Valparaiso-Kansas Preview

Despite the highest-scoring game in his seven-plus years at the

school, Kansas coach Bill Self wasn’t completely impressed with

this season’s debut.

The seventh-ranked Jayhawks will try for a better defensive

showing Monday night against Valparaiso, which is coming off its

highest-scoring game in nearly five years.

Kansas (1-0) extended the nation’s longest home win streak to 60

games with a 113-75 rout of Longwood on Friday. Self and junior

forward Marcus Morris, however, were more concerned with the points

the Jayhawks gave up, not the ones they scored.

“You don’t want a team to come into your home and score 75

points, especially the first game in the year,” said Morris, who

scored a team-leading 18 points. “One hundred fifteen points looks

good on paper, but 75 is kind of upsetting.”

Even with top recruit Josh Selby benched because of amateurism

issues, Kansas hit 62.3 percent of its shots for its best

performance since connecting at a 66 percent clip in a win over

Oklahoma State on Feb. 27, 2005.

The Jayhawks also allowed Longwood to shoot 45 percent and hit

11 3-pointers.

“I love our guys,” Self said. “But this is the softest team

defensively.”

As it continues a string of four consecutive home games to open

this season, Self team’s will next face a Valparaiso squad that

took a 111-64 victory in Friday’s season opener against NAIA

opponent Indiana-Northwest.

Junior guard Brandon Wood had a team-best 20 points in the

Crusaders’ highest-scoring game since 111-41 victory over

Indiana-South Bend on Nov. 28, 2005.

Wood averaged a team-best 17.7 points per game last season for

Valparaiso, which led the Horizon League in scoring, field goal

percentage and 3-pointers made per game.

The Crusaders return four starters from that squad, including

Wood who was the conference’s newcomer of the year. The former

Southern Illinois player and senior forward Cory Johnson, who spent

his first two seasons at Iowa State, were named to the preseason

all-conference teams.

Johnson scored 17 points while hitting eight of nine shots

Friday. He averaged 15.6 points and a team-best 5.8 rebounds in his

first season with the Crusaders.

Valparaiso might need Johnson’s help Monday against Kansas’

front line.

Marcus Morris’ twin brother, Markieff, had 15 of the Jayhawks’

39 rebounds and 14 points in the season opener. The Jayhawks also

have Thomas Robinson, who had 16 points and seven rebounds off the

bench Friday, and Jeff Withey, a 7-foot sophomore who is still

recovering from a right foot injury suffered in the preseason.

The Crusaders, meanwhile, allowed 20 offensive rebounds in their

victory.

“We really have to improve our rebounding,” coach Homer Drew

said. “We gave up 20 offensive rebounds tonight, which is a major

concern for us heading into Kansas. But I thought our shooting, our

defense and the way we shared the ball were all very superb (in the

season opener).”

The Jayhawks are 2-0 all-time against Valparaiso and 14-1

against current members of the Horizon League.