For Kansas fans, Friday's third round game of the Las Vegas Invitational against Ohio was considered a warm-up for tomorrow's showdown with Arizona.
Facing a squad picked to win the MAC, the players knew just how tough this game could be if they went through the motions. After this awesome performance, it's safe to say KU didn't take the Bobcats lightly.
The Jayhawks played arguably their best game of the young year in dismantling Ohio to the tune of 98-41, a whopping 57 point differential.
Perhaps more impressive, Kansas held Ohio to just 23 percent from the field, didn't allow a single three pointer and had a double digit advantage on the glass. After a slow start offensively, KU got hot, hitting 57 percent of their shots and nine of 22 three pointers, with soaring dunks and lobs in between.
Marcus Morris continued his stellar play with 26 points (11-of-14 FG) and 8 rebounds, while Travis Releford came off the bench for 13 points—a career high for the sophomore wing.
Releford had a breakout game of sorts, hitting a three consecutive three pointers in the first half and showing good activity on both ends of the floor.
This was a total team effort, though, as nine Jayhawks—including seldom used walk on Jordan Juenemann—scored five points or more.
After a game like this, one wonders just how good this team may be. Thankfully, we'll learn more tomorrow as Kansas takes on Arizona, by far their toughest opponent of the season thus far.
The Wildcats are led by sophomore F Derrick Williams, a player eerily similar to Marcus Morris who averages 19 points and eight rebounds per game. He is a physical force on the block but shows deft touch and ball handling skill when away from the basket.
The matchup at the four between he and Morris is one of two future pros, and should be the game's most influential.
Aside from Williams, the Arizona boasts a balanced and athletic attack with Kyle Fogg, Solomon HIll and Jamelle Horne leading the way.
The Wildcats are short on experienced, proven players, but certainly don't lack talent or explosive athletes. They match up better with the Jayhawks in those areas as well as almost any team on KU's 2010-2011 schedule.
Quite frankly, Arizona is no powerhouse and a far cry from their better teams of recent memory. Still, a Wildcats team picked in the preseason as second best in the Pac-10 is certainly capable of giving Kansas a fight.
Don't be surprised if they do, but also don't be surprised if the Jayhawks win comfortably.
They've looked that good this season.
Regardless, this early season clash between two traditional powers should tell us a lot about whether or not KU is a potential national champion this season—even before the addition of freshman star Josh Selby.