Jayhawks to Open Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship Friday at 6 p.m.
March 11, 2008
Big 12 regular-season champion Kansas (28-3, 13-3) enters the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship as the No. 2 seed for the fourth time in the 12-year history of the conference. The Jayhawks won their fourth straight, eighth Big 12 and 51st conference regular-season championship with a 72-55 win at Texas A&M Saturday. KU tied Texas for the regular-season title. Kansas will face the winner of the No. 7 Nebraska vs. No. 10 Missouri game Friday at 6 p.m. at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. The Huskers and Tigers will play Thursday, March 13, at 6 p.m. Kansas is two-time defending Big 12 Championship champion and takes a six-game league tourney winning streak into Kansas City. KU has won five Big 12 and nine overall conference postseason championships. In the Big 12 event since 1997, Kansas is 11-0 in its first games, 10-1 in the quarterfinals, 6-4 in semifinals and 5-1 in championship games.
Ranked in the Associated Press Top 10 every week in 2007-08, No. 5/6 Kansas takes a four-game winning streak into the Big 12 Championship. Kansas has won 61 games over the last two seasons. The Jayhawks average 82.1 points and lead the nation in scoring margin at +21.0. Sophomore forward Darrell Arthur leads KU in scoring with 13.4 points per game. He is second on the team with 6.1 rebounds per contest and leads KU with 44 blocked shots. A trio of Jayhawks average between 11.8 and 12.3 points per contest, led by junior guard Brandon Rush at 12.3 ppg. Rush leads the team with 56 three-point field goals and is shooting 40.9 percent from beyond the arc. Junior guard Mario Chalmers is scoring 12.1 points per game and is second on the team with 51 three pointers. Chalmers leads the Big 12 in steals at 2.40 per game and is second in assists at 4.50 and third in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.41. Senior forward Darnell Jackson is scoring 12.1 ppg and he leads KU in rebounding at 6.9 per contest, which is seventh in the Big 12. Sophomore guard Sherron Collins is scoring 9.4 points off the bench and was named the Phillips 66 co-Big 12 Player of the Week last week after averaging 13 points with 10 assists and one turnover in two KU victories. Seniors Russell Robinson and Sasha Kaun are scoring 7.8 and 7.3, respectively. Robinson, Arthur, Rush, Jackson and Chalmers are the KU starters. Senior guard Rodrick Stewart (3.0 ppg) and freshman center Cole Aldrich (3.0 ppg) round out the Kansas regulars.
Kansas in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship
Kansas is the two-time defending Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship champion. Here are some notes heading into the conference postseason tournament:
–With its title last year, Kansas has won more Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships than any other school with five. Oklahoma is next with three titles (2001-02-03). KU won the first three events in 1997-98-99, then the 2006 and 2007 titles. KU is 5-1 in tourney title games.
–Kansas is the only team to have won at least 20 games in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship. The Jayhawks are 22-6 in the event, while Oklahoma is next at 18-8.
–Kansas has been the No. 1 seed five times (1997, `98, `02, `03, `07), No. 2 seed four times (2001, `05, `06, ’08), No. 3 seed twice (1999, `04), and the No. 5 seed in 2000.
–Kansas is the only Big 12 team to have won all 11 of its first games in the conference championship. The Jayhawks are 1-0 in opening round games and 10-1 in quarterfinal contests.
–Kansas has reached the semifinals in 10 of the 11 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships. The Jayhawks did not reach the 2000 semis.
–Kansas has won three of its five titles as No. 1 seed – 1997, 1998 and 2007. KU was the No. 3 seed in its 1999 title run and the No. 2 seed in 2006. The lowest seed to win the event was No. 3 – Kansas in 1999, Oklahoma in 2003 and Oklahoma State in 2005.