The Kansas Jayhawks will look for their sixth straight win as they take on the Long Beach State 49ers Tuesday night in Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas (5-1) has risen from their 0-1 start to win five straight, including an upset over No. 1 Duke in Madison Square Garden and a Friday night thrashing over UNC Asheville.
The 95-57 win over the Bulldogs was Udoka Azubuike’s coming out party, as the freshman center dunked his way to a career-best 17 points, the majority of which were dunks or lobs from dynamic guards, Frank Mason III, Devonte’ Graham or freshman sensation Josh Jackson.
Speaking of Jackson, the top recruit has been quite productive as well. The freshman combo guard has scored in double digits of all five wins, earning Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors for two straight weeks.
Jackson’s dynamic backcourt partners, Frank Mason III and Devonte’ Graham, will play a huge role as well.
Mason, the top scorer on the team, has been KU’s most consistent playmaker all year. Graham, who’s known for his defensive prowess, has been effective offensively as well, chipping in 13 points, three rebounds and five assists per game.
Kansas also did something on Friday that they haven’t done all season, starting a four guard lineup with Mason, Graham, Vick, Jackson, and Azubuike.
The change-up worked to perfection, as the Jayhawks were able to unleash their biggest strength: athleticism.
Look for the Jayhawks to continue using this lineup moving forward, as they face off against the 1-7 Long Beach State 49ers
The 49ers are lead by junior forward Gabe Levin, who averages 13 points per game with seven boards. Long Beach State also has playmaking junior guard Evan Payne, who’s second on the team in points (11.5) and leads in free throw percentage (90%).
The 49ers have a dangerous sharp-shooter as well in freshman guard Jordan Griffin, who leads the team in three-point percentage with a 38% clip from distance.
Matchup to Watch:
Junior forward Gabe Levin vs. freshman center Udoka Azubuike
The veteran Levin leads the 49ers in points and grabs seven boards a game. The junior forward could cause fits for freshman Udoka Azubuike, who’s still learning how to defensively use his feet and upper body around the post area.
Coming off the biggest game of his young career, KU’s expectations are heightened for the freshman, and he will have a tough test against the experienced forward from Long Beach State.