December 30, 2017 / 5:28 AM / 8 months ago

Preview: Kansas at Texas

Following a strong finish to non-conference season, No. 11 Kansas kicks off Big 12 play Friday at Texas. Both teams have won three in a row and neither has lost a game by more than 10 points all season.

The two losses for Kansas came back-to-back against Washington and Arizona State, but the team rebounded with a tight win at Nebraska before trouncing Omaha and Stanford by a combined 66 points. The Jayhawks have had more than a week to rest since their 75-54 triumph at Stanford - a game in which Udoka Azubuike dunked seven times en route to 24 points. Azubuike, who has 49 dunks this season, will aim to continue his inside dominance against a Texas team that has three losses - all by seven points or fewer - and all against quality opponents (Duke, Gonzaga, Michigan). The Longhorns are coming off a 16-point victory at Alabama in which freshman Mohamed Bamba registered 17 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2

ABOUT KANSAS (10-2, 0-0 Big 12): The Jayhawks average 20 assists per game, which ranks tied for third nationally, and Devonte’ Graham (7.6 per game) has an assist-to-turnover ratio approaching 3-to-1. Graham has made 17 3-pointers over the last four games and is shooting 44.7 percent from beyond the arc for a Kansas team that shoots 41.5 percent from 3-point range as a group. Lagerald Vick (team-high 17.1 points) has made 22 3-pointers, trailing only Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, both of whom have knocked down 38 3s on the season.

ABOUT TEXAS (9-3, 0-0): Bamba, regarded as one of the top incoming freshmen in the country this season, has been somewhat of an enigma to this point. His per game stats (10.9 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.3 blocks) are quite impressive, but he has not made his teammates better (four assists in 310 minutes) and is shooting poorly from behind the 3-point line (3-of-19) and the foul line (61 percent). Dylan Osetkowski is coming off perhaps his worst game of the season - an eight-point clunker in which he shot 3-of-11 from the field and turned it over five times.

TIP-INS

1. Osetkowski is 1-of-11 from 3-point range over the last two games following a three-game stretch in which he went 8-of-15.

2. The Jayhawks have won 12 of the last 13 meetings, including both last season.

3. Azubuike is shooting 77.9 percent from the field - second-best in the country - and Kansas is fourth in the nation in field-goal percentage (52.3) entering Thursday’s action.

PREDICTION: Texas 73, Kansas 70

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