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January 17, 2011

KU will be tested on Big Monday

Bill Self is not satisfied with Kansas' play, but the Jayhawks are among four unbeaten Division I teams. A visit to Baylor appears to give them a good chance to stay that way.

Third-ranked Kansas looks for an improved performance while continuing its dominance of the Bears on Monday night.

The Jayhawks (17-0, 2-0 Big 12) are off to their best start since winning the first 20 games of 2007-08 en route to a national title. They're outscoring opponents by an average of 22.3 points, joining No. 2 Ohio State, fourth-ranked Syracuse and No. 6 San Diego State as unbeatens.

Kansas, though, has won its last three games by an average of 5.0 points, the most recent a 63-60 victory over Nebraska on Saturday. The Jayhawks had to overcome a 10-point second-half deficit against Cornhuskers to extend their home-court winning streak to 69.

"It's tough. This would have been a hard one not to win because on paper you have to hold serve at home," Self said. "We have a quick turnaround to play a team that we probably have to play a little different than what we have played.

"We just have to get some consistent guard play. If we can get some consistent guard play I think we can look pretty good. Right now we're struggling in that area. We just need to get some guys playing like they are capable of playing."

The Jayhawks' backcourt of Tyshawn Taylor, Tyrel Reed and Josh Selby combined for 26 points and eight turnovers Saturday. They totaled 19 points while giving the ball away seven times in an 84-79 win at Iowa State on Wednesday.

Taylor has scored nine points and shot 4 of 12 over the last two games. The junior's 3.1 turnovers per contest rank among the highest in the conference.

The problems at guard have been overcome by strong play from forward Marcus Morris, the team leader with 16.7 points per game. The junior forward has averaged 23.7 points and 11.3 rebounds over the last three games.

Morris had 22 points and eight boards in an 81-75 home win over then-No. 25 Baylor on Jan. 20 in the lone meeting last season.

That was the Jayhawks' 15th win in 17 all-time meetings with the Bears, and they've won six of seven at Waco. Kansas has taken four in a row at the Ferrell Center by an average of 19.2 points.

Baylor, though, has gone 26-1 in its last 27 on its home court, winning the last 15 there by 18.1 points a contest.

The Bears (12-4, 2-1) are looking to rebound from a 72-57 loss to the Cyclones on Saturday. They allowed Iowa State to shoot 50.0 percent after holding Texas Tech and Oklahoma to a combined 38.9 in winning the previous two games.

Guard LaceDarius Dunn leads the Big 12 with 22.3 points per game and scored 20 on Saturday. However, he's turning the ball over 3.2 times per game, second in the conference to teammate A.J. Walton's 3.3.

Dunn has averaged 21.8 points in four meetings with the Jayhawks and scored 27 against them last season.



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