At 3-1, the Towson men's basketball team is off to its best start since the 2008-09 season, when that squad also won three of its first four games.
The Tigers will get a true barometer of their progress when they travel to Lawrence, Kan., to meet the No. 2 Jayhawks on Friday night. Kansas, which has won three national championships, is 2-0 against Towson, and coach Pat Skerry said the Jayhawks are well deserving of the acclaim they are receiving.
"I think they're the best team in the country," Skerry said Wednesday afternoon. "So it's obviously a monumental, but a great and exciting challenge. They have a handful of pros. They have no weaknesses. Bill Self is as good a coach as there is in the country. They do a lot of things that we'd like to do. They guard, they rebound, they get out in transition, and they share it. I think the big thing for us is getting to play against what I would consider a couple of elite teams in Kansas and Villanova and Temple. It's a heck of a stretch, but it's a stretch that we're going to need to play for when we get ready to go on the road in the [Colonial Athletic Association]."
Kansas has been getting plenty of attention thanks to freshman guard Andrew Wiggins, who is averaging 17 points and six rebounds per game and is widely considered to be the No. 1 overall pick in next year's NBA draft. But the Jayhawks also feature sophomore forward Perry Ellis, who leads the team in scoring (19 points per game) and shooting (72.4 field-goal percentage), and freshman point guard Wayne Selden Jr. (10 points and 4.3 assists per game).
"Hopefully, you can make them take tough shots and they have an off night shooting the ball," Skerry said. "They're too explosive and too well-coached just to take certain guys out. There are too many good players, and they know roles and they run good offense."
The Tigers -- who lost 100-54 in Lawrence in November 2011 -- figure to be significant underdogs against Kansas, but upsets have been known to happen. Could another David vs. Goliath development be in the works?
"We've got to do what we do," Skerry said. "We've got to be incredibly sharp. We can't turn the ball over obviously. We have to guard at an incredibly high level and get back in transition. We're going to have to shoot at an incredibly high percentage. It's one game. It's not a best-of-seven series. So it's possible. Obviously, we want to win every game on our schedule, but I think the big thing for us is we do what we do on a daily basis to make sure that we're getting better on a daily basis."