Posted at: 12/14/2013 4:33 PM
Updated at: 12/14/2013 7:13 PM
By: Shaun Griswold, KOB.com
New Mexico Lobos (7-1) vs. No. 13 Kansas (6-3)
Saturday, December 14, 2013
5:00 p.m. (MT) Sprint Center (18,756), Kansas City, Mo.
Radio - Lobo Radio Network (770 KKOB)
TV - ESPN2
Cherry and silver will take on a blue blood in the Kansas City Shootout.
New Mexico (7-1) is in Missouri to play No. 13 Kansas (6-3) in a matchup at a neutral site on national television.
The Lobos are a week separated from a 63-54 home win against a previously unbeaten Cincinnati.
A win against the Jayhawks would propel the Lobos back into the Top 25. But first things first, Saturday’s matchup.
Kansas hopes to avoid its first three game non conference losing streak since 1983.
The Jayhawks might be vulnerable and young, four freshmen are expected to start, but Lobos head coach Craig Neal expects his opponent to also play with a chip on their shoulder after two consecutive losses.
“You’re going to see two game plans,” Neal said. “You’re going to see a team that is really really solid and trying to get back to being cohesive, or you’re going to find a team that is really pissed off and they’re going to come out and try to knock us out in the first round. We gotta be ready for both.”
New Mexico is led by the experienced trio Alex Kirk, Cameron Bairstow and Kendall Williams. The Lobos big three are the only trio in college basketball to average 18 points per game.
Kirk (18.8 ppg, 10.4 rpg) and Bairstow (19.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg) are an intimidating down low presence.
They will be matched up against sophomore forward Perry Ellis (13.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg), and freshman center Joel Embiid (8.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg).
Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins can also play inside the paint and will be a difficult matchup for the Lobos.
As his scoring goes, so does the young Kansas team.
He scored 28 points and 11 rebounds in the Jayhawks loss to Florida.
Wiggins, a 6-foot-8-inch freshman and future NBA Lottery pick, has 16.4 points per game and 6.1 rebounds a game.
Williams (19.1 ppg) should take an early defensive man assignment against Parker, but the Lobos will throw everything they can to stop his scoring.
This will be the first matchup between the Lobos and Jayhawks in 49 years (1964-1965). The series is tied 1-1.