Though fiercely cold weather is in the forecast, Kansas coach Bill Self is adamant his No. 4 Jayhawks will take the floor against Harvard on Thursday night in Lawrence, Kan.
Temperature forecasts below zero and up to three inches of snow on Thursday night didn’t sway Self from his belief.
“We know it’s going to be cold, but cold never called off a basketball game before,” Self said in Tuesday’s press conference “So, as long as we’ve got heat in the building, we’ll be playing.”
However, Iowa State canceled its Wednesday home game against Omaha due to similar weather forecasts. But Kansas is preparing to play at Phog Allen Fieldhouse, and all it needs is Harvard to make its flight from California to the Midwest on Wednesday after the Crimson (8-4) won 62-57 at UC Irvine on Tuesday night.
“We’ll have a good crowd,” Self said. “And, hopefully, if something happens where we have the feeling where it’s not going to be because of weather, then the administration will be creative in figuring out a way to get some people here.”
The Jayhawks (10-1) have won four consecutive games and are coming off an impressive 84-62 rout of then-No. 14 Indiana on Saturday.
Kansas racked up 17 steals — matching its best output since having 18 against Kansas City on Jan. 5, 2011. Gradey Dick and Kevin McCullar each had five thefts.
Dick scored 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range, as he raised his scoring average to 15.8. Dick ranks second on the squad in scoring.
“We came out with energy and that just picks everything up, and our defense transitions into offense,” Dick said afterward.
Jalen Wilson leads Kansas in both scoring (21.1) and rebounding (9.3). Wilson has six 20-point efforts but scored a season-low 11 points on 4-of-18 shooting against Indiana.
McCullar added 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.
Harvard is playing the second contest of a six-game road trip.
The Crimsom shot just 36.7 percent from the field and was 4 of 22 from 3-point range on Tuesday, but still were able to hold off the Anteaters and improve to 4-1 on the road.
UC Irvine was just as cold with its shooting, hitting 37.3 percent overall and 2 of 14 from behind the arc.
Harvard was sloppy with 16 turnovers but had a solid 45-35 rebounding advantage to compensate.
Chris Ledlum recorded 18 points and nine rebounds for the Crimson. He leads the club in scoring (18.8) and rebounding (7.8).
Ledlum has topped 20 points four times this season and has shot 50 percent or better eight times this season.
As the lone player averaging double-digit points, Ledlum is the No. 1, 2 and 3 options for Harvard.
“He’s tough. He’s competitive,” Crimson coach Tommy Amaker said after a loss to UMass earlier this month. “We get on his back and he carries us.”
Luka Sakota (12 points) and Chisom Okpara (10) also scored in double digits against UC Irvine for Harvard.
The Jayhawks won the lone previous meeting, 75-69 on Dec. 5, 2015 at Phog Allen Fieldhouse.
–Field Level Media