(AP) — Kansas coach Bill Self is not worried about his players looking ahead to the start of Big 12 play next week.
Temple has everyone’s attention after defeating another top-10 opponent.
The sixth-ranked Jayhawks go for a 30th consecutive victory at Allen Fieldhouse – and 63rd straight at home against non-conference foes – on Sunday when these teams meet for the 11th time.
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With its only hiccup so far a three-point loss to then-No. 21 Michigan State on Nov. 13, Kansas (11-1) seems primed to make a run at a ninth consecutive Big 12 regular-season championship.
Self’s team, which opens league play Wednesday with Iowa State in town, takes the floor for the first time since routing American University 89-57 last Saturday.
The Jayhawks expect a much stiffer test Sunday.
Temple (10-2) is coming off Monday’s 75-57 rout of Bowling Green, but its previous game was significantly more impressive as it beat then-No. 3 Syracuse 83-79 on Dec. 22 at Madison Square Garden.
“It was a great win for Temple on a neutral court and I think it does, and will, get our guys’ attention,” said Self, who is 152-7 at Allen Fieldhouse in his 10 seasons. “From a selfish standpoint, it gives us a better strength of schedule, which does nothing but help us later on down the road.”
The Owls, who have won their three road games by an average of 14.7 points, have defeated a top-10 team in each of the last five seasons while unranked.
“As a player, that’s what you want,” said senior guard Khalif Wyatt, the team leader with 15.4 points and 4.3 assists per game.
Temple, which lost 90-67 to then-No. 2 Duke on Dec. 8 in East Rutherford, N.J., will get an opportunity to defeat two top-10 teams in a season for the first time in a decade.
“It’s a great chance for your players to test themselves at the highest possible level,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “I think that’s what you want for your guys. You do it for recruiting reasons. You do it for the benefit of your fan base, but most of all, you do it for the benefit of your student-athlete.”
The Owls see it as another chance to make a statement before Atlantic 10 play begins Thursday at Xavier.
“It’s just another game to put Temple on the map,” said fifth-year senior Scootie Randall, who had 11 points and 10 rebounds in Monday’s win.
That result let Temple join Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, Duke and Syracuse as the only programs with 1,800 wins.
The Jayhawks are up to 2,081 victories as they enter Sunday having won 10 straight – the 12th double-digit win streak of Self’s tenure.
Kansas is shooting a Big 12-leading 50.4 percent after hitting a season-best 63.0 percent last Saturday. Elijah Johnson, Ben McLemore, Travis Releford and Naadir Tharpe were a combined 13 of 17 from 3-point range with 49 points.
McLemore, a freshman who is the team’s only non-senior starter, tied a season worst with nine points but played a season-low 20 minutes. He’s 15 of 26 from beyond the arc over the past six games while averaging 17.8 points.
“The last game, he didn’t get a chance to play a lot but he was fine with that,” Self said. “… He’s been more than what we thought, from a consistency basis.”
Kansas is 7-3 in this series and won the most recent meeting 84-52 at Temple on Jan. 2, 2010.