Buffs Hope to Slow Jayhawks

Inside, notes in advance of tonight's basketball game at Coors Event Center between Colorado and Kansas.

Kansas (21-4/8-2) ran away from the Buffs in a 97-74 decision in Lawrence Jan. 27. The Buffs (6-14/2-8) committed 30 turnovers in the game, their most since giving up the rock 30 times in Lawrence during the 1991 season.

Obviously, the need to take care of the basketball has come up in recent practices.

Head coach Ricardo Patton said he hoped his players took from the earlier loss vs. Kansas "the importance of possessions. Not digging yourselves a big hole to try to come back from. And hopefully how to play for 40 minutes."

Of course, turnovers against the Jayhawks didn't happen in a vacuum. Kansas, currently No. 9 in the AP Poll, is an uptempo team that thrives on pressure defense and scoring off the fast break.

"They're a very aggressive team," said CU point guard Kal Bay, who has started the past four games, including the loss in Lawrence. "They'll put their hands on you on defense. Chalmers and Robinson will all you pick you up full court. You've got to come into the game focused and have a game plan and work it to perfection to beat them. You have to play your best game to beat them."

Richard Roby scored 30 in the team's matchup in January, but also committed eight turnovers. The junior said CU's defense will be a key in the game.

"They shot a really high percentage (55.6 in the game at Kansas), so we've got to limit their open shots and contest their shots," he said.

• Ricardo Patton's first game as head coach at CU was in 1996 at home vs. the Jayhawks. The story's been told countless times, but it bears repeating since this is the last time a Patton-coached CU team will host Kansas: Patton was appointed interim head coach after Joe Harrington was forced out midway through the 1995-96 season. The Buffs had been soft at home that year. Patton wanted to impress upon his team the importance of defending your home turf.

The night before the game, Patton instructed his team to sleep in cots on the floor at the Coors Events Center. The ploy made an impact on the players, including freshmen Chauncey Billups, and the Buffs took Kansas to the buzzer before losing 80-78.

Patton continued to use the "sleep on the cots at Coors" thing until CU decided it was not sanctioned by the NCAA.

But overall, Patton's teams struggled against Kansas. He's 1-24 vs. the Jayhawks heading into tonight's game, the sole win coming at home in 2003.

• Kansas travels well to Boulder. It's been typical over the past decade that 40 percent of the fans at Coors for a CU-Kansas game are Jayhawk fans. The Kansas fans may actually tip the scales in their favor this time around. Colorado is averaging just 3,328 fans per game this season, Though tonight's game — expected to be a sell out — will boost that number a little, this year will likely be among the three lowest-attended seasons at CU since Coors was opened in 1981.

Probable Starters
Xavier Silas, G, 6-5, Fr., 11.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.7 apg
Richard Roby, G, 6-6, Jr., 17.0, 5.1, 2.1
Kal Bay, G, 6-1, Fr., 6.8, 4.9, 2.0
Jeremy Williams, F, 6-7, Fr., 7.9, 4.9, 0.9
Marcus King-Stockton, F, 6-9, Jr., 3.8, 4.4, 1.2

Brandon Rush, G, 6-6, So., 14.6, 5.9, 1.8
Russell Robinson, G, 6-1, Jr., 6.6, 3.3, 4.6
Mario Chalmers, G, 6-1, So., 11.4, 3.1, 3.3
Julian Wright, F, 6-8, So., 12.1, 8.1, 2.0
Sasha Kaun, C, 6-11, Jr., 6.0, 3.6, 1.3

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