No. 6 Kansas Heads to Colorado for Last Time in League Competition

Jan. 24, 2011

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Final Conference Trip to Boulder

No. 6 Kansas (18-1, 3-1) will make its final conference trip to Boulder, Colo., when it takes on Colorado, Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m. (Central) on the Big 12 Network and ESPN Full Court. Colorado will join the Pac-10 Conference starting in 2011-12. Kansas lost its first game of the season when No. 10/11 Texas ended the nation’s longest active home court winning streak (69 games) with a 74-63 win at Allen Fieldhouse Jan. 22. Colorado (14-6, 3-2) is looking to end a two-game losing streak after its 67-60 loss at Oklahoma Saturday.

About Kansas

Kansas is looking to bounce back from its first loss of the season. The Jayhawks average 82.1 points and give up 61.7 for a +20.4 scoring margin. KU also leads the battle of the boards with a +7.0 rebound margin. Kansas leads the Big 12 in four different statistical categories: scoring margin (+20.4), field goal percentage (51.4), three-point field goal percentage defense (26.2) and assists (18.2). Junior forward Marcus Morris has averaged 22.4 points in his last five games. Marcus averages 17.1 points for the season and leads the Big 12 with his 59.0 percent field goal percentage. A two-time Big 12 Player of the Week this season and a Wooden Award Mid-Season candidate, Marcus’ 6.9 rebounds per game are second best on KU’s team. Marcus’ twin, Markieff, a junior forward, leads the Big 12 in rebounding with 8.5 boards per game and in double-doubles with seven. Markieff is averaging 13.0 points per game. Freshman guard Josh Selby is scoring 11.3 points per game. He averages 1.9 three-pointers, 2.8 assists and 2.7 rebounds per contest this season. Senior guard Tyrel Reed is averaging 14.7 points in his last three games and 9.8 ppg for the season. He leads KU with 39 three-point field goals made this season. He is 31-for-35 (88.6 percent) from the free throw line. Junior Tyshawn Taylor averages 8.7 points per game and ranks third in the Big 12 with 5.1 assists per contest. Sophomore forward Thomas Robinson is third on the team with a 6.1 rebound average to complement his 8.0 scoring average. He has 17 blocked shots, which are two behind Markieff’s team-best 19. Senior forward Mario Little is a top reserve who averages 6.0 points and 3.2 rebounds per outing. Senior guard Brady Morningstar leads Kansas with 29 steals, one ahead of Reed and three ahead of Taylor. Morningstar is second on the team with 47 assists and is scoring 4.5 points per game. Other KU contributors include sophomore guard Travis Releford (5.7 ppg with four starts) and sophomore guard Elijah Johnson (4.1 ppg).

About Colorado

Located in Boulder, Colo., with an enrollment of 30,128, Colorado is 14-6 overall and 3-2 in its final season as a member of the Big 12 Conference. The Buffaloes are 11-0 at home at the Coors Events Conference Center this season. CU averages 81.8 points and has a +10.9 scoring margin. Colorado has a +4.9 rebound margin and averages 19.1 free throws made per contest. The Buffs lead the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 77.9 percent and are second, behind Kansas, in field goal percentage at 48.6 percent. Sophomore guard Alec Burks leads Colorado in scoring with a 19.6 scoring average, which is second in the Big 12. Burks is second on the team with 5.7 rebounds per game and is making 82.9 percent of his free throws. Senior guard Cory Higgins is second in the conference in free throw percentage at 89.1 percent and scores 16.1 points per game, which is eighth in the league. Higgins leads the team with 54 assists. Senior guard Levi Knutson is a non-starter who leads the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 49.4 percent and has made a team-high 40 threes this season. He is scoring 11.7 points per game, just ahead of senior forward Marcus Relphorde’s 11.6 ppg. Relphorde averages 4.7 rebounds per game. Junior forward Austin Dufault (8.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg) and junior guard Nate Tomlinson (2.7 ppg) join Burks, Higgins and Relphorde in the starting lineup. Freshman guard Andre Roberson comes off the bench and leads Colorado in rebounding at 7.3 rpg and blocked shots with 23. Roberson scores 6.7 points per game. Freshman guard Shannon Sharpe (2.2 ppg) averages 15.9 minutes per game for CU. The KU-CU game has been announced as a sellout and is the first time in Coors Events Conference Center history the Buffs have had back-to-back home sellouts, as the Oklahoma State contest (Jan. 15) was also a sellout.

The Kansas-Colorado Series

This series dates back to 1931 and Kansas leads 119-39, including a 39-36 record in Boulder (24-7 in the Coors Events Conference Center). Kansas has won 15 straight and 42 of the last 43 meetings with CU dating back to 1991. The last Colorado win in the series was a 60-59 thriller on Jan. 22, 2003, in Boulder. The previous CU win was a 79-71 victory on Feb. 20, 1991, also in Boulder. As conference members – Big Seven, Big Eight and Big 12 – Kansas is 113-35 against Colorado, which includes 21 meetings in the Big 7/8 Holiday Tournament and postseason conference play. Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas is 28-1 against Colorado – 27-1 in regular-season play and 1-0 in the league championship.

Team Notables

–Under Bill Self, Kansas is 37-6 following a loss. The Jayhawks have won 19-straight games following a loss.

–Kansas leads the Big 12 in scoring margin (+20.4), field goal percentage (51.4), three-point field goal percentage defense (26.2) and assists (18.2).

–Kansas has held 10 opponents to 60 or less points this season.

–Kansas has outrebounded 15 of 19 opponents this season, including nine of its last 11.

–KU has outshot all but two teams this season (USC on Dec. 18 and Texas on Jan. 22).

–Kansas’ bench averages 28.7 points compared to its opponents’ 17.2 ppg. KU’s bench has outscored its opponents’ bench in 15 of 19 games this season.

–Under Bill Self, Kansas has nine streaks of 10 or more victories, including the 18-0 start of 2010-11.

–KU is 1-1 against ranked foes this season with its win against No. 13/14 Memphis (Dec. 7) in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden and a loss against No. 10/11 Texas (Jan. 22).

–Kansas’ 57-point win against Ohio (98-41) in the Las Vegas Invitational was the third-largest margin of victory in the Bill Self era and the largest in a game away from Allen Fieldhouse under Self.

–Kansas’ men’s basketball (18-1) and women’s basketball (14-5) are a combined 32-6 (84.2 percent) in 2010-11.

Individual Notables

–Junior Marcus Morris has averaged 22.4 points and 9.2 rebounds in his last five games and has scored 22-plus in three of those contests. He has three double-doubles in his last five games. He has six 20-point or more scoring games this season, including 25 at Baylor (Jan. 17). Marcus leads the Big 12 in shooting percentage at 59.0 percent. He has shot 70 percent or better in six games. Marcus has led Kansas in scoring nine times this season. His 17.1 scoring average is seventh in the conference, while his 6.9 rebounds per game are 13th in the Big 12. He has led KU in every stat at least once this season. Marcus has been named Big 12 Player of the Week twice (Nov. 29 and Jan. 17) and was named a Wooden Award Mid-Season candidate Jan. 6.

–Junior Markieff Morris, twin of Marcus, has scored in double figures in four of his last five games. He had 19 points on 9-of-10 shooting at Baylor (Jan. 17) and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. Markieff has a Big 12-high seven double-doubles this season with three of those in his last seven games and five in his last 11 contests. Markieff leads the Big 12 in rebounding at 8.5 rpg. Named Big 12 Player of the Week on Dec. 27, Markieff is tied for 18th in the Big 12 in scoring at 13.0 ppg. Markieff has pulled down eight-plus boards in 12 games this season and has been the leading rebounder for KU in 10 of 18 games.

–Senior Tyrel Reed is averaging 14.7 points in his last three games after leading Kansas with 17 points against No. 10/11 Texas (Jan. 22). In his last three games, Reed is 13-for-26 (50 percent) from the field, including 12-for-21 (57.1 percent) from three-point range. He is averaging 9.8 ppg during 2010-11. The guard is the only Jayhawk to have started every game this season. Reed leads Kansas with 39 three-pointers and has an 88.6 percentage from the free throw line (31-of-35). Reed had career-highs in points with 18 and rebounds with seven at California (Dec. 22). Ranked 10th in the Big 12 in three-point percentage (39.0) and three-pointers made per game (1.9), Reed is one of 30 nominees for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award who graduated from KU in December and has been accepted into KU Medicine’s physical therapy school. He is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection and has been nominated for Academic All-America for the third-straight year in 2010-11.

–Freshman Josh Selby scored 12 points at Baylor (Jan. 17) to mark the sixth time in 10 games he has reached double figures. He has multiple three-pointers in six games and steals in eight of his 10 contests played in 2010-11. Selby averages 11.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.4 steals per contest. He has scored 16 or more points in four games and is 20-for-24 (83.3 percent) from the free throw line. Selby’s career debut saw the guard score a team-high 21 points on 5-of-11 shooting, including 5-of-8 from three-point range against USC (Dec. 18). His final three-pointer against USC came with 26 seconds remaining to give KU a 69-68 lead in the 70-68 win. For his efforts against USC, Selby was named the Big 12 Rookie of the Week (Dec. 20).

–Sophomore Thomas Robinson had nine points on 4-of-6 shooting and five rebounds against Nebraska Jan. 15. It was his best outing since his first season start against UT Arlington (Dec. 29) where he had 20 points and 10 rebounds. Robinson has two double-doubles in 2010-11. In his last 10 games, Robinson is 29-for-45 (64.4 percent) from the field. Robinson has pulled down 10 rebounds in five games this season. He averages 8.0 points per game in 2010-11, while his 6.1 rebounds are 16th in the Big 12.

–Junior Tyshawn Taylor is averaging 8.7 points per game this season and has scored in double figures seven times. Named a Bob Cousy Award finalist (one of 20) on Jan. 12, Taylor is third in the Big 12 in assists per game at 5.1. He has led KU in assists in 14 of 19 games this season, including seven of the last nine contests. Taylor is eighth in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.7.

–Senior Brady Morningstar tied his season high with eight points against No. 10/11 Texas (Jan. 22). He has scored eight points in four games this season. Against UT, Morningstar was 4-of-5 from the field with three assists and one steal. He pulled down a season-high five rebounds to go along with five points at Iowa State (Jan. 12). He is scoring 4.5 points per game and leads KU with 29 steals. Morningstar, who graduated May 2010, has recorded a steal in 13 of 19 games played this season. He is 11th in the Big 12 in steals per game at 1.5.

–Senior Mario Little scored in double figures for the second time this season with 10 points at Baylor (Jan. 15). He was 4-for-6 (66.7 percent) from the field in Waco. Little averages 15.7 minutes, 6.0 points and 3.2 rebounds per game and is shooting 50 percent from the field on the season.

–Sophomore Travis Releford did not play against Texas and missed the previous three games due to an ankle sprain on his right foot suffered at Michigan (Jan. 9). He matched his career high with 13 points against UMKC (Jan. 5). Releford is shooting 56.1 percent from the field. He is averaging 5.7 points this season and has scored in double figures four times. A Las Vegas Invitational all-tournament selection, Releford’s windmill dunk against UMKC (Jan. 5) was No. 1 on ESPN’s Top 10 List on Jan. 6.

–Sophomore Elijah Johnson has appeared in 17 games this season with one start. He scored a career-high 13 points against UMKC (Jan. 5). Johnson had his first start of the season against UT Arlington (Dec. 29) and scored 11 points. He has a 2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio for the season. Johnson averages 4.1 points and 1.9 assists in 2010-11.

In the Polls

Kansas dropped to No. 6 in both the Associated Press (AP) and the ESPN/USA Today coaches polls released Jan. 24. This marked the 31st-straight week Kansas has been ranked No. 7 or higher in both polls. In that span, KU has been ranked in the top five 27 times. In the Bill Self era, Kansas has been ranked in the top 10 in 92 AP polls and 95 ESPN/USA Today polls.

Jayhawk Nation Mourns for Thomas Robinson

On Jan. 22, No. 2 Kansas fell to No. 10/11 Texas, 74-63, ending its school-record home winning streak at 69 games. However, that loss paled in comparison to the loss that sophomore forward Thomas Robinson, and as a result the entire Jayhawk family, suffered the previous night. Around 11 p.m. on Jan. 21, Robinson received a call from his nine-year-old sister, Jayla Paris, who had some tragic news. Their mother, Lisa, had just died of a heart attack at the age of 37. The unexpected loss came at a time when Robinson was already grieving the passing of his grandmother three weeks prior and his grandfather just the Sunday before. Robinson will not be making the trip to Colorado and services for his mother are still pending.

Simien to Have Jersey Retired Saturday

Former KU basketball All-American Wayne Simien will have his jersey retired at halftime of the Kansas State at Kansas men’s basketball game Saturday, Jan. 29. That day, ESPN Gameday will originate from Allen Fieldhouse for the fourth time in the seven-year history of the show. Coincidentally, the date marks Kansas Day – the 150th anniversary of Kansas becoming the 34th State in the Union. A native of nearby Leavenworth, Kan., Simien, who wore jersey No. 23 at KU from 2002-05, started attending Kansas basketball camps when he was in the seventh grade, and said coming to Kansas was a “life-long dream.” As a forward, Simien ended his career at Kansas as No. 12 in scoring (1,593 points), No. 7 in rebounds (884), No. 4 in double-doubles (38) and tied for fourth in games with double-figure rebounds (39). Simien helped lead Kansas to a 110-28 record during his career, along with three Big 12 Championships, four NCAA Tournament appearances, two Final Fours and an Elite Eight. A Consensus First-Team All-American his senior year (2005), Simien was also a two-time All-Big 12 First Team selection (2004 and 2005). He was the 2005 Big 12 Player of the Year, as well as an all-tournament team selection at the 2005 Big 12 Championship. Also in 2005, Simien was recipient of the Lowes’ Senior CLASS Award, which recognizes the outstanding senior NCAA Division I Student-Athlete of the Year across nine different sports. Simien was a finalist for both the John R. Wooden and Naismith Player-of-the-Year Awards during his junior and senior seasons. In his sophomore year Simien was a member of the Preseason NIT all-tournament team and was named to the 2002 Big 12 All-Reserve team. Simien was selected 29th in the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft by the Miami Heat, with whom he won an NBA Championship in 2006. Simien retired from professional basketball in May 2009 to pursue work in Christian ministry. Simien joins former teammates Nick Collison, Drew Gooden and Kirk Hinrich, all of whom have had their KU jerseys retired.

Up Next

ESPN College GameDay will come to Lawrence when Kansas hosts Kansas State on Saturday, Jan. 29, which is also the 150th celebration of Kansas Day. Tip is set for 6 p.m. (Central). KU will then travel to Texas Tech on Tuesday, Feb. 1, at 8 p.m. on ESPNU.

ESPN College GameDay Heading to Allen Fieldhouse

ESPN’s College GameDay Driven by State Farm® will be televised live Saturday morning, January 29th from Allen Fieldhouse. The history venue is hosting the event for the fourth time since 2005.

Through a State Farm initiative, fans will have an opportunity to raise money for KU’s Student Union Activities’ organization Hawk Zone during the morning telecast (9 a.m. CT on ESPNU continuing on ESPN at 10 a.m.). For every person who attends the morning show on Saturday, State Farm, which is sponsoring GameDay for the fifth consecutive year, will donate $1 to Hawk Zone, with a potential contribution of more than $16,000. This student organization helps increase student involvement in campus athletics.

Hosting the morning telecast will be the College GameDay crew of Rece Davis, Jay Bilas, Hubert Davis and Digger Phelps, who will preview the Kansas-Kansas State matchup and detail the day’s other college basketball action.

Gates open at Allen Fieldhouse at 7 a.m. The morning show is free to the public and tickets are not required. In addition to the two hours in the monring, there will also be a show from 5-6 p.m. from the Allen Fieldhouse floor.

One lucky morning audience member will get the opportunity to attempt a half-court shot. If the shot is made, State Farm will give the person $18,000 and if he or she missed the shot, he or she will get $1,000!