Jayhawk fans were understandably nervous Monday night when guard Ben McLemore crumpled to the ground, clutching his ankle in pain. He suffered a grade one sprain in a win against Baylor and many wondered if he’d be ready for Saturday’s road contest at Texas.
At his weekly media session, Thursday, coach Bill Self calmed the faithful.
“I think he’s fine,” Self proclaimed, adding that McLemore was tender and sore, but participated in practice and will be ready go against the Longhorns at close to 100 percent.
With that, fourth ranked Kansas moves on to a road game at Texas, a team that’s usually given them their toughest opposition in the Big 12.
But, this season has been different for Rick Barnes’ Longhorns, who are struggling and near the bottom of the league at 8-8 and 0-3 in the conference. Still, Self is wary about a team that he considers to be among the youngest in the nation an one that can beat anyone.
The Longhorns will start three sophomores and two freshmen, Saturday. They are already without Myck Kabongo, who is serving a suspension until February.
"Rick (Barnes) will get it back, I just hope it doesn’t happen at our expense," Self said.
Texas knocked off North Carolina in December , but has had some bad losses, such an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Division III Chamanade at the Maui Invitational in November. They’ve also dropped their first three conference games to Baylor, West Virginia and Iowa State.
The first two losses are deceiving though, as both came in overtime and were both games the Horns had the chance to win. The loss to the Cyclones was a 20-point blowout.
A look closer however, reveals a young team that can defend, as Self pointed out on Thursday.
“Our field goal percentage defense and Texas’ is very comparable, but they are kicking our butt in three point field goal percentage,” Self said. “They do a much better job so far in guarding the arch…it’s hard to get easy baskets on them.”