Already playing like a national championship contender, Kansas is seemingly about to get significantly better.
Josh Selby will make his long-awaited and much-anticipated debut Saturday against Southern California, as the third-ranked Jayhawks try to extend their school-record home winning streak to 65 games.
Selby was suspended for Kansas' first nine games by the NCAA for allegations tied to accepting impermissible benefits. Although the Jayhawks (9-0) won those contests by an average of 27.4 points, they're eager to get the nation's top recruit and the school's most heralded freshman since Danny Manning into the mix.
"He thinks he's the baddest boy out here every day regardless of who is out there with him, so I think you need to have confidence like that," coach Bill Self said of Selby. "But I'm not expecting him to make every shot or never turn it over which I think could be the expectations of other people who are coming to watch him. But I just want him to have a good time and have fun."
Self also wants Selby, expected to come off the bench, to find a role on a team that seems to be doing just fine without him, averaging 87.3 points to rank fifth nationally. Marcus Morris and twin brother Markieff lead the offense, with Marcus averaging a team-best 16.9 points and Markieff averaging 12.3 points and a team-high 9.1 rebounds.
Selby, a playmaking point guard, is expected to begin his collegiate career playing off the ball, something he's never previously done.
"The only thing I would like to do is don't mess up the chemistry my team already has because they have a great chemistry out there," the 6-foot-2 Baltimore native said. "Whatever my team and coaches want me to do, I will do to help them win. So if it's scoring, or natural point guard, that's what I have to do."
As Selby's suspension ends, guard Mario Little will begin serving an indefinite suspension after being arrested on charges of battery, criminal damage and criminal trespassing following a pre-dawn fight Thursday with his girlfriend and others.
The 22-year-old senior is averaging 6.2 points and 3.7 rebounds for Kansas, which is looking to open with 10 straight wins for the third time in four years.
The Jayhawks haven't played since last Saturday's 76-55 victory over Colorado State in Kansas City's Sprint Center. Markieff Morris had 12 points and 11 rebounds for his third double-double, and Tyshawn Taylor also scored 12.
Kansas has played four of its last five games away from Lawrence, but four of the next five will be at Allen Fieldhouse, where it has won 64 straight since a 69-66 loss to No. 10 Texas A&M on Feb. 3, 2007.
USC (6-4) has lost its two true road games this season and is 4-19 in such contests since 2008-09.
The Trojans will be facing their third team from the Big 12 after losing by two points in Nebraska on Nov. 27 and defeating then-No. 19 Texas 73-56 at home on Dec. 5.
Nikola Vucevic had a career-best 24 points against the Longhorns and finished with 13 points and 10 boards in last Saturday's 60-52 win over Northern Arizona. Donte Smith scored a career-high 22 points last weekend for the Trojans, who next play No. 7 Tennessee on Tuesday.
"We're getting better as a team and with what's coming up, we better be better," coach Kevin O'Neill said.
This will be the first meeting between these programs since the Jayhawks' 59-55 win Dec. 2, 2007. Kansas is 9-5 all-time against the Trojans and has won five straight in the series since an 89-83 loss in 1978.