Kansas is going to get plenty of chances to see how it will fare against the Pac-10, and appears eager for the first one.
The No. 6 Jayhawks will take on Arizona on Saturday night in a matchup of 5-0 teams in the championship game of the Las Vegas Invitational at the Orleans Arena.
Kansas boasts the biggest victory margin in the nation at 40.8 points per game after its easiest victory of the season, 98-41 over Ohio on Friday.
“We’re going to find out a lot about ourselves,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said. “It will be a good test on a neutral court. They overwhelm you physically, so we’ll have to rebound well on both ends.”
Arizona is trying to improve to 6-0 for the first time since 1999-2000. The Wildcats beat Santa Clara, 82-59 on Friday.
These teams have split six meetings since 2001, including two in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series when the Jayhawks won 76-72 in overtime Nov. 25, 2007, before the Wildcats won 84-67 on Dec. 23, 2008.
“They will get after us,” coach Bill Self said. “Our players know this is a big game. They blew us out last time and it is a great rivalry.”
The Jayhawks have three starters that remain from that team compared to one for the Wildcats, point guard Kyle Fogg. Forward Marcus Morris came off the bench then for Kansas, and starts now.
Morris was 11 of 14 from the field Friday to match a career high with 26 points to go along with eight rebounds. The Jayhawks shot 56.5 percent, and lead the nation at 58.5 percent.
“I thought I played well. I got some easy shots,” Morris said. “But I could have rebounded better and could have played the post better.”
Kansas will get its first look at Arizona sophomore forward Derrick Williams, who is averaging team highs of 19.8 points and 7.2 rebounds.
“He’s obviously a great athlete,” Self said. “We’ll obviously have to pay great attention to him.”
Williams shook off foul trouble for 22 points and Solomon Hill added 20 on Friday for Arizona, which played its first game away from home. Kevin Parrom and Jamelle Horne each added 12 points
“We knew coming into Vegas we had two huge challenges,” Miller said. “Everyone talks about the one tomorrow, but playing Santa Clara on a neutral court was our first game away from McKale. “
“They’re a team that came in 4-1, has a number of good players, we knew it was going to be a test. I was proud of our team.”
The Jayhawks are the first Top-10 team that the Wildcats have faced in Williams’ two seasons.
“(Kansas) is a great team and it would be a huge win for us,” Williams said. “I think we can prove a lot of people wrong tomorrow.”
Both teams should be fairly fresh, with no Kansas players logging more than 24 minutes. Hill’s 27 were the most for Arizona.