No. 3 Jayhawks to Face Border Showdown Foe Missouri in Men's Hoops Saturday
Jan. 17, 2008
No. 3 Kansas hits the road for the Border Showdown at Missouri Saturday at 7 p.m. on ESPNU. At 17-0 (2-0 in Big 12 play), the Jayhawks are one of three undefeated teams in NCAA Division I along with North Carolina (18-0) and Memphis (16-0). KU is coming off an 85-55 win against Oklahoma on ESPN’s Big Monday. Kansas is looking to win its 26th straight regular-season game and ninth straight regular-season contest on the road. Missouri is currently 11-6 on the season and 1-1 in league play after its 72-67 loss at Iowa State Wednesday.
Kansas’ 17-0 record is 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 leads the nation in scoring margin at +25.4 scoring 83.8 points per game to its opponents’ 58.4. The Jayhawks have shot 50 percent or better in eight of their last nine games and in 14 of 17 games this season. KU holds a +6.5 rebound margin on opponents and forces 19.1 turnovers per game. Sophomore forward Darrell Arthur leads the team with a 13.4 scoring average. He also paces KU with 30 blocked shots and is second on the team with a 5.8 rebound average. Senior forward Darnell Jackson leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 66.9 percent and KU in rebounds with seven per game to complement his 12.3 scoring average. Junior guard Mario Chalmers leads the Big 12 in steals with 2.93 per game and he scoring 12.2 points per outing. Chalmers has made a team-high 30 three pointers and his 78 assists are one behind team leader Russell Robinson’s 79. Robinson is second on the team with 42 steals and he is scoring 6.9 points per outing. Junior guard Brandon Rush is averaging 17.5 points in two Big 12 games and is scoring 11.7 points per game, while sophomore guard Sherron Collins is at 9.5 ppg. A duo of seniors round out the KU regulars with center Sasha Kaun (7.9 ppg, team-best 70 field goal percentage) and guard Rodrick Stewart (4.5 ppg). Freshmen center Cole Aldrich (3.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 19 blocked shots) and guard Tyrel Reed (3.0 ppg) are seeing playing time as well.
Missouri is 10-0 at home this season after its 97-64 win against then-No. 12 Texas in its Big 12 opener last Saturday. The Tigers are 11-6 overall and 1-1 in Big 12 play after their 72-67 loss at Iowa State Wednesday. Missouri is just behind Kansas in the Big 12 lead in turnover margin at +5.47, KU is at +6.24. The Tigers average 7.5 three-point field goals per game and lead the league in three-point field goal percentage defense holding their opponents to make just 25.6 percent from beyond the arc. MU is balanced as five players average 9.8 points or better and no Tiger averages more than 28 minutes per contest. Junior forward DeMarre Carroll leads the team in scoring at 14.9 points per game and rebounding with a 7.2 average. Senior guard Stefhon Hannah leads the team with 92 assists and 33 steals to complement his 14.1 points per game. Junior forward Leo Lyons has a team-high 15 blocked shots as he is scoring 11.6 points per contest and is pulling down 4.5 rebounds. Sophomore guard Keon Lawrence comes off the bench to score 9.9 points per contest, while junior guard Matt Lawrence (9.8 ppg, team-high 38 three-pointers) and senior guard Jason Horton (3.6 ppg, 51 assists) join Carroll, Hannah and Lyons in the starting lineup. Look for freshman guard J.T. Tiller (6.0 ppg), senior forward Marshall Brown (5.2 ppg) and senior Darryl Butterfield (4.6 ppg) to round out the MU regulars.
Kansas leads the all-time series with Missouri, 164-93. KU has won three straight, seven of the last nine and 12 of the past 15 match-ups with MU, yet the Tigers hold a 2-1 edge in games at Mizzou Arena. Last season’s KU sweep of MU was the fourth KU regular-season sweep of MU since 2000. Kansas is 62-52 against Missouri in games played in Columbia, Mo. Since the inception of the Big 12, KU holds a 17-8 series advantage – 15-7 in regular-season play and 2-1 in the conference championship. Saturday’s game will mark the 36th KU-MU game with one or both of the teams ranked. The Jayhawks lost the first-ever meeting with Missouri, 34-31, on March 11, 1907, in Lawrence.
Saturday marks the eighth and ninth Kansas-Missouri meetings of the 2007-08 academic year in the annual Border Showdown with the women’s basketball game in Lawrence and the men’s hoops contest in Columbia. The winner(s) of KU-MU head-to-head competition are awarded points. Currently, Missouri holds an advantage against Kansas, 8.0 to 4.5. Though the state rivalry dates back to the pre-Civil War era, the athletics rivalry started in 1891 with football and 1907 in men’s basketball. The Border Showdown trophy has been presented five times with MU winning three times – 2003, 2005 and 2007 – and KU twice in 2004 and 2006.
Kansas returns home to face Big 12 foes Iowa State and Nebraska. The KU-ISU game will be Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 6 p.m. (Central) on ESPN. The NU contest is slated for a 12:45 p.m. tip and will be televised on ESPN-Plus, which is part of the Big 12 television package.