Scouting Report: Kansas

This one has been circled on the calendar for a long time. The Arizona/Kansas showdown is here. In their last outing, KU lost to Colorado and the Wildcats didn't play extremely well against ASU in the second half. But anyone who follows college basketball knows these two teams will have a huge say come March.

No. 1 Arizona (14-1, 7-0) at No. 6 Kansas (13-4, 3-1)
Date: Saturday, Jan. 25, 2003
Time: Noon CST
Location: Allen Fieldhouse (16,300), Lawrence, Kan.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: CBS (Verne Lundquist/Billy Packer)

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LAST TIME OUT: Arizona survived a second half rally to down ASU 71-63. Colorado stunned Kansas 60-59 in Boulder.

LAST MEETING: Arizona fell to Kansas 105-97 last season at McKale. Kansas leads the series 5-1, with the lone loss coming in the third round of the 1997 NCAA Tournament.

BACKCOURT: The Jayhawks employ a three-guard line-up that has propelled their high scoring offense. Aaron Miles runs the show at the point. Miles is a pass first point guard who keeps the offense flowing. Miles averages 7.4 assists and just 3.2 turnovers a game. He only averages 8.8 points per game, but the Jayhawks don't need him to score. He is tall and rangy and makes things difficult for smaller guards.

Although Kirk Hinrich is listed as the two-guard he is almost like a second point guard for Kansas. He takes care of the ball well and gets the ball to the open man, but his real strength is his offense. Hinrich is a great shooter who is not bad at putting the ball on the floor as well. He's deadly from the outside and gets open a lot by working very well coming off of screens.

Keith Langford has made Kansas fans forget Jeff Boschee. He's been great on offense and for a player of 6-4, he hits the boards very well. He's averaging 16.4 ppg and shoots well from the field at well over 50% (.571).

Michael Lee, Bryant Nash and Jeff Hawkins come of the bench for the Jayhawks. Lee is the only real contributor, a nice role player who can score at times.

Jason Gardner had a great game against Kansas a year ago and is showing signs of returning to the form that made him an All-American a year ago. Gardner had a solid game against ASU on the offensive end and he's been great at passing and rebounding this season. Gardner may be shorter than the Kansas guards, but he's probably quicker than those who will be guarding him.

Salim Stoudamire is out of Lute Olson's dog house and he'll be crucial in this game. Not only is Stoudamire the team's best outside shooter, but he's a key defensive presence for the Cats. He'll be called upon to harass the bigger Kansas guards, probably drawing the assignment to guard Hinirch.

Expect Hassan Adams and Andre Iguodala to log a lot of minutes on the perimeter. The bigger freshmen wings match-up favorably with their Kansas counterparts. Luke Walton will see time at both forward spots.

FRONTCOURT: This game features a number of talented post players, with Nick Collison topping the list. Collison is a terrific scorer as well as the team's leading rebounder. He gets great position in the post and shoots an unbelievable 60.8% from the field. Although he is terrific on the inside he can step out and knock down the three as well.

Jeff Graves has filled in well in the absence of Wayne Simien. Graves is not nearly as talented, but gives the Jayhawks a good low post presence.

Simien is still doubtful with a shoulder injury, so expect Moulaye Niang to spell Graves and Collison if Simien can't go.

Channing Frye has come on strong in recent weeks and is a difficult match-up for KU. He's been great with the jump hook, but his jump shot is dangerous as well. He has been hitting the boards aggressively, but can be pushed around by the more physical Kansas post players.

Rick Anderson and Luke Walton are also difficult match-ups for the Kansas players, but could have equal difficulty against their Jayhawk counterparts. Anderson is mobile and likes to step outside to shoot. Walton is a small forward and great passer on the perimeter, but is more effective in the post offensively.

Kansas native Dennis Latimore and Isaiah Fox are the Wildcats' bangers down low. Fox is the better offensive player, while Latimore is more versatile and mobile.

OUTLOOK: Both of theses teams like to get up and down the floor and usually win when the game is in the 80's. The Cats are deeper, but the Jayhawks may have the better starting five. Walton could be the x-factor. As one of the nation's best passing big men, he's a tough match-up for anyone, especially the more perimeter oriented Jayhawks. Of course the game is at Allen Fieldhouse, and the homecourt advantage for Kansas is huge. This one should be decided late.

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