Kansas to Host No. 19 Kentucky in Men's Basketball Saturday at 11 a.m. on ESPN

Jan. 5, 2006

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Here are just a few angles to take when discussing the Kansas-Kentucky men’s basketball game:
–Two of the top three most winningest programs in NCAA Division I men’s basketball history square off – 1. Kentucky – 1,914 wins; 2. North Carolina – 1,868 wins; 3. KANSAS – 1,856 wins; 4. Duke – 1,777 wins.
–Kansas has won a season-best five straight heading into the game. Kentucky’s current four-game winning streak is also a season best.
–Both schools’ facilities are named after KU greats. Kentucky’s Rupp Arena is named after Adolph Rupp who was from Halstead, Kan., a KU graduate and played at KU in 1923 under coach F.C. “Phog” Allen of which Allen Fieldhouse is named.
–Former Tulsa coaches Bill Self and Tubby Smith meet for the third time with each having claimed a victory.

About Kansas
Kansas has won its last five games after its 87-46 victory against Yale on Wednesday. The Jayhawks are outscoring opponents 75.4 to 59 on the season and 81.9 to 55 in their eight wins. Conversely, KU’s four losses have come by an average of 4.5 points with three of those by three points or less. KU leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense at 35.5 and in blocked shots at 6.7 per contest. It’s 59 points allowed per game is second in the league. Freshman Brandon Rush leads Kansas with an 11.8 scoring average. The guard is making a team-best 54.8 percent from three-point range. Sophomore centers Sasha Kaun and C.J. Giles are next in scoring. Kaun is averaging 10.9 points per game and leads KU in rebounding with a 6.7 average. Giles is scoring 8.4 points per contest, is second on the team in rebounds at 6.5 and leads the team in blocked shots at 2.3 per outing. Three Jayhawks have 35 or more assists on the season with senior Jeff Hawkins at 39, freshman Mario Chalmers at 38 and sophomore Russell Robinson at 35. Chalmers leads KU in steals with 26 through 12 games. Senior Christian Moody leads Kansas in field goal percentage making 60.5 percent of his shots.

About Kentucky
Kentucky has won its last four games and five of its last six heading into Lawrence. Currently ranked No. 19 in the Associated Press and No. 21 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ polls, the Wildcats are coming off a 59-57 win against Central Florida Tuesday. UK has held all but two opponents to under 70 points this season and is outscoring foes 70.6 to 61.4. Sophomore guard Rajon Rondo leads UK in scoring and rebounding with a 15.1 scoring average and 8.2 rebounds per game. Rondo also paces the team in assists with 5.3 per contest and steals at two per outing. Sophomore guard Ramel Bradley is next in scoring at 9.7 per game and sophomore guard Joe Crawford is averaging 9.3 points per contest. Today will be Kentucky’s second trip to the Midwest as it finished third in the Guardian’s Classic at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City Nov. 21-22.

The Coaches
Kansas coach Bill Self is in his third season at KU with a 55-20 (.733) record. Overall, Self is in his 13th season with a 262-125 (.677) mark. In 2004-05, Self won his fifth league title as a head coach in the past seven years with the other two being second-place finishes. He won two titles at Tulsa (1999, 2000), two at Illinois (2001, 2002) and a share of the Big 12 title at Kansas in 2005. A 1985 graduate of Oklahoma State University, Self recorded his 250th career win at Kansas State on Feb. 9, 2005. His win against Colorado last season marked his seventh straight 20-win season as a head coach and eighth overall. Self is 1-1 against Kentucky.

In eight seasons, Kentucky head coach Tubby Smith has guided the Wildcats to a national championship, five SEC titles – including the 2005 title – and five SEC tournament championships. In 2003, Smith earned nine national coach of the year awards in leading UK to a 32-4 record – 19-0 versus the SEC (league season and conference tournament titles). Smith is in his 15th season overall and is 353-123 with stints at Tulsa and Georgia prior to taking over at Kentucky. He is 229-61 in his ninth season at UK.

The Series
Kentucky leads the all-time series with Kansas, 19-4, with three of Kansas’ four wins coming in the last six meetings. The series dates back to 1950 with a 68-39 UK win in Lexington. Last year, KU won its first series meeting in Lexington (65-59) in eight tries. Kansas head coach Bill Self is 1-1 against Kentucky – 1-0 while at Kansas after last season’s win and 0-1 the head coach of Tulsa in 1998 (the Wildcats emerged victorious in the game, 74-53). Kentucky head coach Tubby Smith is 2-1 against KU. Besides last season, Smith defeated the Jayhawks twice during the 1998-99 season – 63-45 in the Great Eight in Chicago Dec. 1, 1998 and 92-88 in overtime in the NCAA Midwest Regional at the Superdome in New Orleans on March 14, 1999. Kansas’ single-game record of 150 points came against Kentucky in a 150-95 win over Rick Pitino’s Wildcats on Dec. 9, 1989 in Lawrence.

Up Next
Kansas will start its Big 12 title defense at Colorado on January 11 at 8 p.m. (Central) and return home to play Kansas State January 14 at 12:45 p.m. Kansas has won 14 straight conference openers dating back to 1992.