(AP) — Kansas has gotten plenty of time to recover from a hard-fought game, and it might need that rest for a potentially difficult December.
That begins Saturday for the No. 9 Jayhawks with a visit from former conference rival Colorado, a team that was ranked last week.
Kansas (6-1) hasn’t played since pulling out an 84-78 win over Oregon State on Nov. 30 in Kansas City. The final margin was surprisingly uncomfortable considering the Jayhawks shot a season-high 60.0 percent and limited the Beavers to 40.6 percent.
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“You’re always happy you can get a win but we’re not satisfied because we know as a team that we should be playing a lot better than we are right now,” guard Travis Releford said.
Kansas might need to get better with matchups against Colorado (7-1), Richmond (7-2) and Belmont (6-2) on the horizon. The Jayhawks will also visit No. 7 Ohio State on Dec. 22 and face a Temple team that has started 6-0 on Jan. 6.
First comes a visit from the Buffaloes, who will be motivated to end a 20-game losing streak in the series. Kansas has also won 47 of 48 meetings and 29 in a row at Allen Fieldhouse. Before leaving for the Pac-12 after the 2010-11 season, Colorado was 1-31 in Big 12 play against the Jayhawks.
“It’s exciting to have this game,” Releford said. “Our fans are going to be looking forward to it and getting after them just as much as we are.”
After back-to-back 24-win seasons under former Kansas guard Tad Boyle, the Buffaloes prevailed in their first six games for the first time since 1989-90 before losing 76-69 at Wyoming last Saturday.
That caused them to fall out of the rankings from No. 19, but they bounced back with a 70-61 win over Colorado State on Wednesday as Spencer Dinwiddie scored a career-high 29 points, getting at least 24 for the third straight game. Andre Roberson recorded his fourth consecutive double-double with 15 points and a season high-tying 14 rebounds.
Roberson and Shane Harris-Tunks are the only Colorado regulars to have played at Kansas. The Buffaloes, who have one senior and nine underclassmen on their roster, were blown out 89-63 by the nation’s No. 1 team in their most recent visit Feb. 19, 2011.
“It’s going to make Wyoming look like a cakewalk in terms of the atmosphere, the number of people and the decibel level. We’re going to have to grow up,” Boyle told Colorado’s official website. “Kansas is top 10 and they’re a good basketball team, a good program. It’s a big opportunity.”
Boyle is 0-3 as a head coach against his alma mater, which carries a 25-game win streak at Allen Fieldhouse into this matchup and has registered 10 consecutive victories against Pac-12 opponents.
Releford will try to help extend those runs while adding to his recent stellar play.
The senior is averaging 18.3 points on 72.2 percent shooting over his last four games. He totaled 19 points and missed 17 of 23 shots – including all 11 from 3-point range – in his first three contests this season.
He’s also been a strong presence on the defensive end, where teammate Jeff Withey is causing major problems for opponents. The Kansas 7-footer leads the nation with 5.7 blocked shots per game while committing only six fouls all season.