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Preview: Toledo at Kansas
November 29, 2017 / 3:34 AM / in 13 days

Preview: Toledo at Kansas

Kansas may be lacking for numbers when it comes to available players, but the lack of quantity has not showed up in the quality of product thus far. The second-ranked Jayhawks have routed all but one opponent on their way to winning each of their first five games despite being shorthanded and look to ace their final mid-major test during the on-campus portion of the HoopHall Miami Invitational on Tuesday when they host Toledo.

Despite playing without highly touted 6-10 freshman forward Billy Preston and still waiting for Sam Cunliffe to gain eligibility for the second half of this season following his transfer from Arizona State, Kansas boasts a NCAA-best scoring margin of 32 points per game, with only its 65-61 victory on Nov. 14 over No. 8 Kentucky falling below that threshold. The Jayhawks topped the century mark for the second time in as many games in Friday’s 102-59 blowout of Oakland, as all seven of their available scholarship players reached double figures. One game after draining a school-record 19 3-pointers in a 114-71 manhandling of Texas Southern, Kansas used its superior size against the Golden Grizzlies, enjoying a 58-22 advantage in points in the paint. The Rockets have dropped a pair on the road after winning each of their first three at home and are coming off an 80-77 defeat at Cornell.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN3

ABOUT TOLEDO (3-2): Senior swingman Tre’Shaun Fletcher (team-high averages of 19.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists), who ranks second in the Mid-American Conference in scoring and rebounding, posted his third double-double in four outings with 20 points and a career-high 12 boards against the Big Red. Jaelan Sanford (18.2 points) is coming off back-to-back 3-for-9 efforts from the field, but he sits fourth in the MAC in scoring and has already exploded for a career-high 31 (against Saint Joseph‘s) and 26 (versus Oakland) this season. Nate Navigato (16.6 points, 5.2 boards) has played 119 of a possible 120 minutes over the last three games and paces the team with 17 3-pointers, including the career-high tying six he drained Friday.

ABOUT KANSAS (5-0): Much of the domination the Jayhawks enjoyed inside the paint came courtesy of 7-0 sophomore center Udoka Azubuike (16.8 points, seven rebounds), who finished with a career-high 21 points and 10 points in only 20 minutes of action. Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year selection Devonte’ Graham has seen his scoring average dip a bit from last season (13.4 to 12.0), but the senior guard is more than making up for it by dishing out 9.2 assists per game - the second-highest mark in Division I. Mississippi State transfer Malik Newman (12.8 points) is coming off a season-high 15-point performance and has been consistently solid in the early going, going 11-for-23 beyond the arc and 9-for-9 from the foul line.

TIP-INS

1. Graham’s 46 assists are the most by a Kansas player through the first five games of a season since Jacque Vaughn also had 46 to begin the 1994-95 campaign.

2. Toledo sophomore PG Justin Roberts, who is Lawrence (Kan.) High School’s all-time leading scorer, is the son of Kansas assistant Norm Roberts.

3. Exactly half of Azubuike’s 38 field goals are dunks; his 19 dunks are 13 more than any other Jayhawk has.

PREDICTION: Kansas 93, Toledo 71

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