No. 3 Kansas to Host Oklahoma on ESPN's Big Monday

Jan. 13, 2008

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Kansas vs. Oklahoma

Two more undefeated teams fell over the weekend, leaving Kansas, North Carolina and Memphis as the lone undefeated squads heading into the week. Kansas is 16-0 on the season after its 79-58 win at Nebraska Saturday. The win marked its 17th consecutive league opening victory. Kansas is looking to improve on its 25-3 home record for ESPN Big Monday contests. Oklahoma lost a nail biter to Kansas State Saturday, 84-82, and is 12-4, 0-1 in Big 12 play.

About Kansas

No. 3 Kansas’ 16-0 record marked the fifth best start in school history and the best since the 1996-97 team opened the year with a school-best 22-0 record. KU averages 83.7 points per game and is giving up 58.6 for a Big 12-leading +25.1 scoring margin. The Jayhawks have shot 50 percent or better in seven of their last eight games and in 13 of 16 games this season. KU holds a +6.4 rebound margin on opponents and forces 19.6 turnovers per game. Sophomore forward Darrell Arthur leads the team with a 13.4 scoring average. He also paces KU with 29 blocked shots and is second on the team with a 5.7 rebound average. Junior guard Mario Chalmers is next in scoring at 12.1 points per game and he leads the team with 29 three pointers made and 44 steals. His 2.93 steals per game lead the Big 12. He is also one assist behind senior guard Russell Robinson’s team-high 74. Robinson is scoring 7.1 points per game and is behind Chalmers with 40 steals. Senior forward Darnell Jackson leads KU with 6.9 rebounds per game and has pulled down eight or more boards in each of his last three games and nine times this season. He is scoring 12 points per outing. Junior guard Brandon Rush is coming off a season-high 19-point effort at Nebraska and is scoring 10.8 points per game, while sophomore guard Sherron Collins is at 10.1 following his team-high 18-point performance against Loyola (Jan. 8). A duo of seniors round out the KU regulars with center Sasha Kaun (8.1 ppg, team-best 72.9 field goal percentage) and guard Rodrick Stewart (5.0 ppg). Freshmen center Cole Aldrich (3.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg) and guard Tyrel Reed (3.5 ppg) are seeing playing time as well.

About Oklahoma

Oklahoma comes to Allen Fieldhouse with a 12-4 (0-1 Big 12) record. Last week, the Sooners were receiving votes in both national polls. OU dropped a close contest to Kansas State, 84-82, in Norman Saturday. OU has won five of its last six games and averages 75.1 points per game. OU is 4-2 in games played away from the Lloyd Noble Center, including a 2-1 record in true road contests. Freshman Blake Griffin leads OU in scoring (15.4 ppg), rebounding (9.1 rpg) and steals (22). He has scored 53 points and pulled down 21 rebounds in his last two games, including 27 points and 14 boards against Kansas State. Senior center Longar Longar is next in scoring at 13.1 points per game and in rebounding with a 6.1 average. He has a team-high 17 blocked shots. Sophomore guard Tony Crocker has a team-high 49 assists on the season and he also leads the Sooners with 31 three-point field goals. He is scoring 11.5 points per contest. Junior guard Austin Johnson is a starter who is scoring 8.9 points per contest. He is second on the team with 44 assists. Senior guard David Godbold (7.0 ppg), junior guard Omar Leary (5.9 ppg), and junior forward Taylor Griffin (5.4 ppg, 13 blocked shots) round out the OU regulars.

The Series

Kansas leads the overall series with Oklahoma, 132-64. KU has won the last three meetings and four of the last five matchups with OU, including two meetings last season. The Jayhawks won at Oklahoma 67-65 and in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championship, 64-47, in Oklahoma City. In Lawrence, KU holds a 67-16 series advantage and the Jayhawks have defeated the Sooners in eight straight contests in Allen Fieldhouse dating back to the 1994 season. Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas is 11-4 against Oklahoma – 9-2 in regular-season meetings and 2-2 in the Big 12 Championship. Expect a close contest as 10 of the last 12 meetings have been decided by 10 points or less. This series dates back to 1920.

Team Notables

–Kansas is 64-7 (90.1 percent) in its last 71 games. The Jayhawks are 16-0 on the season and have won 30 of their last 31 and 33 of their last 35 contests.

–Kansas’ bigs score 44 percent of KU’s points, while its guards score 56 percent. KU’s scoring list goes – big, guard, big, guard, guard, big, guard.

–KU has shot better than 50 percent in 13 of 16 games this season, including seven of its last eight contests. Last year, KU shot better than 50 percent in 18 of 38 contests.

–KU has outshot 15 of 16 opponents this season.

–Kansas leads the Big 12 in scoring offense (83.7), scoring margin (+25.1), field goal percentage (52.2), blocked shots (6.63), assists (19.94), steals (11.13), turnover margin (+6.38) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.51).

–The Jayhawks have held 15 of 16 opponents to under 50 percent shooting and 87 of its last 90 opponents. Ohio’s 28.3 field goal percentage on Dec. 15 was a season low for KU foes.

–Through 16 games, Kansas has had seven different leading scorers, six different players lead the team in rebounding and eight different in steals (these includes ties). KU has had seven different leading scorers in the last eight games.

–Four Jayhawks have scored 20-plus this season – Sherron Collins (22 vs. ULM), Darnell Jackson (21 vs. ULM, 20 vs. Yale, 25 at Boston College), Mario Chalmers (23 vs. UMKC, 20 at USC) and Darrell Arthur (20 vs. Arizona, 21 at Boston College).

–On the season, the Jayhawk bench has outscored its opponents 469-296 for a 29.3 to 18.5 (+10.8) advantage per game.

–Kansas is a combined 39-5 (88.6 percent) in football (12-1), men’s basketball (16-0) and women’s basketball (11-4).

Player Notables

–Senior Darnell Jackson (#32) has just missed double-doubles in each of his last three games with eight points and eight rebounds at Nebraska, nine points and nine rebounds against Loyola and 25 points and nine boards at Boston College. For his efforts at BC, he was named the co-Big 12 Player of the Week (Jan. 7). Jackson has pulled down eight or more boards in each of his last three games and four of his last five. He is 47-for-66 (71.2 percent) from the field in his last nine games. Jackson is seventh in rebounds at 6.9 rpg.

–Junior Mario Chalmers (#15) has made multiple three-pointers in each of his last four games and nine times this season. He missed the Loyola game due to injury and responded with 14 points and six assists at Nebraska. He has recorded 31 steals (3.4 average) in the last eight games and has led KU in steals eight times this season. Chalmers leads the Big 12 in steals with 2.93 per game. He is third in assists at 4.87, second in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.70 and tied for 10th in three-point field goals made at 1.93.

–Sophomore Darrell Arthur (#00) had eight points at Nebraska to mark only the second time this season he did not score in double figures. He has pulled down six or more rebounds in 10 games and has shot 50 percent or better in 11 of his last 14 outings, including a 4-for-6 effort at Nebraska. He has eight games with multi-blocks this season, including three swats in each of his last two games. Arthur is 15th in the Big 12 in scoring with 13.4 points per game, tied for 13th in rebounding at 5.7, fourth in blocked shots at 1.75 and sixth in field goal percentage at 54.2 percent.

–Senior Russell Robinson’s (#3) 10 points at Nebraska marked his fourth double-digit scoring game of the season and the most since he had 17 points at Georgia Tech (Dec. 18). He has had a steal in all but one game this season and multiple steals in 13 contests. Robinson’s five rebounds at Nebraska tied his season high (vs. Florida Atlantic). His 208 career steals moved him passed Kirk Hinrich for fifth most at KU. Robinson is fourth in the Big 12 in assists at 4.63, second in steals at 2.50 and seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.11

–Junior Brandon Rush (#25) had a season-high 19 points, including 5-for-7 from three-point range, at Nebraska. His six boards at NU marked the fourth time this season he has pulled down at least six boards and his four assists and three steals were season highs. He has scored in double digits in seven of his last eight games and nine contests this season. He has made at least one three pointer in 11 games. Rush is ninth on the career KU three-point field goals made list with 148. He played a season-high 36 minutes against Arizona (Nov. 25) and responded with 17 points and eight rebounds. Due to come back Dec. 1 from ACL surgery in June, Rush made his season debut Nov. 15 against Washburn.

–Senior Sasha Kaun (#24) has scored in double figures in each of his last two games and five times this season. He had 10 points at Nebraska on 4-of-6 shooting. He leads KU in field goal percentage at 72.3 percent and has shot 66.7 percent or better in 13 of 16 games this year. After starting the year 10-for-26 (38.5 percent) from the free throw line, Kaun is 27-for-39 (69.2 percent) in his last 10 games, including 2-for-2 at Nebraska. Kaun is tied for sixth in the Big 12 in blocked shots with 1.44 per game.

–Sophomore SHERRON COLLINS’ (#4) 18 points against Loyola (Jan. 8) were the most points since he scored 22 in the season opener against Louisiana-Monroe. He had eight points at Nebraska with two assists and one steal. The Loyola game was his third start of the season for Collins. He has made at least one three-pointer in seven of 10 games played and has multiple treys in five games, including three against Loyola. Collins missed six games (games 3-8) due to injury.

–Freshman Cole Aldrich (#45) pulled down three rebounds and had one blocked shot in four minutes at Nebraska. He has pulled down five or more rebounds in five games this season, including six against Loyola (Jan. 8). He has 18 rebounds in his last four games and averages 3.4 boards on the season. Aldrich has five games with multiple blocked shots. He is tied for 14th in the Big 12 in blocked shots with a 1.0 average.

Up Next

Kansas travels to Border Showdown rival Missouri on Saturday, Jan. 19. That game will tip at 7 p.m. (Central) from Columbia, Mo., and air on ESPNU. KU will then return home to face Iowa State on Wednesday, Jan. 23. Tip from Allen Fieldhouse is set for 6 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN.