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USF-Kansas Preview, Or Bulls Look For A Miracle

Your USF Bulls (5-3) finish up their mini two game roadtrip as they take on the #14 Kansas Jayhawks (4-2) tonight at the legendary Allen Fieldhouse. Game is scheduled for 5:20 PM and will be aired nationally on ESPN2 as well as streamed on ESPN3. If you can't get in front of a TV or your computer, Jim Lighthall and Todd Kalas will have the call for you on 620 WDAE. Here are your probable starting lineups for tonight.

6'3" Sr. Tyshawn Thomas G 6'1" Fr. Anthony Collins
6'4" Jr. Elijah Johnson
G 6'0" Soph. Blake Nash
6'6" Jr. Travis Releford G/F 6'8" Soph. Victor Rudd
6'10" Jr. Thomas Robinson
F 6'8" Jr. Toarlyn Fitzpatrick
7'0" Jr. Jeff Withey
F 6'8" Ron Anderson Jr.

Kansas is led by the inside/outside combo of Tyshawn Thomas (16.3 PTS/3.3 AST/1.5 REB and Thomas Robinson (16.5 PTS/12.8 REB/1.7 AST/1.5 BLK). Thomas has been the catalyst for the Jayhawks offense, getting most of his points from driving to the lane and either finishing in the lane or getting to the line after getting fouled. Robinson is a load in the post for Bill Self and is the reason why Jayhawk fans aren't building memorials for the Morris twins.

Behind those two are the trio of Elijah Johnson (9.7 PTS/2.5 REB/3.7 AST/1.8 STL), Travis Releford (8.5 PTS/3.5 REB/1.7 AST/1.5 STL), and Jeff Withey (8.2 PTS/5.7 REB/1.0 AST/2.2 BLK). Johnson is the three point shooter of the team, shooting over a third of Kansas' total three point attempts this year. Granted, he's shooting only 31% from three, but teams respect his shot enough that it gives Thomas and the posts the space needed to work in the paint. Releford isn't the first or third option on the court, but he's an efficient shooter when he does get the ball and is probably Kansas' best on-ball defender. Withey is there to be a deterrent in the post, but he's taken care of his chances on the offensive end when given the chance.

Due to players leaving for the NBA and eligibility issues, Kansas only goes 8 deep on their bench. Leading the way is 6'6" Sr. Conner Tehean (6.2 PTS/2.3 REB). The former walk-on has been pressed into service this season, and is the team's best three point shooter. The other guard off the bench is 5'11" Fr. Naadir Tharpe (1.3 PTS/1.3 AST). Not much of a scoring threat, Thorpe is there to run the offense and give Taylor a breather. The only post for Self off the bench is 6'8" Soph. Justin Wesley (2.8 PTS/2.8 REB). Like Thorpe, Wesley is there to give the Robinson and Withey a break while holding his own on defense.

Its going to be hard for USF to pull off the upset. If there is one thing that has me optimistic, is how quickly the Kansas bigs get into foul trouble. All of their posts average 3 fouls a game, and Withey and Wesley each almost give up four fouls a game. Even with that in mind, I just don't think USF is going to pull it out.

Kansas by 15