Kansas looked impressive in beating a ranked team in its Big 12 opener. The next opponent wasn't nearly as formidable against a Top 25 squad in its last game.
The No. 14 Jayhawks seek their fifth straight win Saturday when they visit Oklahoma, which is coming off a blowout loss and has dropped seven in a row in the series.Kansas (11-3, 1-0) rolled past No. 23 Kansas State 67-49 on Wednesday, outrebounding the Wildcats 50-26 and limiting them to 31.6 percent from the field and 5 for 20 from 3-point range. Thomas Robinson had 15 points and 14 boards while Travis Releford added 16 and 11 for the Jayhawks."I never would have dreamed that we could outrebound them by that margin," said coach Bill Self, whose team built a 23-5 lead. "But we did."Robinson followed a 30-point, 21-rebound performance against North Dakota last Saturday with another strong effort. The junior is among the nation's leaders with 12.3 boards a game and is averaging a team-best 17.5 points.Kansas will be playing only its second true road game of the season, facing an Oklahoma squad that's 7-0 at home. The Jayhawks, though, have won three in a row at the Lloyd Noble Center during their seven-game win streak over the Sooners, dating to a loss in Norman on Feb. 21, 2005." ... We know (the Sooners) are capable and we have to go down there and play well," Self said. "We don't play many games away from home, so we have to get our minds right and our bodies ready to go down there and take care of business."The teams' last meeting came in Norman, an 82-70 Kansas victory Feb. 26. The Jayhawks also turned in a dominant effort on the glass in that contest, outrebounding the Sooners 35-16 and shooting 56.8 percent from the field.Oklahoma (10-3, 0-1) could be in for a similar challenge in the paint against Kansas, which has outrebounded its last 13 opponents. The Sooners rank 11th in the nation with 40.7 boards per contest, just ahead of Kansas State at 40.5.Oklahoma certainly didn't perform up to that standard in its last game, getting outrebounded 38-23 in an 87-49 defeat at No. 7 Missouri on Tuesday. The Sooners had their lowest rebound total of the season and allowed the Tigers to shoot 59.3 percent en route to the worst Big 12 loss in school history."We suffered a loss tonight, in a big number," guard Sam Grooms said. "But I don't think confidence goes down from it because even the best teams lose. It takes a game like this to hit you in the mouth, to make you think about what you could have done, what you could have been better at."Andrew Fitzgerald scored 18 points and went 8 of 15 from the floor, but the rest of the team shot 10 of 39."Didn't offer much resistance," coach Lon Kruger said. "We're tested at this point. We'll see how we respond to it."Steven Pledger will be a major focus on defense for Kansas. He is third in the conference with 18.2 points per game and looking to get back on track after an 11-point, 3-for-10 effort against Missouri.The junior has struggled with accuracy in his last four games, shooting 40 percent or less in three of them.Pledger was held to four points in the last matchup with the Jayhawks while Fitzgerald scored 16.Kansas' last five wins over Oklahoma have come by an average of 16.2 points.