Kansas Men's Basketball Heads to Oklahoma for ESPN Big Monday Battle

Feb. 20, 2005

It’s another Big 12 battle of heavyweights as Kansas (20-3, 10-2) takes on Oklahoma (19-6, 8-4) on ESPN’s Big Monday at Norman, Okla., at 8 p.m. The Jayhawks have finished either first or second in the Big 12 race in all but one season the conference has existed. KU has won four league titles and three Big 12 Tournaments. Oklahoma has also won three league tournaments and has finished no lower than third in the Big 12 regular season in six of the eight years of the conference. Kansas ranks first in Big 12 league game wins with 116, while Oklahoma tied with Texas for second at 96. KU looks to rebound from two overtime losses last week. The Jayhawks fell at No. 25 Texas Tech in double overtime 80-79 on Monday, then lost to Iowa State 63-61 in OT Saturday. OU has won two straight heading into the KU contest. The Sooners are coming off a 69-68 win at Kansas State on Saturday. Last week Kansas was ranked No. 2 by both national polls while Oklahoma was No. 21 in Associated Press and No. 22 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ polls.

About Kansas
Kansas has lost two straight games by a total of three points with both losses in a combined three overtimes. Last Monday, KU fell by one point – 80-79 – in double overtime at Texas Tech. On Saturday, the Jayhawks lost to Iowa State 63-61 in one overtime. KU is looking to break a three-game losing streak on ESPN Big Monday road contests dating back to last season. KU is 29-6 (82.9 percent) in its last 35 games dating back to last season. Named to the Midseason Wooden Award watch list, senior Wayne Simien leads KU and the Big 12 in scoring at 18.7 points per game, including 19.8 ppg in Big 12 play. The Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year recorded his fifth straight and conference-leading 12th double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds against Iowa State on Saturday. Also named to the Midseason Wooden Award watch list is senior Keith Langford who is averaging 15.3 ppg overall and 16.1 in Big 12 play. Langford has averaged 19.6 points in his last five games. The go-to guard has led KU in scoring in three if its last five games. Sophomore J.R. Giddens is next in scoring at 10.7 ppg and has made three or more three-point field goals in three of his last four games. Giddens is averaging 2.6 three-point field goals per game in his last nine contests. He has made multiple three-pointers in nine of his last 12 games. Senior Aaron Miles has crushed every KU and Big 12 assists record and is averaging a league-best 7.5 assists per game. Last week his 7.4 average was sixth in the nation. At Texas Tech last Monday, Miles became only the 12th player in NCAA Division I history to record 900 career assists. His 911 assists are 11th all-time. Miles has averaged 8.5 assists in his last eight games. Junior Christian Moody is another starter who is averaging 6.1 ppg and is second on the team with five rpg. Moody has pulled down six or more rebounds 10 times this season and has averaged six rebounds in his last five games. Moody missed the Iowa State game due to injury. Freshman Sasha Kaun (3.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg) started in Moody’s place.

Kansas Head Coach Bill Self
Kansas coach Bill Self recorded his 250th career win at Kansas State on Feb. 9. His win against Colorado on Feb. 12 marked Self’s seventh straight 20-win season as a head coach and his eighth overall. He is 44-12 in his second season at KU and 251-117 in his 12th season overall. Last year, KU posted a 24-9 record and finished tied for second in the Big 12 race at 12-4. KU advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year, falling to Georgia Tech in overtime, 79-71. Self’s 24 victories tied Dick Harp for the most wins by a KU coach in his debut season at Kansas. Prior to KU, Self led Illinois to two Big Ten titles and three straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Before Illinois, he guided Tulsa to two WAC championships in 1999 and 2000 and was The Sporting News National Coach of the Year in 2000. A four-time Naismith Coach of the Year Award finalist, Self began his coaching career at KU in 1985-86 and was an assistant at his alma mater – Oklahoma State – from 1986 until 1993. His first head coaching stint was at Oral Roberts where he guided the Golden Eagles to the NIT in 1996-97, their first postseason appearance since 1983-84. Self is 1-2 against Oklahoma.

About Oklahoma
Last week Oklahoma was ranked No. 21 by Associated Press and No. 22 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. The Sooners (19-6, 8-4) have won two straight games after losing three of its previous four outings. OU won a 69-68 thriller at Kansas State Saturday and defeated Nebraska 83-60 last Wednesday. The Sooners are tough at home posting a 12-1 record at the Lloyd Noble Center. Junior forward Taj Gray leads Oklahoma with a 15.3 scoring average and 8.4 rebounding average. Gray also paces OU with 2.2 blocked shots per game. Junior forward Kevin Bookout is second on the team in scoring at 12.2 ppg and rebounding at 6.6 rpg. He leads OU with a 61.1 field goal percentage. Junior guard Terrell Everett is next in scoring at 12.1 ppg and leads the team in assists with 5.0 per contest. Sophomore guards Drew Lavender — 10.1 ppg — and Lawrence McKenzie — 9.4 ppg — rank fourth and fifth in scoring for the Sooners.

Oklahoma Head Coach Kelvin Sampson
Oklahoma head coach Kelvin Sampson is in his 11th season at OU with a 253-98 record. Entering this season the Sooners have won an average of 23.4 wins per season and have advanced to postseason play all 10 seasons – nine NCAAs, one NIT – under Sampson. Included was the 2002 NCAA Final Four and the Elite Eight in 2003. Sampson is in his 22nd year as a head coach with a 429-246 record.

Series History
Kansas leads the all-time series with Oklahoma, 129-63… OU has won three of the last five meetings, yet KU leads 8-3 since the inception of the Big 12 in 1997… Last meeting saw the Jayhawks defeat the Sooners, 79-58, on Feb. 29, 2004, in Lawrence, Kan… Kansas coach Bill Self is 1-2 against the Sooners and OU head coach Kelvin Sampson is 5-10 versus the Jayhawks… KU is 44-39 all-time against the Sooners in Norman and 12-14 against Oklahoma in the Lloyd Noble Center… The Jayhawks won the first-ever meeting with Oklahoma, 33-28, on March 5, 1920 in Lawrence, Kan.

Up Next
The Jayhawks return home to face Oklahoma State on Sunday, Feb. 27. Tip from Allen Fieldhouse is 3 p.m. and the game will air on CBS Television. Following the Oklahoma State game KU will play host to Kansas State on Senior Night, Wednesday, March 2 at 8 p.m. The game will air on Jayhawk TV and ESPN2.