No. 2 Kansas to Face No. 22 Kansas State in Men's Hoops Wednesday

Jan. 28, 2008

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Only two teams remain undefeated in Big 12 play and one will continue that trend Wednesday as No. 2 Kansas (20-0, 5-0) is at Kansas State (14-4, 4-0) on ESPN Plus at 7 p.m. (Central) from Bramlage Coliseum. Kansas has won 28 straight regular-season contests following its 84-49 win against Nebraska Saturday. KU is looking to win its 25th straight game in Manhattan, a string which started in 1984, before any current Jayhawk was born. Kansas State has won five straight games after its 82-57 win against Iowa State Saturday. The last time these two teams faced each other and both were ranked was March 8, 1958, when then-No. 10 Kansas defeated then-No. 1 Kansas State, 61-44, in Manhattan.

About Kansas

In Kansas’ first five Big 12 games, the Jayhawks have outscored league foes 81.4 to 58.2 for a +23.2 scoring margin, just under its overall season margin of +24.9. The Jayhawks are 34-1 in their last 35 games and have won 11 straight true road contests, including a 5-0 mark in 2007-08. Sophomore forward Darrell Arthur leads the team in scoring with 13.6 points per game and with 32 blocked shots. He is second on the team with 5.8 rebounds per contest. Senior Darnell Jackson is having a solid senior season as he leads the Big 12, and ranks in the top five nationally, in field goal percentage at 65.8 percent to complement his 12.8 points per game. He leads KU in rebounding with 7.4 boards per contest. Junior guard Brandon Rush has stepped up his game in Big 12 play with a team-best 15.2 scoring average in five league contests. He averages 12 points and 4.9 rebounds per game overall and leads the team with 35 three-pointers. Junior guard Mario Chalmers leads the Big 12 in steals at 2.68 per game and in assist-to-turnover ratio at 3.00. He is scoring 11.9 points per game and has a team-best 93 assists. Senior guard Russell Robinson (7.3 ppg) rounds out the starters. He is second on the team in assists with 91 and steals with 47. Senior center Sasha Kaun (7.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg) KU in field goal percentage at 65.9 percent. Also, off the bench, sophomore guard Sherron Collins scores nine points per game, while senior guard Rodrick Stewart (4.1 ppg) and freshman center Cole Aldrich (3.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg) round out the KU regulars.

About Kansas State

Like Kansas, Kansas State is one of the hottest teams in the country having won five straight and nine of its last 10 games. The Wildcats are 14-4 on the season and 4-0 in Big 12 play. K-State averages 80.6 points per game and is giving up 65.9 points. The Wildcats are outrebounding foes by 9.6 boards per game and their 43.5 rebounds per game lead the Big 12. A pair of KSU freshmen score more than half of the team’s points in Michael Beasley and Bill Walker. Beasley leads the Big 12 in scoring at 25.3 points per game and rebounding with a 12.7 average. He also leads KSU in blocked shots with 32. Walker is sixth in the conference in scoring with 15.8 points per game and he paces the team with 21 three-pointers. He is second on the team with a 6.6 rebounding average. Freshman guard Jacob Pullen is a non-starter who is the team’s third-leading scorer at 9.4 points per game. He leads KSU with 62 assists and is tied with Beasley for a team-high 24 steals. Senior guard Clent Stewart (7.6 ppg, 19 threes), junior forward Andre Gilbert (5.2 ppg) and senior guard Blake Young (6.2 ppg) round out the Wildcat starters.

The Series

Kansas has won 35 of the last 36 meetings with Kansas State dating back to the 1994 season, including a three-game sweep in 2007. The Jayhawks hold a 174-89 all-time series advantage over the Wildcats, including a 71-43 mark in games played in Manhattan and a 19-0 record in Bramlage Coliseum. Including the 19-0 mark in Bramlage, Kansas has won 24 straight in Manhattan dating back to 1984. From Feb. 2, 1994, Kansas won 31 straight against Kansas State before the Wildcats halted the streak with a 59-55 victory in Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 14, 2006. Since the inception of the Big 12, KU holds a 27-1 record against Kansas State – 21-1 in league play and 6-0 in Big 12 Championships. The Jayhawks won the first-ever meeting with K-State, 54-39, on Jan. 25, 1907, in Lawrence.

Team Notables

–Kansas is 20-0 on the season and is one of two NCAA Division I teams undefeated – Memphis is 19-0.

–The combined record of the Kansas men’s basketball and football teams is 32-1.

–Kansas is 68-7 (90.7 percent) in its last 75 games. The Jayhawks are 20-0 on the season and have won 34 of their last 35 and 37 of their last 39 contests. Kansas has won its last 28 regular-season home games.

–Kansas is 15-0 at home this season, including the Ohio contest at the Sprint Center, and has won 19 straight home games. The 19-game streak ranks seventh nationally.

–With its win at Missouri Jan. 19, Kansas has won its last eight Big 12 road games and is 11-1 in its last 12 league road contests.

–Kansas’ bigs score 45 percent of KU’s points, while its guards score 55 percent. KU’s scoring list goes – big, big, guard, guard, guard, big, guard, guard.

–KU has shot better than 50 percent 16 of 20 contests this season, including 10 of its last 12 contests. Last year, KU shot better than 50 percent in 18 of 38 contests.

–KU has outshot 19 of 20 opponents this season – USC (Dec. 2) shot better than KU.

–Kansas leads the Big 12 in scoring offense (83.3), scoring margin (+24.8), field goal percentage (51.6), field goal percentage defense (37.1), assists (19.85), turnover margin (+5.20), blocked shots (6.50), steals (10.70) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.54).

–Kansas ranks 11th in the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 65.5 for all games. In four league games, the Jayhawks are fourth in the league with a 70.3 free throw percentage.

–The Jayhawks have held 19 of 20 opponents to under 50 percent shooting and 91 of its last 94 opponents.

–Through 20 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 five different leading scorers in the last six games – Arthur, Chalmers, Jackson (twice), Rush and Collins.

–Four Jayhawks have scored 20-plus points this season – Sherron Collins (22 vs. ULM), Darnell Jackson (21 vs. ULM, 20 vs. Yale, 25 at Boston College, 21 vs. Iowa State), 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 552-361 for a 27.6 to 18.1 (+9.5) advantage per game.

–Kansas redshirt senior Jeremy Case graduated last spring. KU’s other four seniors – Sasha Kaun, Darnell Jackson, Russell Robinson and Rodrick Stewart – are on pace to graduate this spring. A computer science major, Kaun has been nominated for Academic All-American each of the last three seasons and will be a three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection in 2008.

Player Notables

–Senior Darnell Jackson (#32) has scored 64 points in his last four games for a 16-point average. He has pulled down no less than eight rebounds in each of his last seven games. His 21 points and 11 rebounds against Iowa State Jan. 23 marked his first double-double of the season. Jackson leads the Big 12 and ranks in the top five nationally in field goal percentage at 65.8 percent. For his efforts at Boston Colege (Jan. 5, 25 points, nine rebounds), he was named the co-Big 12 Player of the Week. Besides leading the league in field goal percentage, Jackson ranks 18th in scoring at 12.8 and he is tied for seventh in rebounds at 7.4 rpg.

–Junior Brandon Rush (#25) has made 17 three-pointers in his last five games and has connected on 17-of-30 (56.7 percent) from behind the arc in Big 12 play. He scored 17 points against Nebraska on 5-of-7 from three-point range. Rush has scored in double digits in 11 of his last 12 games and 13 contests this season. Rush is sixth on the career KU three-point field goals made list with 160. He is ninth in the Big 12 in three-point field goals made at 1.94. He played a season-high 36 minutes against Arizona (Nov. 25) 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.

–Junior Mario Chalmers (#15) is coming off a season-low three points against Nebraska Saturday, yet his seven assists against the Huskers tied for the second most this season and his three blocked shots were a career high. He has 32 assists and just five turnovers in his last six games, including seven dimes and no turnovers against Nebraska. He has three or more steals in 13 games this season. Chalmers leads the Big 12 in steals with 2.68 per game and assist-to-turnover ratio at 3.00. He is third in assists at 4.89 and 13th in three-point field goals made at 1.79 in the conference.

–Sophomore Darrell Arthur (#00) is averaging 17 points in his last two games, including 18 points against Nebraska Saturday. He has gone 8-for-13 (61.5 percent) from the field in each of his last two outings. Arthur has pulled down seven or more rebounds in three of his last four games and at least seven boards eight times this season. He has nine games with multi-blocked shots this season. He continues to lead KU in scoring at 13.6 points per game, which ranks 16th in the Big 12. Also in the league, he is 14th in rebounding at 5.8, fourth in blocked shots at 1.60 and sixth in field goal percentage at 54.0 percent.

–Senior Russell Robinson (#3) is averaging 10 points in his last two games and is 6-for-8 (75 percent) from the field in that span. His four steals against Nebraska tied for his second-highest output of the season (8 vs. Yale and 4 vs. Miami). He has dished out five or more assists eight times this season. He has at least one steal in all but two games this season and multiple steals in 15 contests. His 215 career steals are fifth all-time at KU. Robinson is fourth in the Big 12 in assists at 4.55, second in steals at 2.35 and sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.02.

–Sophomore SHERRON COLLINS’ (#4) 10 points against Nebraska Saturday were the most since he scored 18 against Loyola on Jan. 8. His 4-for-5 effort against NU was a season-best 80 percent from the field. He has made at least one three-pointer in 10 of 14 games played and has multiple treys in six games, including a 2-for-2 three-point effort against Nebraska. Collins has a 1.6 assist-to-turnover ratio, which would rank 11th in the Big 12 (note: he has played in 70 percent of KU’s games). Collins missed six games (games 3-8) due to injury.

–Senior Sasha Kaun (#24) recorded a season-high-tying three steals against Nebraska Saturday to go along with six points. He also had three steals against Arizona on Nov. 25. He leads KU in field goal percentage at 65.9 percent and has shot 66.7 percent or better in 13 of 20 games this year. After starting the year 10-for-26 (38.5 percent) from the free throw line, Kaun is 28-for-43 (65.1 percent) in his last 14 games. Kaun is fifth in the Big 12 in blocked shots with 1.35 per game.

–Freshman Cole Aldrich (#45) has two blocked shots in each of his last two games (against Iowa State and Nebraska). He has pulled down four or more rebounds in nine games, including four against the Huskers Saturday. Aldrich has seven games with multiple blocked shots. He is 13th in the Big 12 in blocked shots with a 1.15 average.

Up Next

Kansas continues its road swing at Colorado on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 2:30 p.m. (Central) on ABC. KU has won four straight and 15 of its last 16 trips to Boulder, Colo., dating back to 1992. More than 30 student camping groups were in Allen Fieldhouse Jan. 28 as Kansas returns home on Feb. 4 when it hosts Missouri on ESPN’s Big Monday at 8 p.m.