Boy, oh boy. Is this one going to be fun or what?
Two of college basketball's most storied programs of the last few decades are off to fantastic starts this 2010-11 season, so the upcoming clash that opens this year's Jimmy V Classic featuring the No. 4 Kansas Jayhawks and No. 13 Memphis Tigers should be one of this year's most entertaining games.
More specifically, this should be a high scoring contest that features some flash and dash on both ends of the floor.
Both teams come into the game undefeated at 7-0, so someone is headed home with their first loss. Thus far, the Jayhawks have the upper hand when it comes to strength of schedule with wins against Arizona and UCLA. Memphis has wins against LSU and Miami (Fl.) to their credit. Then again, the bulk of the schedule for both teams includes the usual blowouts against the likes of Centenary and Longwood.
The Memphis Tigers rank ninth in the nation in scoring, while the Kansas Jayhawks rank third. The Jayhawks also lead the country in field goal percentage, a testament to a well-coached team that emphasizes solid shot selection. The final results, at least in total points scored, should be the opposite of what happened last November, when Kansas squeezed by Memphis by two points, 57-55.
Memphis coach Josh Pastner tried to calm the expectation of this game for his players. "Tuesday's game versus Kansas is going to be a big-time game in a big-time atmosphere. Bottom line is, as I told our guys, this is just another game on our schedule and we are not getting too high with the highs or too low with the lows."
Perhaps that's the right thing to say to the team, but for fans of entertaining college basketball, this is just about as good as it gets in early December.