at Allen Fieldhouse before taking on No. 3 Oklahoma on Big Monday. For now, the Jayhawks can notch their 10th straight victory this season and 30th straight overall in Allen Fieldhouse. The drive for a 12th straight Big 12 title begins this weekend, and the Jayhawks are cruising toward conference play. Senior forward Perry Ellis is averaging 19 points in his last two games and is shooting 46.7 percent from three-point range. As a team, the Jayhwks are hitting 46.3 percent (99 for 214) on three-pointers. Kansas has three players shooting better than 48 percent from behind the three-point line, with Brannen Greene (70.6 percent), Wayne Selden (55.4) and Frank Mason (48.1 percent) all among the Big 12’s best.
▪ ABOUT UC IRVINE (10-4): This is the first meeting between UC Irvine and Kansas. A year ago, the Anteaters won the Big West tournament before losing to No.4 seed Louisville in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. The high expectations have remained in 2015-16. UC Irvine was picked to finish first in the Big West under sixth-year coach Russell Turner. So far, the results have been mixed. The Anteaters have no bad losses among their four setbacks (Boise State, Evansville, Saint Mary’s and Oregon), but they do not possess a victory over a team ranked in the top 140 of KenPom.com’s computer rankings. With 7-foot-6 center Mamadou Ndiaye anchoring the back end, the Anteaters’ defense ranks 42nd in the country in defensive efficiency and 24th overall in two-point field-goal percentage defense. On offense, UC Irvine can be limited. The Anteaters shoot just 32.6 percent on three-pointers and 49 percent from inside the three-point line — despite having four players listed at 6 feet 10 or taller.
Rustin Dodd, firstname.lastname@example.org