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October 25, 2006

Florida-Kansas highlights early schedule

Preseason Top 25
Top Sleepers for '06-'07
The College Basketball Wire

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Rivals.com selected the top 25 storylines for the upcoming 2006-07 college basketball season and will be releasing articles daily, counting down from No. 25 to No. 1. The No. 14 storyline focuses on the matchup between Florida and Kansas on Nov. 25 in Las Vegas.

College basketball fans finally have a reason to pay attention in November. And to stay up late, too.

Defending national champion Florida and Kansas will meet on Nov. 25 in Las Vegas at 10:30 ET in what may be a matchup of No. 1 vs. No. 2 and a possible preview of the national championship game.

The Gators are almost guaranteed to start the preseason with the top spot in the polls since they return every starter and their top seven scorers from last season.

Kansas also returns all its starters from a team that won 15 of 16 games entering the 2006 NCAA Tournament. The addition two five-star recruits has many picking the Jayhawks as one of the favorites in the national title hunt.

There are several more intriguing storylines involved.

Five likely first-round draft picks will be playing. Florida's center Joakim Noah, power forward Al Horford and small forward Corey Brewer were all projected as first-round picks in the last draft, but chose to stay in school. Noah had a chance to be the top overall pick.

Kansas small forward Brandon Rush, who became the first freshman to lead Kansas in scoring (13.5 ppg) and rebounding (5.9 rpg) last season, might have been a lottery pick if he left college. Power forward Darrell Arthur, one of the two highly touted freshman, has the potential to be a top-10 pick.

While both teams are loaded with overwhelming talent, they are also very different when it comes to their style of play.

The Gators are built around their imposing frontcourt of Brewer, Horford and Noah all 6-foot-8 or taller. The trio normally overpowers most opposing big men on the inside.

That Jayhawks rely heavily on guards Rush, Russell Robinson and Mario Chalmers. Robinson and Chalmers, who led the Big 12 in steals as a freshman last season, are also former five-star recruits. Sherron Collins, who was ranked the No. 3 point guard in the class of 2006, also figures to play a significant role.

All the contrasting styles, future NBA players and lofty rankings don't necessarily equate to a great game though.

Last season, then-No. 1 ranked Duke rolled to an easy 97-66 win over No. 2 Texas on a neutral court in East Rutherford, N.J. on Dec. 10.

Both teams were loaded with talent and veterans, too. That contest featured three lottery picks: Duke's J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams (who combined for 64 points in the game) and Texas' LaMarcus Aldridge.



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