Top-Seed Kansas Heading to Kansas City for Big 12 Championship Thursday in Men's Hoops
March 7, 2011
Conference Championship Time
Big 12 regular-season champion Kansas (29-2, 14-2) enters the 2011 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship as the No. 1 seed for the eighth time in the 15-year history of the league. KU won its seventh straight, 11th Big 12 and NCAA-leading 54th conference regular-season championship in 2011. Kansas will face the winner of the No. 8 Nebraska-No. 9 Oklahoma State game Thursday, March 10 at 11:30 a.m. at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. The Huskers and Cowboys will play Wednesday, March 9, at 11:30 a.m. Kansas is the defending Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship champions and has won 11 conference tournament titles, including four of the last six and seven of the 14 Big 12 championships. Since the Big 12’s inception in 1997, Kansas is 13-1 in its first games, 12-2 in the quarterfinals, 8-4 in semifinals and 7-1 in championship games.
No. 2/2 Kansas is 29-2 on the season and 14-2 in Big 12 play. The Jayhawks have won 29 games three of the last four seasons. Kansas averages 82.7 points per game and gives up 64.5 for a +18.2 scoring margin. KU also leads the battle of the boards with a +7.7 rebound margin. Through March 3, Kansas leads the nation in win-loss percentage (93.5), field goal percentage (51.8) and assists (18.2). KU also leads the Big 12 in scoring (82.7), scoring margin (+18.2), three-point field goal percentage (39.4), rebound margin (+7.7) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3). Junior forward Marcus Morris averaged 18.8 points in Big 12 play and leads Kansas in all games with a 17.3 scoring average after his double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds at Missouri March 5. Marcus’ 7.0 rebounds per game are second-best on KU’s team. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week this season, an Oscar Robertson Award finalist and a Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy mid-season candidate, Marcus is second the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 59.7 percent, just behind twin brother Markieff, who is shooting 59.8 percent. Markieff, a junior forward, leads the Big 12 in rebounding with 8.3 boards per game and in double-doubles with 11. Markieff is averaging 13.5 points per game. He leads KU with 36 blocked shots. Senior guard Tyrel Reed averaged 10.6 points per game in conference play and 9.9 points for the season. He leads KU with 60 three-point field goals made in 2010-11. Senior guard Brady Morningstar leads the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio with a 2.7 mark in all games, including a 4.4 in conference games. He averaged 8.1 points in Big 12 play and 6.5 for the season. After missing three games with an ankle injury, freshman guard Josh Selby has played the last six games. Selby averages 9.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.5 three-pointers per game. Sophomore forward Thomas Robinson had his third double-double of 2010-11 with 15 points and 13 rebounds in just 17 minutes at Missouri on March 5. Robinson is third on the team with a 6.5 rebound average to complement his 8.5 scoring average. Junior guard Tyshawn Taylor was suspended indefinitely for violating team rules on Feb. 21 and returned for the Texas A&M game (March 2). He averages 8.7 points per game and ranks fourth in the Big 12 with 4.6 assists per contest. A Bob Cousy Award finalist, Taylor has 33 steals this season. Sophomore guard Elijah Johnson has started three of the last four games at the point, missing only Senior Night. He is scoring 3.9 points and has a 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Other KU contributors include senior guard Mario Little (5.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg), sophomore guard Travis Releford (4.3 ppg) and sophomore center Jeff Withey (2.6 ppg, 19 blocked shots).
The Kansas-Nebraska Series
Kansas leads the overall series with Nebraska 170-71 and has won the last 17 meetings dating back to the 2004 season. The Jayhawks have also won 26 of the last 27 meetings against the Huskers dating back to the 1999 season. The last NU win was 74-55 in Lincoln on Feb. 15, 2004. Kansas is 6-1 against Nebraska in postseason conference tournament play, including 4-0 in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship. Kansas last faced Nebraska in the event in 2008 quarterfinals, a KU 64-54 win at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. Since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996-97, Kansas is 31-3 against Nebraska (27-3 in regular season and 4-0 in the Big 12 Championship). Earlier this season, Kansas had to come from behind to defeat Nebraska 63-60 on Jan. 15 in Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas swept the regular-season series against Nebraska with an 86-66 win at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Feb. 5.
The Kansas-Oklahoma State Series
This series dates back to 1926 and Kansas leads Oklahoma State 103-53. Since the 2004 season, Kansas narrowly leads the Oklahoma State series 6-4. Kansas leads OSU 8-4 in conference postseason action with the last meeting in the 2006 quarterfinals, a KU 63-62 win at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Since the Big 12 Conference formed in 1996-97, KU holds a 14-6 series lead – 11-4 in regular-season play and 3-2 in the conference championship. The five KU-OSU meetings in the Big 12 tourney makes OSU the second-most team Kansas has faced in the event – 7-0 vs. Kansas State. The winner of the last two KU-OSU meetings in the Big 12 Championship has gone on to win the event – OSU 78-75 in 2005 in Kansas City and KU 63-62 in Dallas in 2006. Earlier this season, Kansas defeated Oklahoma State 92-65 on ESPN Big Monday (Feb. 21).
Kansas in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship
Here are some Kansas notes heading into the conference postseason tournament:
–Kansas has won more Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships than any other school with seven. Oklahoma is next with three titles (2001-02-03). KU won the first three events in 1997-98-99, then the 2006-07-08-10 titles. KU is 7-1 in tourney title games having only lost the 2002 title to Oklahoma.
–Kansas is the only team to have won at least 20 games in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship. The Jayhawks are 28-7 in the event, while Oklahoma (19-11) and Oklahoma State (19-12) have won 19 each.
–With a 14-3 (82.4 percent) record, KU head coach Bill Self has the highest winning percentage in Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship history.
–Kansas has been the No. 1 seed eight times (1997-98-2002-03-07-09-10-11), No. 2 seed four times (2001, ’05, ’06, ’08), No. 3 seed twice (1999, ’04), and the No. 5 seed in 2000.
–Kansas has won 13 of its 14 first games in the Big 12 Championship with the 2010 loss to Baylor being the only blemish. The Jayhawks are 1-0 in opening round games and 12-2 in quarterfinal contests.
–Kansas has reached the semifinals in 12 of the 14 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships. The Jayhawks did not reach the 2000 and 2009 semis.
–Kansas has won four of its seven titles as the No. 1 seed – 1997, 1998, 2007 and 2010. KU was the No. 3 seed in its 1999 title run and the No. 2 seed in 2006 and 2008. The lowest seed to win the event was No. 3 – Kansas in 1999, Oklahoma in 2003 and Oklahoma State in 2005.
KU in Kansas City
Kansas City has been a second home of sorts for Kansas over the years. KU’s first ever game — a 16-5 loss to Kansas City YMCA on Feb. 3, 1899 — was played in Kansas City. The M&I Bank Kansas City Shootout on Dec. 11 marked KU’s 272nd game all-time in Kansas City, and its 12th in the Sprint Center. KU is 10-2 in the Sprint Center including winning the 2010 Big 12 Championship in the venue. In 2009-10, Kansas went 4-0 in the Sprint Center. In 2008-09, KU went 1-2 in the venue. In 2007-08, Kansas went 4-0 in the venue, including winning the Big 12 Championship en route to its NCAA National Championship. KU played 104 games in Kemper Arena with an 80-24 record. KU is 195-76 in games played in Kansas City.
More Notes on the Jayhawks in Kansas City
–Kansas went 26-4 in Kemper Arena from 1997 until 2006, when it played its last game in the venue. Included in that run were Big 12 Championship titles in 1997, 1998 and 1999.
–Kemper Arena was the host of the 1988 NCAA Final Four when the Jayhawks won the national championship.
–Kansas has played at least one regular-season game in Kansas City in 21 of the last 23 seasons, including every year the Sprint Center has existed.
–Through March 3, Kansas leads the nation in win-loss percentage (93.5), field goal percentage (51.8) and assists (18.2). KU also leads the Big 12 in scoring (82.7), scoring margin (+18.2), three-point field goal percentage (39.4), rebound margin (+7.7) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3).
–Kansas has held 11 opponents to 60 points or less this season.
–Kansas has outrebounded 25 of 31 opponents this season, including nine of the last 11.
–KU has outshot all but three teams this season (USC on Dec. 18, Texas on Jan. 22 and at Kansas State Feb. 14).
–The Jayhawks have shot 50 percent or better in 21 games this season. KU has shot 50 percent or better in nine of the last 12 games and 10 of its last 14.
–Kansas’ bench averages 26.5 points compared to its opponents’ 17.2 ppg. KU’s bench has outscored its opponents’ bench in 23 of 31 games this season.
–Kansas is 28-1 when leading at the half (1-1 when trailing) this season and 29-0 when leading with five minutes remaining (0-2 when trailing).
–KU has used eight different starting lineups this season.
–Kansas has scored 50 or more points in the first half five times this season.
–Under Bill Self, Kansas has nine streaks of 10 or more victories, including the 18-0 start of 2010-11.
–Yahoo! Sports came out with its 2011 All-Big 12 team on March 3 and Marcus Morris was named the site’s Big 12 Player of the Year. Joining Marcus on the first team was his twin brother Markieff. Additionally, Bill Self was the site’s Big 12 Coach of the Year and Brady Morningstar the most underrated player.
–KU is 4-1 against ranked foes this season with a win against No. 13/14 Memphis (Dec. 7) in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden, a loss against No. 10/11 Texas (Jan. 22), a win against No. 19/20 Missouri (Feb. 7), a win against No. 24/22 Texas A&M (March 2) and a win at No. 22/24 Missouri (March 5).
–Kansas ended three home-court winning streaks of 10 or more this season with victories at Baylor (10-0) Jan. 17, at Nebraska (14-0) Feb. 5 and at Missouri (17-0) March 5.
–Kansas’ 57-point win against Ohio (98-41) in the Las Vegas Invitational (Nov. 26) was the third-largest margin of victory in the Bill Self era and the largest in a game away from Allen Fieldhouse under Self.
–Junior Marcus Morris was named the 2011 Big 12 Player of the Year and All-Big 12 First Team by the league coaches March 6. He is averaging 21 points in his last four games, including his sixth double-double of the season with 21 points and 10 rebounds at Missouri March 5. Marcus leads KU in scoring at 17.3 points, which ranks fifth in the Big 12, while his 18.8 points per game in Big 12 play ended up third in the league. Marcus is second in the conference in shooting percentage at 59.7 percent, which is barely behind his twin brother Markieff’s 59.8 percent. Marcus has 10 games with 20-plus points this season. He has led Kansas in scoring 16 times in 2010-11. His 7.0 rebounds per game are 11th in the Big 12. He has led KU in every statistical category at least once this season. Marcus has been named Big 12 Player of the Week three times (Nov. 29, Jan. 17 and Feb. 14), was named a Wooden Award Mid-Season candidate Jan. 6, a Naismith Mid-Season candidate Feb. 11 and an Oscar Robertson Award finalist Feb. 28.
–Junior Markieff Morris leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 59.8 percent. An All-Big 12 Second Team selection, Markieff also leads the conference in rebound average at 8.3 rpg and double-doubles with 11. In his last five games, Markieff has averaged 16.6 points and shot 63.3 percent from the field. He has 13 games with double-figure rebounds. Named Big 12 Player of the Week on Dec. 27, Markieff is tied for 15th in the Big 12 in scoring at 13.5 ppg. He has been the leading rebounder for KU in 16 of 30 games this season.
–Senior Tyrel Reed was named All-Big 12 Honorable Mention March 6 and has scored in double figures in each of his last three game and five of his last six contests. He was named Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team on Feb. 22. He is also a three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection. He leads Kansas with 60 threes made this season and has made multiple threes in 19 games. He also leads KU with 49 steals and ranks eighth in the Big 12 with 1.6 steals per game. In conference play, Reed was KU’s third-leading scorer with 10.6 points per game. He is scoring 9.9 points for the season. Reed is the only Jayhawk to have started every game this season. Reed has an 81.6 free throw percentage on the season. Ranked eighth in the Big 12 in three-point percentage (39.7) and 12th in three-pointers made per game (1.9), Reed is one of 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. He graduated from KU in December and has been accepted into KU Medicine’s physical therapy school.
–Senior Brady Morningstar was named All-Big 12 Honorable Mention and to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team March 6. He leads the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.7 for all games and was tops in the same stat in conference games at 4.4. In his last nine contests, all starts, Morningstar has 30 assists and eight turnovers. He averaged 8.1 points in Big 12 play and is scoring 6.5 for the season. Morningstar, who graduated in May 2010, is second on the team with 48 steals, one behind Tyrel Reed. A 2011 Academic All-Big 12 Second Team selection, Morningstar is ninth in the Big 12 in steals per game at 1.5. Morningstar averages 3.1 assists per game, which has him 12th in the Big 12.
–Sophomore Thomas Robinson had surgery on Feb. 11 for a meniscus tear in his right knee and was expected to be out approximately two weeks but returned 10 days later, missing three games. At Missouri March 5, he recorded his third double-double of the season with 15 points and 13 rebounds in only 17 minutes on the floor. Robinson averages 8.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and is shooting 61.7 percent from the field overall in 2010-11. His 6.5 rebounds rank 13th in the Big 12. A V Foundation Comeback Award finalist, Robinson missed the Colorado contest on Jan. 25 tending to the funeral of his mother, Lisa, in Washington, D.C.
–Sophomore Elijah Johnson has started three of the last four games, missing just Senior Night. In the last four games, he is scoring 6.5 points and is shooting 64.3 percent from the field. Against Oklahoma State Feb. 21, Johnson scored a career-high 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including 4-for-4 from three-point range. He averages 14.4 minutes per game with a 3.9 scoring average. He has scored in double figures four times this season. Johnson has a 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio for the season.
–Junior Tyshawn Taylor was suspended indefinitely on Feb. 21 for violating team rules, missed two games and returned to the lineup against Texas A&M (March 2). He scored nine points against the Aggies with three rebounds and three assists. He has 11 games in double-figure scoring this season. Taylor averages 8.7 points overall per game. Named a Bob Cousy Award finalist (one of 20) on Jan. 12, Taylor is fourth in the Big 12 in assists per game at 4.6. He has led KU in assists in 17 of 29 games played this season. Taylor is eighth in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.7.
–Senior Mario Little pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds against Oklahoma State (Feb. 21) and scored seven points. He scored a career-high 17 points on 7-of-9 (77.8 percent) shooting, including 3-for-3 from three-point range, against Missouri (Feb. 7). Little averages 15.2 minutes, 5.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per game and is shooting 49.1 percent from the field on the season.
–Freshman Josh Selby has played each of the last six games after missing the previous three games due to a stress reaction in his right ankle. He scored seven points against Oklahoma State (Feb. 21) for his most points since his return. Selby has scored in double figures in nine of 19 games played in 2010-11. Selby averages 9.6 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.1 steals per contest. He is a two-time Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week (Jan. 31 and Dec. 20).
–Sophomore Travis Releford has played in 25 games this season with a 4.3 scoring average. He missed five contests due to an ankle sprain on his right foot suffered at Michigan (Jan. 9). Releford is shooting 52.0 percent from the field and has scored in double figures five 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 and is a national dunk of the year entrant by Intersport to be voted on in March.
–Sophomore Jeff Withey is a combined 7-for-8 from the field in his last five games played. Withey tied his season high with eight points against Iowa State Feb. 12. Withey averages 6.6 minutes, 2.5 points, 1.9 rebounds and 0.8 blocked shots per game in 2010-11.
Kansas Well Represented on Coaches’ All-Big 12 Team
Kansas junior Marcus Morris, his twin Markieff Morris, seniors Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed and head coach Bill Self were honored by the conference office as the All-Big 12 men’s basketball awards were announced March 6. In a vote of the conference coaches, Marcus Morris was named the 2011 Big 12 Player of the Year. Additionally, Marcus was an All-Big 12 First Team selection, while Markieff Morris earned all-conference second-team accolades. Morningstar and Reed were named All-Big 12 Honorable Mention and Morningstar also earned recognition on the Big 12 All-Defensive Team. Conference coaches, who were not able to vote for their own team, selected Bill Self as the 2011 Big 12 Coach of the Year. Big 12 Player(s) of the Year from Kansas include Raef LaFrentz (1996, 1997), Drew Gooden (2002), Nick Collison (2003), Wayne Simien (2005) and Morris in 2011. Additionally, Marcus Morris’ All-Big 12 First Team selection marks the 20th time a Jayhawk has earned the distinction. KU has had an all-league first-team award winner in 13 of the 15 seasons the Big 12 has existed.
Kansas has won 11 of the 15 Big 12 regular-season titles (includes ties), including the last seven. Kansas’ 54 conference titles are the most in NCAA Division I. Kansas’ seven-straight league titles is now a school record, surpassing the six straight set from 1922-27.
Kansas in the Polls
Kansas is ranked No. 2 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ polls released March 7. This marks the 37th-straight week Kansas has been ranked No. 7 or higher in both polls. In that span, KU has been ranked in the top five 33 times. In the Bill Self era, Kansas has been ranked in the top 10 in 98 AP polls and 101 ESPN/USA Today polls. On Feb. 14, Kansas was ranked No. 1 nationally to mark the fifth season during Bill Self’s eight years that Kansas has reached the No. 1 ranking. KU also was No. 1 during 2003-04, 2004-05, 2007-08 (only in the coaches’ final poll) and 15 weeks last season in 2009-10. Feb. 14 marked the 19th week in the Bill Self era that Kansas has been ranked No. 1 in both polls.