South Florida-Kansas Preview
By MATT BEARDMORE
(AP) -- Kansas coach Bill Self doesn't even want to think about next Saturday's showdown in Lawrence.
He's got enough on his mind after watching his team's halfhearted effort the last time out.
The 15th-ranked Jayhawks continue a five-game homestand Saturday when they face South Florida for the first time.
Kansas (4-2) has faced one of the country's toughest schedules. Its two losses were to teams currently ranked among the nation's top three - 75-65 to Kentucky on Nov. 15 and 68-61 to Duke in the Maui Invitational final Nov. 23 - and those came around wins over Georgetown and UCLA. The Jayhawks' next major test should come Dec. 10, when second-ranked Ohio State makes its first visit to Allen Fieldhouse in 12 years.
"We can't worry about them. We're not ready to play Ohio State yet," Self said following Wednesday's 77-54 victory over Florida Atlantic. "What we have to do is get better each and every day. ... Tonight we didn't have it, and the guys know it."
The Jayhawks had season highs with 53 rebounds and 13 blocks, but they also committed 17 turnovers for a second consecutive game and went 4 of 13 from 3-point range. Self said the team looked like it had a "Maui hangover" after winning two of three in that tournament.
"We're not a good team yet, to the point where we're a good team for 40 minutes," forward Thomas Robinson said after scoring 19 points with a career-high 17 rebounds. "That'll get better, just keep our focus and not catching ADD halfway through the game."
The Bulls (5-3) better not lose track of Robinson, averaging 16.5 points and a Big 12-best 12.8 boards while setting a program record with six double-doubles to open the season. Seven straight would tie the school mark set by Drew Gooden and Raef LaFrentz.
South Florida's chances of preventing that from happening greatly improve if senior forward Augustus Gilchrist is in the lineup. The preseason All-Big East honorable mention pick has been sidelined the past three games with a left shoulder injury suffered in a 53-49 loss to Penn State on Nov. 20.
Gilchrist is averaging 11.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.6 blocks.
"Just having Gilchrist back gives us a little more presence on our front line and a little bit stronger inside game," coach Stan Heath told the school's official website.
Whether Gilchrist returns or not, the Bulls' front line of Victor Rudd (team-high 12.5 points per game), Toarlyn Fitzpatrick and Ron Anderson Jr. could pose plenty of problems for Robinson and 7-foot center Jeff Withey.
Fitzpatrick has averaged 9.7 points and a team-best 8.7 rebounds since Gilchrist's injury, while Anderson has a team-high 46 points with 25 boards during that stretch. He had 15 points and nine rebounds Wednesday in a 69-46 loss at Virginia Commonwealth.
"He's bringing great energy to the court, and he's been relentless on the glass for us and scoring around the basket," Heath said of Anderson, who played his first two seasons at Kansas State.
Elijah Johnson has been the Jayhawks' biggest outside threat with 10 3-pointers, but the junior guard hopes to step up Saturday after going scoreless with a career-high seven turnovers Wednesday.
"He's still in Hawaii," Self said. "He didn't get hung over, he got left behind."
Kansas has won 53 of 54 at home in non-conference play.
South Florida has dropped 14 in a row to ranked opponents since a 72-64 victory over then-No. 7 Georgetown on Feb. 3, 2010.
Updated December 2, 2011