Big 12 Champ Kansas Men's Hoops to Play in League Championship

March 8, 2006

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For the second straight season, Kansas (22-7, 13-3) is entering the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship co-conference champions and second seed. With its 66-52 win at Kansas State Saturday, the Jayhawks claimed their sixth Big 12 and 49th overall league title at they tied Texas for the 2006 championship. Kansas will face the winner of the No. 7 Oklahoma State vs. No. 10 Iowa State game, Friday at 6 p.m. at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Kansas is 9-0 in its first games at the event and 8-1 in the quarterfinals.

About Kansas
Kansas has won 12 of its last 13 games and is 19-3 since Dec. 10. KU is scoring 75.3 points per game and giving up 60.4 for a +14.9 scoring margin, which ranks in the top 10 nationally. Kansas leads the nation in field goal percentage defense at 36.6 percent and its 17.9 assists per game are also in the top 10 nationally. On Sunday, Brandon Rush was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week for the third time this season. He leads the Big 12 freshman class in scoring at 14.1 points per game – 13th overall in the league. Rush leads KU in rebounding and his six per game are 12th in the Big 12. He is also sixth in the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 49.5 percent. Freshman Mario Chalmers leads the league in steals at 2.79 to go along with his 10.9 scoring average. Chalmers’ 3.83 assists per contest are eighth in the league and his 78.1 free throw percentage is fourth. Freshman Julian Wright – 8.5 ppg and 4.5 rpg – has entered the starting lineup since Jan. 25. He is eighth in the Big 12 in blocked shots at 1.24 per game. Sophomore Sasha Kaun is another starter who is averaging eight points per game and shooting 57.6 percent from the field. Sophomore C.J. Giles leads the team in blocked shots with 1.59 per game – sixth in the Big 12.

Kansas in the Big 12 Championship
–Kansas and Oklahoma have each won three Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships, the most in the history of the league. KU won the first three events in 1997-98-99 and is 3-1 in tourney title games. Oklahoma won the 2001, 2002 and 2003 events.
–Kansas ranks second in Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship wins at 16-6. Oklahoma is 17-6.
–Kansas is the No. 2 seed for the second straight season. KU has been the No. 1 seed four times (1997, ’98, ’02, ’03), 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 nine of its first games in the conference championship. The Jayhawks are 1-0 in opening round games and 8-1 in quarterfinal contests.
–Kansas has reached the semifinals of eight of the nine Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships. The Jayhawks did not reach the 2000 semis.
–Oklahoma is the lone No. 2 seed to have won the Big 12 Championship. The Sooners won the 2002 title at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo.