Scouting Pittsburg State

News, notes and quotes on KU's exhibition opener against Pittsburg State at 7:00 tonight in Allen Fieldhouse while predicting guards Travis Releford and Conner Teahan come up big in the absence of Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson, who have been suspended for the two exhibition games for violation of team rules during the offseason.

SCOUTING PITTSBURG STATE

Pitt State is a small (no player above 6-6) but athletic squad which returns four starters (all seniors) and nine letterwinners from last season's 13-13 team, which tied for eighth in the NCAA Division II Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA).

Head coach Kevin Muff's Gorillas were picked in a tie for fifth place in the 2011-12 MIAA Coaches Poll and seventh place in the MIAA Media Poll.

Six-foot-two senior guard Eric Ray leads the attack (12.2 ppg), followed by 6-5 senior forward Eric Marshall (9.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg), 6-4 senior forward Andra Bailey (9.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg), 6-3 junior guard Courtney Ingram (9.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg), 6-6 junior forward Javon McGee (8.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg), and 6-3 senior guard Drake Green (6.4 ppg).

Ray and Bailey earned All-MIAA Honorable Mention honors last season.

A former player at K-State (1984-86), Muff was hired as Pitt State coach in April 2010 after serving 12 years as head coach at Cloud County Community College in Concordia, Kan. Muff, who was an assistant at PSU from 1990-93, called his new position a "dream job" at the time.

He aims to build a consistent winner at Pittsburg State.

"My expectations … I want to win championships," Muff said at his introductory press conference. "I want our program to be a contender year in, year out with the right type of kids who do it the right way. We want to put a product on the floor that people can identify with."

NEW-LOOK JAYHAWKS

    With Johnson and Taylor serving suspensions and junior forward Thomas Robinson questionable with a hyperextended left knee, expect every Jayhawk to play against PSU, including walk-ons Jordan Juenemann, Niko Roberts and Christian Garrett.
    "It'll be a totally different look," KU coach Bill Self said. "My expectations are that we go out there and play with some energy and enthusiasm and play tough. I'll look forward to see how some of the newcomers play when they have to play a lot."
    Those newcomers include freshman guards Garrett, Naadir Tharpe and Merv Lindsay, and junior forwards Kevin Young and Justin Wesley.

KU-PITT STATE SERIES

KU and Pitt State first met in 1944 with the Jayhawks leading the overall series, 8-0, including a 4-0 record in exhibition play. Kansas last beat the Gorillas, 103-45, on Nov. 10, 2009 in an exhibition game at Allen Fieldhouse.

THIS & THAT

*Kansas is 55-7 in exhibition contests, including 23-0 under Self.

*KU has won 37 straight exhibition games.

*Kansas has scored 100-plus points in 23 exhibition games, including three of its last five.

JUST LIKE 2008?

KU marched on to a magical national championship season in 2007-08 the last time it played an exhibition game on Nov. 1. The No. 4 Jayhawks beat tonight's foe, Pittsburg State, 94-59, on Nov. 1, 2007. Sophomore guard Sherron Collins led four Jayhawks in double figures with a game-high 18 points. Junior guard Mario Chalmers scored 14 points, while sophomore forward Darrell Arthur added 12 and senior guard Rodrick Stewart had 11.

KU won its first 20 games of the season en route to a school-record 37 victories, its fourth consecutive Big 12 regular season title, third straight Big 12 Tournament championship and the 2008 NCAA Championship.

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