Ohio-Kansas Preview

BY foxsports • November 25, 2010

Though Kansas seems to be at its best in the Las Vegas Invitational, this game is the last one for a while it might not have to be.

The sixth-ranked Jayhawks look to remain undefeated in the event when they face Ohio on Friday night at Orleans Arena in their final tuneup before the competition stiffens.

Kansas (4-0) improved to 6-0 all-time in this tournament after beating Valparaiso and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at home last week to open the event. The Jayhawks beat eventual national champion Florida 82-80 in overtime to win the 2006 event and appear to have a team capable of capturing another title.

"Of all the teams we've had here, these guys like to play more than any team we've had," coach Bill Self said. "More pick up (games) together, shoot on their own, all that stuff. That is contagious. This is a team that really does like to play."

Self's team has yet to face an opponent from a major conference, but that changes Saturday when it takes on unbeaten Arizona to close this tournament. The Jayhawks then face two tough games to begin December, hosting a UCLA team which suffered its only loss to No. 7 Villanova before a matchup with 14th-ranked Memphis at Madison Square Garden.

"I am so ready," guard Tyshawn Taylor said of the upcoming competition. "This is kind of what we have been waiting for."

The Jayhawks average 91.8 points and lead the nation in field-goal shooting at 59.0 percent. On the defensive end, Self's squad is giving up 55.0 points per contest.

Kansas hasn't looked more dominant this season than during Tuesday's 82-41 victory over Corpus Christi, setting a school record with its 63rd straight home win.

Thomas Robinson had 15 points off the bench while leading scorer Marcus Morris (18.0 points per game) had 12 in 24 minutes as the Jayhawks shot 60.3 percent while holding the Islanders to 31.0 percent.

"We played pretty good defensively," Self said. "I think we have improved in that area 50 percent at least since 10 days ago."

Morris and twin brother Markieff (12.0 ppg, 11.5 rebounds per game) look to continue their strong starts. The junior forwards have recorded three of the Jayhawks' four double-doubles.

Friday's contest versus Ohio (3-1) marks the second time in this event Kansas will face a school from the Mid-American Conference. The Jayhawks beat Ball State 64-46 in 2006.

Kansas improved to 2-0 against the Bobcats after an 88-51 victory Dec. 15, 2007.

Ohio, favored to win the MAC, returns three starters from the team that upset No. 14 Georgetown 97-83 in the first round of the NCAA tournament last season.

The Bobcats, whose lone loss came at home to Oakland on Nov. 15, won't be intimidated by the Jayhawks.

"We've just got to focus on playing the way we play regardless of the opponent," forward Tommy Freeman said. "We have to stick to what we do and not get out of character. Guys just need to play their role to be best of their ability because our coaches will have us ready."

The Bobcats look for a third straight victory after beating Valpo 78-75 on Tuesday. DeVaughn Washington had 14 points, D.J. Cooper added 13 with 10 assists and six Bobcats scored in double figures.

Cooper averages a team-leading 15.5 points and ranks among the national leaders with 9.3 assists per contest.

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