Jayhawks Top Seed For Men's Basketball Big 12 Championship in Oklahoma City
March 6, 2007
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Big 12 regular-season champion Kansas (27-4, 14-2) enters the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship as the No. 1 seed for the fifth time in the 11-year history of the conference. The Jayhawks won their third straight, seventh Big 12 and 50th conference regular-season championship with a 90-86 win against Texas Saturday. Kansas will face the winner of the No. 8 Iowa State vs. No. 9 Oklahoma game Friday at 11:30 a.m. at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City. The Cyclones and Sooners kick off the event Thursday, March 8, at 11:30 a.m. Kansas will be defending its Big 12 Championship as it went 3-0 last year in Dallas to win its eighth league tournament title and fourth during the Big 12 era. In the Big 12 event since 1997, Kansas is 10-0 in its first games, 9-1 in the quarterfinals, 5-4 in semifinals and 4-1 in championship games.
Ranked in the Associated Press Top 10 for 14 weeks in 2006-07, No. 3 Kansas’ eight-game winning streak is its second longest of the season. At 27-4, the Jayhawks have posted the most school victories since the 2003 Final Four team went 30-8. KU’s 14 conference victories are the most since the 2003 Jayhawks also went 14-2 and is the sixth time in the 11-year history of the league that KU has won at least 13 Big 12 games. Kansas is the only Big 12 school to have won at least 10 league games in each of the 11 seasons the conference has existed. Including 2006-07, KU has won at least 23 games in each of the last 18 seasons and its 27 victories are the most in the Bill Self era while at KU. Kansas averages 79 points per game and is giving up 60.7. The Jayhawks are outrebounding foes 40.6 to 32.5 per game and hold a 49.4 to 37.4 field goal percentage edge. KU is a young team, as its top five scorers are sophomores and freshmen. Seven of Kansas’ eight regulars earned postseason Big 12 accolades in the last week. Sophomore guard Brandon Rush, an All-Big 12 First Team selection each of the last two seasons, leads Kansas in scoring at 13.7 points per game and with 59 three-point field goals made. Sophomore Mario Chalmers, the co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, is next in scoring with a 12.1 average. Chalmers leads the Big 12 with 2.55 steals per game. Sophomore Julian Wright, an all-league first team selection along with Rush, leads KU with 8.1 rebounds a game, which is third in the conference, and is scoring 12 points per contest. He is tied with freshman forward Darrell Arthur for the team lead with 46 blocked shots. Arthur and freshman guard Sherron Collins were each named All-Big 12 Honorable Mention and to the Big 12 All-Rookie team. Arthur is scoring 10.5 points per contest, while Collins is at 9.4 points per game. Junior guard Russell Robinson, a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award and member of the Big 12 All-Defensive team, leads KU with 135 assists in addition to his 7.0 scoring average. He is second on the team with 56 steals. Juniors Sasha Kaun and Darnell Jackson round out the regulars for KU. Kaun, the starting center and an Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection, is scoring 6.5 points per game and shooting 55.3 percent from the field, while Jackson, a forward, is averaging 5.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per outing off the bench.
Kansas in the Big 12 Championship
–With its title last year, Kansas has won more Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships than any other school. Oklahoma is next with three titles. KU won the first three events in 1997-98-99 and last year’s and is 4-1 in tourney title games. Oklahoma won the 2001, 2002 and 2003 events.
–By going 3-0 last year, Kansas passed Oklahoma on the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship victories list at 19-6. Oklahoma is second at 17-7.
–Kansas has been the No. 1 seed five times (1997, ’98, ’02, ’03, ’07), No. 2 seed three times (2001, ’05, ’06), No. 3 seed twice (1999, ’04), and the No. 5 seed in 2000.
–Kansas is the only Big 12 team to have won all 10 of its first games in the conference championship. The Jayhawks are 1-0 in opening round games and 9-1 in quarterfinal contests.
–Kansas has reached the semifinals in nine of the 10 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships. The Jayhawks did not reach the 2000 semis.
–Kansas has won two of its four titles as No. 1 seed – 1997 and 1998. KU was the No. 3 seed in its 1999 title run and the No. 2 seed last year. The lowest seed to win the event No. 3 – Kansas in 1999, Oklahoma in 2003 and Oklahoma State in 2005.