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UTEP-Kansas Preview

AP - Sports

The last time Kansas faced Texas-El Paso, they were stunned in the NCAA tournament almost 22 years ago.

There's a lot less at stake this time, but coach Bill Self would like his Jayhawks to learn a lesson.

Second-ranked Kansas will try to bounce back from its worst performance of the season Saturday night, when they face the Miners in the third-place game of the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas.

The Jayhawks (5-1) have lost all three meetings with UTEP (4-2), most recently when they were dumped out of the second round of the 1992 NCAA tournament as the region's top seed.

A loss Saturday won't have the same impact, but Self would like to see some improvement after a 63-59 defeat to Villanova. The Jayhawks shot a season-low 38.9 percent from the floor - 2 for 11 from beyond the arc - while giving up the decisive 3-pointer with 10.1 seconds left.

"We're a long ways to go," Self said. "I love our talent, I love our players and all that stuff. But the thing is, there's a difference between trying hard and actually competing. And we have to learn how to compete. And it's not going to happen overnight."

An improved effort from guard Andrew Wiggins would also help.

The freshman phenom is expected to be one of the top picks in next summer's NBA Draft, but he didn't come close to matching that lofty expectation against the Wildcats. Wiggins finished with a season-low 10 points, shot 3 of 8 from the field and committed four turnovers.

Still, he leads Kansas with 15.7 points per game, while Perry Ellis isn't far behind at 14.5.

Ellis, though, is averaging 10.0 over the past three games after getting 11 on Friday.

The Miners are looking to upset the Jayhawks again while bouncing back from their own poor performance.

They were dominated in every facet of Friday's 89-53 loss to No. 23 Iowa, shooting 5 of 22 from long range and a season-low 34.6 percent overall while being outrebounded 46-24.

"Our inadequacies were obvious to even the casual basketball observer," coach Tim Floyd said after he watched his team let the Hawkeyes shot 9 of 16 from beyond the arc and 52.5 percent for the game. "We didn't get back on defense. You shoot the kind of percentage they shoot, you're shooting open shots, layups, uncontested shots, rebound-putback baskets. And we had deficiencies in rebounding the ball."

Like Kansas, UTEP could use a better performance from its top scorer.

McKenzie Moore leads the Miners with 13.3 points per game, but he mustered a season-low five while going 2 of 9 against the Hawkeyes. That came a day after the junior guard had a season-high 19 points in a 78-70 win over Tennessee in the opening round of this tournament.

Julian Washburn, second to Moore with 11.0 points per contest, has totaled 25 points in the two tournament games.

The Miners have lost six straight to ranked opponents since beating then-No. 25 UAB on Jan. 30, 2010, and 20 of the last 21 overall.

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