Surprise, Surprise!

Head coach Bill Self again fielded questions about Josh Selby's status but he was quick to let reporters know about a certain box score that caught his attention.

When KU head coach Bill Self perused scores from the world of college basketball Tuesday night one result in particular caught his eye – Texas Tech 83 North Texas 92 in overtime.

"I'm surprised," Self told reporters on Wednesday at his weekly press conference. "Not taking anything away from North Texas, but I know how good Texas Tech is going to be this year. Tech returns five of its six top scorers. I believe North Texas returns four starters. It's not a shocking win, but as good as Texas Tech is, I was a little surprised by the score."

"I didn't get a chance to watch too much of it," junior guard Tyshawn Taylor said. "They played really well. They got a big win under their belt with Texas Tech."

Head coach Johnny Jones is getting used to big wins and he has a veteran bunch starting four seniors and a junior. Under Jones the Mean Green has made the NCAA Tournament two of the last four years and earned four straight 20-win seasons. This season is no different. Again UNT is a unanimous pick to again win the Sun Belt Conference this season and the win against a fellow Big 12 member was plenty to raise the eyebrows in the Kansas basketball offices.

"North Texas did a really good job getting our attention (Tuesday) night," Self said. "We got Texas Tech pretty good at our place last year, but in the tournament it was a two-point game at halftime. We know that (Texas Tech) is better than they were last year, so North Texas got our attention without question."

"I figured they were pretty good. Being from Texas the Southern guys are really athletic. They beat Texas Tech which we just found out," Mario Little said after finding out five minutes prior what the final score was, "and they're a pretty good team it just shows you can't take any team lightly."

"Every team gets my attention," said junior Marcus Morris. "You can't overlook a team, but beating a team in the Big 12 definitely got my attention."

 "I mean they beat Texas Tech and they beat us before," Little concluded.

Kansas will have to contend with George Odufuwa, who currently comes off the bench and is an automatic double-double. The 6-8 senior posted 15 points and 14 rebounds against the Red Raiders. Senior guard Josh White scored 32 vs. Tech with 11 of them coming at a critical juncture of overtime.

"He's fast," Self answered when asked about White. "North Texas' whole team is fast. He dropped 32 points on Texas Tech. He's good. They've had experience knocking off Big 12 teams. They beat Oklahoma State a couple of years ago when those kids were freshmen, and of course they got the big win last night (against Texas Tech).They have our respect without question. Their perimeter (players) can all score, and their big guys are all quick and active."

White is the team's leading scorer (20.5 ppg) but is only half of a stellar backcourt. He is complimented by senior Tristan Thompson who is the team's second-leading scorer at 18.0 ppg.  

"Johnny (Jones, North Texas head coach) has done a great job since he's been there. They've been in the NCAA Tournament pretty consistently. I thought they played Kansas State really tough in the first round and hung with them for quite a period of time last year in Oklahoma City," Self recalled.

So while telling Phog.net his team is definitely playing "better" Self also admitted that North Texas will provide a "good test" for his Jayhawks on Friday night.

North Texas is pesky, athletic, fast, and unafraid of running up and down the court with the Jayhawks. Coach Jones admits his Mean Green are looking for a "breakthrough" but winning in Lawrence is a tall task. 

"They're fast. I think they return all of their starters (from last year's NCAA Tournament team), so I think it's going to be a good game. They like to get up and down (the court) like we want to play, so I think it's going to be fun," Taylor said.

The defense will again be the focus for Kansas as it tries to again protect home turf and extend the home winning streak to 62 games, tying a school record. The key to that is simple. The Hawks will be determined not to give up anything close to 92 points on its home floor. As Self says "under 70" is always the hope but at home "under 60 really" is the true goal.

"I will talk to them about it," Self responded when asked if he would talk to his team about the streak. "That should not be our motivation to play, but these guys owe it to everybody else that has been a part of this streak that is not on this team to make sure that they are recognized as being part of this streak. I think they should be playing for others every bit as much as they are playing for themselves on Friday night."

"It means a lot," Marcus Morris admitted. "I strive day-in and day-out to make sure that the streak continues because I don't want that streak to end while I'm here. There's a little pressure because it's the longest streak in the country right now.

"It means a lot," Taylor said echoing Marcus' statement. "I definitely don't want to be a part of the team that breaks the streak. I think it's definitely important. We haven't really talked about it too much. I feel like if we come out and play how we want to play, we'll be fine."

"I never expect to lose here. This is the best home-court advantage in the country. Coming in here and getting those chills before the game, I definitely don't expect to lose here," Marcus told reporters.

By beating Texas Tech in Denton North Texas may have done the worst thing it could do heading into a game at Phog Allen Fieldhouse – it has grabbed the attention of a team that's already won 61 in a row at home and be certain the Mean Green will not be overlooked.
NOTES:
- Selby update – head coach Bill Self told Phog.net he is still hopeful about hearing something on Selby this week but honestly still has no idea when a ruling will come down.

- Jeff Withey's xrays have shown no reason why he should not be 100 percent all the time. Self also reiterated what he told Phog.net the other day – Withey could impact the rotation even more than Cole Aldrich did in his freshman year.

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