Rider-Kansas Preview

BY foxsports • November 23, 2014

After a lopsided loss to the top-ranked team in the country, things are about to get a bit easier for Kansas.

The 11th-ranked Jayhawks welcome Rider to Allen Fieldhouse on Monday night for non-bracketed play in the Orlando Classic before heading to Florida for the remaining three games of the tournament.

Kansas (1-1) fell 72-40 to No. 1 Kentucky on Tuesday in Indianapolis. The Jayhawks were limited to 12 second-half points as they shot 19.6 percent for the night, and the scoring output was the lowest since Bill Self took over the program in 2003-04.

"Individually we're not good enough to go out and play against guys like that," said Self, whose team dropped six spots in the Top 25. "We have to become a team and we're not close to becoming a team yet."

Wayne Selden Jr. led Kansas with nine points and Cliff Alexander had eight in a game Self expects to be put out of his players' minds in due time.

"Such a long season, we won't even remember the Kentucky game two weeks from now," Self said. "Or until after we get back from Orlando we won't remember it again. That's the way it works with everybody."

Selden is 6 of 20 from the floor and averaging 9.5 points, while fellow returning starter Perry Ellis is 5 of 13 and averaging 8.5. Self didn't expect his freshmen or new starters to thrive early, but he'd hoped for more out of Selden and Ellis.

"They should be two of our better players, without question," Self said. "They should be our two best players and they haven't played better than any of the other guys so far. Now, I believe they will really soon, beginning next game."

The Jayhawks' last 1-2 start came in 2005, but there's not much of a chance for that to happen as unranked opponents are 3-120 at Kansas dating to Nov. 19, 2006.

Kansas has won both meetings with Rider (2-1) by an average of 45.0 points, but the schools haven't met since the 1990-91 season.

The Broncs have played five games over the last 10 seasons against teams ranked in the top 10 and have lost by an average of 21.2 points.

This season, they opened with a loss to Princeton but have bounced back with a win at Penn and Friday's 78-74 home victory over Lehigh.

They're shooting 42.1 percent from 3-point range, which is 11.8 percent better than Kansas' overall mark (30.3) and more than twice that of its 3-point mark (20.0).

Teddy Okereafor scored a career-high 29 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 5 of 9 from 3-point range. The junior, who sat out last season after transferring from VCU, scored just two points against Penn but seems to have settled in with his new teammates.

"Teddy had a great game for us," coach Kevin Baggett told the team's official website. "He had an awesome night."

Backcourt mate Zedric Sadler has also been strong, averaging 12.3 points on 56.5 percent shooting while going 6 of 11 from long range.

Baggett knows the next game will provide more of a challenge, but expects a better showing against Kansas than the previous two meetings.

"It is true that we have nothing to lose but we're going out there to win," he said. "That's our mindset. That is why we scheduled these teams. This team is good enough to compete with them. I'm excited just like the players are."