No. 1 Kansas Closes Out Non-Conference Play at No. 16/15 Tennessee in Men's Basketball Sunday
Jan. 8, 2010
No. 1 Kansas faces its second Top 25 team in eight days when it travels to No. 16/15 Tennessee, Sunday at 3:30 p.m. on CBS. The Jayhawks are one of only four teams that remain undefeated in NCAA Division I following their 71-66 win against Cornell Wednesday. Both ranked foes in eight days have been on the road as KU won at No. 18/19 Temple 84-52 on Jan. 2. Tennessee is 11-2 on the season and has won three straight and seven of its last eight games. The Volunteers defeated Charlotte 88-71 on Wednesday.
Top-ranked Kansas is 14-0 for the third time in the Bill Self era and the first since the 2007-08 NCAA National Championship season when KU opened with a 20-0 record. Kansas was also 14-0 in the 2004-05 season, Self’s second year in Lawrence. Kansas averages 86.3 points per game and gives up 58.6 for a NCAA Division I leading +27.6 scoring margin. The Jayhawks have shot 50 percent or better in six of their last seven games and have held all but two opponents – Radford and Cornell – to under 40 percent shooting in 2009-10. KU ranks in the top three of all but three Big 12 statistics and leads the conference in scoring margin, field goal percentage (.513), three-point field goal percentage (.431), field goal percentage defense (.344), assists (19.2) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5). Freshman guard Xavier Henry leads the team with a 16.1 point scoring average. He has shot 50 percent or better in nine of 14 games this season and is making .494 percent of his shots from the field. Xavier is second in the Big 12 with his 47.1 three-point field goal percentage. Xavier leads KU with 32 threes and 25 steals. Senior guard Sherron Collins is coming off a career-high 33 points against Cornell and is averaging 15.1 points on the season. He is second on the team with 28 three-pointers. Collins leads Kansas with 58 assists and is second in steals with 21. Junior center Cole Aldrich just missed his fourth straight double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds against Cornell. He has six DDs on the year and 28 for his career. Aldrich leads KU in rebounds with 10.0 per game and blocked shots at 3.7. His rebounds are fourth in the Big 12 and his blocked shots are second. Sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor scores 6.9 points per game and is just behind Collins in assists with 57. He has 34 assists with just six turnovers in his last seven games. Sophomore forward Marcus Morris is scoring 10.9 points per contest and has scored in double figures in four of his last five outings. He has shot 50 percent or better in six of his last seven games and in 11 of 14 games in 2009-10. Marcus’ twin, sophomore forward Markieff Morris, is coming off the bench to score 7.0 points per game. He is shooting 59 percent from the field and pulls down 5.5 rebounds per game, which is 19th in the Big 12. Junior guard Brady Morningstar returned to the lineup against Michigan (Dec. 19) and has 18 assists and three turnovers in 20 minutes per game. Morningstar has made one three-pointer in four of his five games played this season and is scoring 3.6 points per contest. Junior guard Tyrel Reed scores 4.5 points per outing and he has 16 three-pointers and 22 field goals made this season. Freshman guard Elijah Johnson (4.2 ppg) has started two games this season. Thomas Robinson (4.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg) is another KU regular.
Kansas is the five-time defending Big 12 champion, finishing 27-8 last season and winning the 2009 league title outright with a 14-2 conference record. The Jayhawks advanced to their third-straight NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 before falling to NCAA runner-up Michigan State in Indianapolis last year.
Located in Knoxville, Tenn., No. 16/15 Tennessee is 7-0 at home this season and 11-2 on the year. UT is 35-2 in non-conference home games under head coach Bruce Pearl. The Vols are scoring 81.9 points per game and give up 63.6 for a +18.3 scoring margin. Tennessee is shooting 48.3 percent from the field and holding opponents to a 38.7 field goal percentage. UT averages 9.6 steals and 17.3 assists contest. Four Vols (junior guard Melvin Goins, senior guard/forward Tyler Smith, sophomore guard Cameron Tatum and junior center Brian Williams) remain on indefinite suspension from all team-related activities pending the results of a legal investigation stemming from an incident in Knoxville the morning of Jan. 1. Sophomore guard Scotty Hopson leads the team with a 13.5 scoring average. He has a team-high 24 three-pointers and is making 42.9 percent from beyond the arc. Smith is next in scoring at 11.7 points per game and leads the team in assists with 44 and is second with 17 steals. Senior forward/center Wayne Chism pulls down a team-best 5.8 rebounds per contest to complement his 11.5 scoring average. He leads the Vols with 13 blocked shots. Tatum is scoring 8.7 points per game. Senior guard Bobby Maze is a starter who averages 7.9 points per game and is third on the team with 38 assists. Senior guard J.P. Prince is second on the squad with 41 assists and is scoring 6.3 points per game. Goins and Williams are next in scoring at 6.1 ppg, and 5.9 ppg, respectively. Williams is second on the team with 5.4 rebounds per contest. Freshman guard Skylar McBee comes off the bench to score 4.5 points per game, while sophomore guard/forward Renaldo Wooldridge is at 4.1 ppg.
Kansas and Tennessee have met only once in men’s basketball, but the Jayhawks are no stranger to the Southeastern Conference. KU defeated UT 92-85 last season on Jan. 3, 2009, in Allen Fieldhouse. Jayhawks Sherron Collins (26 points, nine assists) and Cole Aldrich (22 points, 10 rebounds) led the way. Tyler Smith led the Vols with 21 points and nine rebounds, while Wayne Chism had 17 points, eight rebounds and tied a school record with six blocked shots. KU has faced 10 of the 12 SEC teams and has a 29-29 record against the conference. KU is 1-0 vs. Tennessee, 3-0 vs. Georgia, 2-0 vs. South Carolina, 1-0 vs. Mississippi, 3-1 vs. Florida, 3-1 vs. LSU, 8-5 vs. Arkansas, 2-2 vs. Vanderbilt, 0-1 vs. Auburn and 6-19 vs. Kentucky. The Jayhawks have yet to play Alabama and Mississippi State. Under Bill Self, KU is 5-1 against the SEC.
–At 14-0, Kansas remains one of four undefeated teams in NCAA Division I (Jan. 7). Others include Kentucky (15-0), Purdue (14-0) and Texas (14-0).
–KU leads the Big 12 in scoring margin (+27.6), field goal percentage (.513), three-point field goal percentage (.431), field goal percentage defense (.338), assists (19.2) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.6). The Jayhawks rank in the top three in all but three Big 12 statistical categories.
–Through 14 games, Bill Self has used at least nine players in the first half of every game. He used a season-high 11 players in the first half against Central Arkansas (Nov. 19).
–Nine of Kansas’ 14 victories this season have been by 25 or more points with eight of those by 30 points or more.
–KU averages 6.9 blocked shots per game to its opponents’ 2.8.
–Kansas has shot 50 percent or better in 10 of 14 games this season, including six of its last seven contests.
–Kansas has also held 12 of 14 opponents this season to under 40 percent. Only Radford (.423) and Cornell (.436) have shot higher than 40 percent against the Jayhawks.
–KU’s bench has outscored its opponents’ bench in 11 of 14 games this season. KU’s bench averages 29.6 points per game compared to 13.6 by its opponents.
–Through 14 games, nine different Jayhawks, including ties, have led the team in steals, seven in points and six in assists.
–Kansas forces 15.9 turnovers per game and averages 19.4 points off turnovers per game.
–Senior Sherron Collins scored a career-high 33 points in the come-from-behind win against Cornell. Collins had 19 points in the second half and 15 in the final nine minutes. His season scoring average went from 13.8 to 15.1 ppg. Collins has shot 50 percent or better in three-straight games and four of his last five outings. He has seven assists and one turnover in his last two games and seven steals in his last three contests. Collins is second on the team in scoring and his 15.1 ppg ranks 13th in the Big 12. Collins also ranks among the league leaders in assists (seventh at 4.1), three-point field goal percentage (ninth at 41.8), three-point field goals made (eighth at 2.0), steals (tied for 13th at 1.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (eighth at 2.2).
–Junior Cole Aldrich, an Academic All-America candidate, was named Big 12 co-Player of the Week (Jan. 4) after posting two straight double-doubles in wins against Belmont and at Temple. He nearly had his fourth-straight double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds against Cornell. Aldrich has 25 blocked shots in his last six games. He is second in the Big 12 and ranks in the top 10 nationally with 3.7 blocked shots per game and has had at least three blocks in all but one game this season. Aldrich is fourth in the Big 12 in rebounding at 10.0 rpg. He has 28 career double-doubles, including six this season.
–Freshman Xavier Henry has been named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week twice this season and he leads the conference freshmen class in scoring with 16.1 ppg. He tied his season high with four steals against Cornell (Jan. 6) to go along with 14 points. He has led KU in scoring in six games this season, including 15 at Temple (Jan. 2) and 31 points against La Salle (Dec. 12). He has scored in double figures in all but one game. Xavier has shot 50 percent or better from the floor in all but four games this season and is making 49.4 from the floor and 47.1 percent from three-point range. The last KU freshman to lead the team in scoring was Brandon Rush in 2005-06 at 13.5 ppg. Henry is second in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 47.1 percent. He also ranks 10th in the Big 12 in scoring at 16.1 ppg, sixth in field goal percentage at 49.4, tied for 13th in free throw percentage at 75.0, tied for fifth in steals at 1.8 and fifth in three-pointers made at 2.3.
–Sophomore Marcus Morris has averaged 13 points in his last five games, including a career-high 23 points against Michigan (Dec. 19). He has two double-doubles on the season – vs. Michigan and vs. Oakland (Nov. 25). He has started the last 12 games and is third on the team with a 5.1 rebound average. Marcus is shooting 56.3 percent from the field and has pulled down six or more boards six times.
–Sophomore Markieff Morris had six rebounds against Cornell (Jan. 6) to mark the eighth time this season he has pulled down six or more boards. Markieff had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds against La Salle (Dec. 12). He is second on the team with 12 blocked shots. He is shooting 59.0 percent from the field on the season and had made 15 consecutive shots at one point. Markieff is second on the team with 5.5 rebounds per game, which ranks 19th in the Big 12.
–Sophomore Tyshawn Taylor has 34 assists and six turnovers over his last seven games. In the win against California (Dec. 22), Taylor had 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting with seven assists, one turnover and two steals. He has five or more assists in five of his last seven games. Taylor ranks eighth in the Big 12 in assists at 4.1 and fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.4.
–Junior Brady Morningstar has 18 assists and three turnovers in his five games played this season. He has made one three pointer in four of those five games. Morningstar dished out a career-high seven assists against California (Dec. 22). In five games, Morningstar is 7-for-13 (53.8) from the field, including 4-for-8 (50.0) from three-point range. A defensive stopper who started all but one game last season, Morningstar missed the first nine games of the season due to breaking team rules. Morningstar is a redshirt junior who is the oldest player in the Big 12 at 23.
–Junior Tyrel Reed, an Academic All-America candidate, has made 16 three-pointers and 22 field goals on the season. His lone field goal against Cornell gave Kansas its first lead of the game at 61-60. Reed has made at least one three in 11 games this season and multiple threes in three contests. Reed is averaging 4.5 points per game.
–Freshman Thomas Robinson averages 10.5 minutes per game with 4.3 ppg and 4.1 rpg. He is tied for second on the team with 12 blocked shots with Markieff Morris. Robinson has had two games of double-figure scoring and had his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds against Alcorn State (Dec. 2). He has pulled down four or more rebounds in seven games.
–Freshman Elijah Johnson averages 10.4 minutes per game with a 4.2 scoring average and 2.3 assist average. He has scored seven or more points in five games. Johnson, who has two starts this season, had a career-high 11 points in his starting debut against Radford (Dec. 9). He is third on the team with 28 assists.
–Freshman C.J. Henry is 5-for-6 (83.3 percent) from the field in his last three games. He was 3-for-4 against Belmont (Dec. 29) and 2-for-2, both three point attempts, at Temple (Jan. 2). C.J averages 5.0 points in only 7.8 minutes of action. He is 14-of-21 (66.7 percent) from the field, including 11-for-18 (61.1) from three-point range for the season.
Kansas, the five-time defending Big 12 regular-season champion, opens conference play at Nebraska on Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 8 p.m. on ESPN2. Kansas returns home to host Texas Tech on Saturday, Jan. 16, at 12:45 p.m. That game will be televised on the Big 12 Network.