For the first time since the Big 8 Conference Tournament Semi-Final in 1990, the Kansas Jayhawks and Oklahoma Sooners meet on the hardwood as the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams. Scoring wins over ranked foes and conference front runners the stage has been set. The winner in Lawrence takes control of the regular season conference race tonight. But, it's a long season...anything can happen.
Littered with talent and experience, the Jayhawks stand 12-1 with their only defeat suffered at the hands of Denzel Valentine's triple-double and the Michigan State Spartans. That, however, was the second game of the season and Kansas intends to hold on to the first AP No. 1 ranking since February 14th, 2011 by defending home court. Putting up 88.3 points per outing while holding opponents to 65 points, fans know Perry Ellis and the rest of the crew have what it takes.
Kansas rides into battle behind Wayne Selden Jr.'s 15.5 points per game. With unmatched shot selection, the continually improving junior connects on 55.5% of his attempts. But, he's not the only capable scorer on this squad. Frank Mason III and Devonte' Graham both put up double digits in scoring. Regardless there may be one difference maker who is well known across the conference. Averaging 15.2 points, Perry Ellis may very decide the outcome of tonight's bout.
While the health of Brannen Greene seems to be in question, he's a shooter and the sixth man on this roster. Playing in 8-of-13 games this season, the junior guard has earned 16 minutes of playing time on average. Hitting nearly 62% of his attempts from beyond the arc, any opponent must be aware of his position at all times.
Can Oklahoma pull off the win in Allen Fieldhouse? We'll have to wait until to conclusion of the game which starts at 8:00 PM CST on ESPN.