La Salle-Kansas Preview

La Salle-Kansas Preview

Published Dec. 16, 2009 11:08 p.m. ET

Kansas has thoroughly beaten each small-conference program that has visited Allen Fieldhouse. Little suggests a short trip to Kansas City will be much different.

The top-ranked Jayhawks look to cruise to another win Saturday when they play La Salle at the Sprint Center.

With an early schedule loaded with overmatched opponents, Kansas (8-0) has rarely been tested. Facing the likes of Hofstra, Central Arkansas, Oakland, Tennessee Tech, Alcorn State and Radford in Lawrence, the Jayhawks have won those games by an average of 42.5 points.

The Jayhawks have had a tougher time in their two games away from Allen Fieldhouse - a 57-55 win over Memphis in St. Louis on Nov. 17 and a 73-61 victory at UCLA on Sunday. However, Kansas should feel at home in front of a plethora of its fans at the Sprint Center, located less than an hour from Lawrence.


In Wednesday's 99-64 win over Radford, the Jayhawks erupted for a season-best 63 points after halftime to extend the nation's longest home winning streak to 47 games. Preseason All-American Sherron Collins had 15 points and eight assists for Kansas, which had six players score in double figures.

"I thought we played well," coach Bill Self said. "To score 63 points is probably as efficient as we've been offensively the whole year in the second half, and the first half was about as well as we've guarded. We just have to put it all together."

The Jayhawks have actually done a pretty good job of putting it all together.

Kansas ranks second in the nation in scoring, averaging 90.4 points, and is shooting 43.9 percent (72 of 164) from 3-point range. Freshman Xavier Henry leads the team with 16.4 points per game.

The defense is just as impressive, limiting opponents to an average of 56.8 points on 34.1 percent shooting.

The play of 6-foot-11 Cole Aldrich in the paint has keyed the success on the defensive end.

The preseason All-American, who averages 11.1 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.4 blocks, did a solid job of frustrating Radford star Art Parakhouski. Aldrich helped hold the Big South's leading scorer without a point in the first half. The 6-foot-11 Parakhouski was the first true center Kansas faced this season, and Aldrich felt it was a good tune-up with the Big 12 season just over a month away.

"It's good for us because these early tests with these big guys will set us up for those guys in the Big 12," Aldrich said.

Aldrich's next test will be La Salle freshman Aaric Murray.

The 6-foot-10 Murray, averaging 13.0 points and 7.8 rebounds in his last four games, had 12 points, eight boards and five blocked shots in Wednesday's 69-60 win over Rider.

Rodney Green, averaging a team-high 18.0 points, scored a season-best 25 on Wednesday for the Explorers (6-2) in their third straight win since an 81-63 loss to then-No. 4 Villanova on Nov. 28.

The Explorers, just 1-26 against Top 25 teams since the 1996-97 season, have lost 14 consecutive games against ranked opponents since a 91-90 win over then-No. 18 St. Joseph's on March 3, 2001.

Kansas leads the all-time series with La Salle 2-0, though these schools haven't met since the Jayhawks' 74-73 win Dec. 20, 1975.