Kansas Men's Hoops to Open Big 12 Play at Colorado Wednesday
Jan. 10, 2006
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Kansas embarks on the 2006 Big 12 season by playing three games in six days, including two road contests. For Kansas (9-4, 0-0), it all starts at Colorado (10-2, 0-1) tonight. The Jayhawks have won six straight games and are coming off a 73-46 win against No. 19 Kentucky Saturday. Colorado had a nine-game winning streak snapped with an 89-64 loss at No. 15 Texas to open conference play Saturday. Kansas tied Oklahoma for the 2005 Big 12 regular-season championship last season. The title was the fifth Big 12 and 48th regular-season championship for KU. The Jayhawks have won 14 straight conference-openers. KU’s last loss in a league-opener was to Oklahoma on Jan. 8, 1991.
Tonight’s game marks the first true road game for Kansas (9-4, 0-0). The Jayhawks bring a six-game winning streak to Boulder, Colo., in which they have won by an average of 23.5 points since Dec. 10. KU leads the nation in field goal percentage defense at 34.6 and the Big 12 in blocked shots at 6.77 per game. Kansas is outscoring 17.2 points per game on the season and is a plus-6.5 in rebound margin. Freshman guard Brandon Rush leads KU and the Big 12 freshmen scorers with a 12.8 scoring average. Rush also leads the team in three-point field goals made with 19 and was named Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week Jan. 9 after his 24-point, 12-rebound effort against Kentucky. Sophomore center Sasha Kaun is next in scoring at 10.7 points per game. He and sophomore center C.J. Giles – averaging 8.5 ppg – are tied for the team high in rebounds at 6.5 per outing – which are tied for 10th in the Big 12 statistics. Freshman guard Mario Chalmers leads KU in assists with 3.1 per game and steals at 2.2.
Colorado (10-2, 0-1) is a senior-laden team consisting of 10 seniors and five returning starters from last season’s team. The 10-1 start matched the 1978-79 (26 years ago) and the 1968-69 seasons (37 years ago) when the Buffaloes began 10-1. Colorado opened Big 12 play Saturday with an 89-64 loss at No. 15 Texas, the league’s preseason favorite. Colorado has held seven opponents to under 70 points this season. The Buffs are led by sophomore guard Richard Roby who leads the team in points (15.8 ppg), rebounds (5.2 rpg) and steals (2.3 spg). Colorado is averaging 85.7 points per game and giving up 66.4.
This series dates back to 1931 and Kansas leads, 109-39, including a 34-26 record in Boulder and 19-7 mark in the Coors Events Conference Center. Kansas has won five straight and 32 of the last 33 meetings with CU dating back to 1991. The last Colorado win in the series was 60-59 on Jan. 22, 2003 in Boulder. The previous before that was 79-71 on Feb. 20, 1991, also in Boulder. The first two games of the series — Jan. 2 and Jan. 3, 1931 — were played in Denver, Colo.
Kansas returns home to play Kansas State Saturday at 12:45 p.m. The Jayhawks defeated the Wildcats three times last season and have won 31-straight in the series. KU concludes its three-game, six-day swing at Missouri Jan. 16 on ESPN’s Big Monday at 8 p.m. (Central).