The Belmont Bruins will stroll into Allen Fieldhouse Saturday night and for Kansas and coach Bill Self, taking them lightly would be the worse thing they could do against a team that might be perceived differently if the names on the front of their jerseys look more familiar.
“Belmont can beat us, I’m telling you,” Self said, “They can beat us, they can stretch it, they can take advantage of ball screens and matchups and they’re superbly coached.”
The Bruins, a regular in the NCAA Tournament and one of the favorites in the Ohio Valley Conference, have Self’s attention going into Saturday’s game.
“If Belmont played in our league, they’d have success. They would,” Self said.
The game will be the Jayhawks first since throttling Colorado 90-54 last Saturday. After having eight days off before that game, Kansas enjoys another seven day break before a three game week beginning with the Bruins.
Next Tuesday, the Jayhawks host Richmond, a team they defeated in the Sweet 16 two years ago. Following the game against the Spiders, Kansas travels to Ohio State for a Final Four rematch.
Though the games aren’t as numerous in December, make no mistake that the Christmas break for students is an opportune time for the team to get better and take their biggest strides forward as conference play approaches.
“Beginning Sunday, it’ll be more intense, whether it’d be film or whatever, we can get a lot more stuff in because there are no limitation to what you can do,” Self said. “I really think our teams get better when there is no school in session. I think we have four weeks where there’s no school in session, which is the hardest time for a student athlete, because they’re not with their family or friends, or girlfriends and they’re stuck up here twice a day and it can become a pretty monotonous time if you allow it to be.”