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November 19, 2010
Kansas' lengthy winning streak at home hasn't been in much danger through two games this season. Bill Self's club, though, might be in for a slightly stiffer challenge from upset-minded North Texas.
The seventh-ranked Jayhawks attempt to tie their longest winning streak at Allen Fieldhouse when they face the Mean Green for the first time Friday night.
Kansas (2-0), which won 62 consecutive home games from 1994-98, pulled within one of that record with a 79-44 win over Valparaiso on Monday. The Jayhawks limited the Crusaders to 27.4 percent shooting and 2 for 19 from 3-point range while holding a 47-33 advantage in rebounds. That came after a 113-75 win over Longwood three days earlier.
With the record looming, Self feels it's important to understand priorities.
"I'd rather win six in a row in March and April than win 60 in a row at home," he said. "It's not the biggest deal we have going on, but it's something that I think we're all pretty proud of."
Continued big efforts from twin brothers Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris could help the reigning Big 12 champions tie the mark. The junior forwards have been superb through two games - Marcus Morris leads the team with an average of 20.0 points while Markieff Morris is scoring 13.0 points and pulling down a team-high 14.0 rebounds.
They each recorded double-doubles in the same game for the first time Monday.
"I know that I'm a lot quicker than a lot of (forwards) and I can shoot a lot better," Marcus Morris said. "That's just how I grew up, being a versatile player."
Kansas, though, remains uncertain when top recruit Josh Selby will be available, as the point guard's status continues to be reviewed by the NCAA over amateurism issues.
"We're hopeful that a decision comes down sooner rather than later, but we have not been given a timeline based on my limited knowledge on anything," Self said.
The Jayhawks are 17-3 all-time against teams from the Sun Belt Conference, but may need to avoid overlooking North Texas (2-0).
The Mean Green are 1-53 all-time against top 10 teams with the only win coming over then-No. 8 Wichita State in January 1963. However, they're coming off an impressive 92-83 overtime win against Texas Tech on Tuesday as guard Josh White scored 32 points of 11-of-18 shooting.
He wasn't nearly as effective four nights prior, making 1 of 7 shots for nine points in a 92-66 rout of Division II Henderson State.
"He's fast," Self said of White. "North Texas' whole team is fast. They have our respect without question."
White is joined in the backcourt by fellow seniors Tristan Thompson and Dominique Johnson, who are averaging 18.0 and 16.5 points, respectively.
North Texas hasn't started 3-0 since 2007-08.