Jayhawks Kick Off Busy Week

There's no time left for Kansas to lick its wounds after an early season slip-up against Oral Roberts. The Las Vegas Invitational kicks off Sunday as Bill Self's Jayhawks embark on a seven-day stretch that includes four games and a date with the nation's best team – the Florida Gators. 

"I think it's good. I think it will be the wave of the future. It allows you to play in an exempt tournament where it only costs you one game, but you play four. You will see more of these in the future. Even the Preseason NIT is now the same way," said Bill Self at his weekly press conference Friday.

KU is on the mend against a Towson team with something to prove. Head coach Pat Kennedy’s team boasts the nation’s top returning scorer in Gary Neal. So four days after failing to stop Oral Robert’s star Caleb Green, Kansas will look to put the wraps on Neal who has scored 61 points in his first two games of the season.  The former LaSalle transfer put up a career-high 41 against Samford on Thursday and will be the key to the game for KU on defense. Neal’s range starts when he crosses the halfcourt line and he’s not shy about taking shots. I’d look for Brandon Rush to draw the defensive assignment against Neal for most of the game.

“He can score,” stated Self. “I watched some tape on him and he can get it going both ways. We need to do a better job on the opponent's best player. If we allow him to have a big night, he could score 40 points. Averaging 27 points a game is very good and he can obviously get the ball in the basket."

Towson will be forced to play small against the Jayhawks. Kennedy’s lineup took a hit when 6-9 starting forward Dennard Abraham strained his quadriceps in the Hartford game – he will miss his second straight game against KU. As a result, 6-9 Tommy Breaux, who also played on the football team this year, gets the start. He’s not quite as polished offensively but is an athletic and physical presence. The question for Breaux is can he stay on the floor and out of foul trouble. KU’s frontline will be the toughest test Towson has faced this season.

It will be interesting if the Tigers decide to press KU. Towson is a team that wants the tempo fast but turning it up a notch against KU could be counterproductive.

Kennedy is certainly a familiar face to fans and KU coach Bill Self. The four-year Towson coach has spent 27 years at the helm of programs like Iona, Florida State, DePaul, and Montana. Kennedy has managed to notch over 430 career wins but is 0-4 to career against the Jayhawks.

"Pat has always gotten players whether he was at Florida State, DePaul or Montana.  He is a very personable guy and has been good for our game for a long period of time,” said Self.

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