Crimson, Blue and Green(?) Game Today

News, notes and quotes on No. 1 KU's matchup with Michigan on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse at 11 a.m. on ESPN. Dave O'Brien, Jay Bilas and Holly Rowe will call the action in the "Green Game." ESPN will feature KU and the city of Lawrence's sustainability efforts during the broadcast.

Other highlights of the "Green Game" include:

*Kansas Athletics' facilities crew has switched to eco-friendly cleaning products.
*During pregame Baby Jay and Big Jay will wear a green t-shirt promoting recycling.
*Both basketball teams and the KU Spirit Squad will warm up in T-shirts made from 100 percent recycled material with a special "Green Game" logo on the back.

SCOUTING MICHIGAN

Michigan returns four starters off last season's 21-14 team. U-M, which is 5-4 and winners of two if its last three games, is coming off a 75-64 home victory over Detroit on Dec. 13. Michigan has also beaten Northern Michigan, Houston Baptist, Arkansas Pine-Bluff and Creighton, while losing to Marquette, Alabama, Boston College and Utah.

The Wolverines average 71.1 points per game and allow 63.9. Michigan also average 8.2 steals per game and force 15.6 turnovers a contest. However, the Wolverines shoot just 42.2 percent from the field and 29.7 percent beyond the arc, while holding foes to 44 percent field goal shooting. U-M is also getting outrebounded 37.1 to 33.6.

Head coach John Beilein's Wolverines are one of the youngest teams in America, featuring 12 players who are redshirt sophomores or younger. Junior guard Manny Harris leads the team with 22.8 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 18 steals and 45 assists. He's also tied for the team lead with 13 treys. Senior forward DeShawn Sims ranks second on the squad in scoring (15.6 ppg) while averaging 7.4 boards per game. He's followed in scoring by sophomore guard Laval Lucas-Perry (7.4 ppg), sophomore guard Zack Novak (6.3 ppg), senior forward Zack Gibson (6.0 ppg), freshman guard Darius Morris (4.8 ppg) and sophomore guard Stu Douglass (4.7 ppg).

KU coach Bill Self said after the Jayhawks' victory over La Salle last Saturday that Michigan "runs something similar to Colorado, a variation of the Princeton style (offense). It's hard to guard because we don't ever practice it, so at least we have a few days to become familiar with it."

BEILEIN ON KANSAS

Coach Beilein has great respect for KU (9-0, one of 11 undefeated teams in the country) and Allen Fieldhouse.

"This is a great team," Beilein said. "This really has a chance to be a special team. We're going to do everything we can do to be up to that challenge, but between Allen Fieldhouse and the team that we are playing, it is going to be a daunting challenge."

Beilein, who's never previously coached in the Phog, said he imagines it will be like the great, historic arenas he's been to like Pauley Pavilion, The Palestra, and Cameron Indoor Stadium.

"Those are the three places that I probably looked around, smelled it, looked at it, just whether it is the pretzels in Philadelphia or the Cameron Crazies or John Wooden sitting over in the corner," Beilein said. "There are certain times when you go into some of these arenas and I would expect, I'll look around and say, ‘This is Kansas,' because you've watched it so much on TV."

Beilein stressed U-M has to play great team defense and not just center in on stars' Cole Aldrich, Sherron Collins, and Xavier Henry.

"When you play these types of teams that have two or three really high levels," Beilein said, "many times it is the other guys that end up beating you because they're just filling in those spots and they rebound and they guard and they have assigned tasks that makes it very difficult to stop."

Beilein is hoping Michigan can stun the Jayhawks just as it did then-No.4 Duke last year at Crisler Arena.

"We'll have to have one of those 10-for-15 from the 3-pointer games," Beilein told WMAX-FM Grand Rapids. "We'll need great shooting inside and really have the ball bounce our way like it did in the Duke game last year."

GOING FOR NO.1

Kansas will be searching for its first victory against Michigan in the teams' all-time series. U-M has won all five meetings, one of just three teams who've played multiple games against Kansas to have undefeated records. The others are Bradley (2-0) and UTEP (3-0).

KU and Michigan first met in 1949, when the Wolverines won 49-47 in Kansas City. Their last meeting came on Dec. 30, 1992 at the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu, an 86-74 Michigan victory. The schools have met just once in Allen Fieldhouse, a 64-52 U-M victory during the 1980-81 season.

MORNINGSTAR/WITHEY DEBUT

This game marks the season debut of junior guard Brady Morningstar and redshirt freshman center Jeff Withey. Morningstar was suspended for the first semester, while Withey was ineligible since transferring from Arizona.

Morningstar started 34 of 35 games last season, averaging 6.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in 30.4 minutes per game. He shot 41.9 percent from the field and 42 percent beyond the arc.

"I think it's going to help us," Self said about Morningstar's return. "It will take him awhile to get in a rhythm and he'll be nervous, but no matter how you break it down, he'll be our best perimeter defender. He should be our best defender period. He can make open shots and he's a good ball mover. Even though his minutes won't be what it was last year, the kid number one will play a of of minutes."

Morningstar will indeed make his biggest impact on defense.

"We really don't have one guy on the perimeter that you can say, ‘Hey go guard him,'" Self said. "Hopefully, he'll at least be able to do that during the time he's in the game."

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