News, notes and quotes on the Sunflower Showdown between No. 6 KU and Kansas State at Allen…
Miami (5-8) returns eight letterwinners and four starters from last season's team, which went 14-18 and 9-7 in the Mid-American Conference. The RedHawks enter today's showdown on a three-game losing streak after their 83-72 loss at Belmont on Thursday.
Miami has played one of the toughest schedules in the country, losing at No. 1 Duke (79-45 on Nov. 16) and at No. 2 Ohio State (66-45 on Nov. 26).
The RedHawks are led by junior forward Julian Mavunga, who averages a team-high 13.2 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. He also paces the attack with 29 assists and 12 blocks. Senior forward Nick Winbush (11.6 ppg) and senior forward/guard Antonio Ballard (11.5 ppg) are the other two players averaging in double figures. Winbush leads Miami with 25 three-pointers and is tied for second on the team with 5.8 rebounds per game and 12 steals. Ballard is also tied for second with a 5.8 rebound average, while shooting a a team-best 52.4 percent from the field
The RedHawks average 60.8 points per game and allow 67.0. They shoot just 41.7 percent from the field, 33.1 percent from three-point range, and 72.8 percent at the free-throw line. Miami holds opponents to 43.5 percent shooting and 33 percent from beyond the arc, while being outrebounded 31.1 to 34.9 boards per game.
KU and Miami have played just once with the Jayhawks winning 78-54 in Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 22, 2007. Darrell Arthur and Darnell Jackson led the Jayhawks with 14 points each. Kansas won 37 games that season en route to the NCAA championship.
KU has faced seven of the 12 MAC schools in men's basketball and has a 9-1 record against the conference.
T-ROB PLAYING BIG
Sophomore forward Thomas Robinson is coming up big for KU. He started his first game of 2010-11 against Texas-Arlington on Dec. 29, scoring a career-high 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds for his second-double this season. Robinson, who has recorded 10 rebounds in five games this season, has shot 67.9 percent from the field (19-28) in his last four games.
He averages 10 points and 7.2 rebounds per game (10th in Big 12), while leading KU with 14 blocks (1.2 bpg is tied for 10th in Big 12) and 15 dunks.
"Thomas Robinson is playing better than any big guy right now (on the team)," KU coach Bill Self said.
Robinson said he didn't feel extra motivated starting his first game in place of Marcus Morris.
"We have a good team so if Marcus comes off the bench, or if I come off the bench, I feel like it is going to be the same result," Robinson said.
GREAT ROOM TO IMPROVE
Despite KU's perfect record and No. 3 national ranking, Self is not pleased with his team.
"There are so many things that are disappointing to me with our team because our team could be really good, but we don't have the mindset of playing a style that gives us the best chance to win against good competition. That has to change and that has to change fast," Self said.
Self said "whether we make shots or not affects how we play," and "whether another player elbows us affects how we play."
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