No. 1 Seed Kansas to Take on No. 16 Seed Portland State in NCAA Opening Round

March 17, 2008

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Tournament Central

Big 12 Champion Kansas (31-3, 13-3 Big 12) makes its 19th-straight and 37th overall NCAA Tournament appearance as a No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional and will take on Portland State (23-9, 14-2 Big Sky) Thursday, March 20, at 11:25 a.m. (Central). The Jayhawks – 2008 Big 12 regular-season co-champions – are coming off their sixth Big 12 and 10th overall league tournament title after their 84-74 win against then-No. 6 Texas Sunday. This marks the eighth time since seeding started in the NCAA Tournament that the Jayhawks have been a No. 1 seed. A KU win and it would play the winner of the UNLV-Kent State game Saturday, at approximately 5:50 p.m. (Central)

About Kansas

Ranked in the Associated Press Top 10 every week in 2007-08, No. 4/4 Kansas takes a seven-game winning streak into the NCAA Championship. Kansas has won 64 games over the last two seasons. The Jayhawks average 81.5 points and lead the nation in scoring margin at +19.9. Sophomore forward Darrell Arthur leads KU in scoring with 13.1 points per game. He is second on the team with 6.2 rebounds per contest and leads KU with 46 blocked shots. A trio of Jayhawks average between 11.6 and 12.9 points per contest, led by junior guard Brandon Rush at 12.9 ppg. Rush, the Most Outstanding Player of the Big 12 Championship, leads the team with 69 three-point field goals and is shooting 43.4 percent from beyond the arc. Junior guard Mario Chalmers is scoring 12.4 points per game and is second on the team with 60 three pointers. Chalmers joined Rush on the Big 12 all-tournament team after scoring a career-high 30 points against Texas. He leads the conference in steals at 2.42 per game, is second in assists at 4.58 and third in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.32. Senior forward Darnell Jackson is scoring 11.6 ppg and he leads KU in rebounding at 6.7 per contest, which is seventh in the Big 12. Sophomore guard Sherron Collins is scoring 9.5 points off the bench. Seniors Russell Robinson and Sasha Kaun are each scoring 7.3 points per game. Robinson, Arthur, Rush, Jackson and Chalmers are the KU starters. Senior guard Rodrick Stewart (2.9 ppg) and freshman center Cole Aldrich (2.9 ppg) round out the Kansas regulars.

About Portland State

Portland State (23-9, 14-2 Big Sky) won the Big Sky Conference regular season and postseason league tournament to advance to the NCAA Championship. The Vikings are competing in their first-ever NCAA Championship. Second-year head coach Ken Bone has guided the Vikings to a 42-22 record, as PSU went 19-13 last season. Portland State averages 74.3 points per game and is giving up 67.5. Junior guard Jeremiah Dominguez is the 2008 Big Sky Player of the Year and leads the team in scoring with 14.3 points per game. He has made 82 three pointers for 2.6 per contest. Dominguez also leads team with 126 assists, 62 steals, a 43.9 three-point shooting percentage and an 82.1 free throw percentage. Senior guard Deonte Huff was named the MVP of the Big Sky Tournament and he averages 13.9 points per game and a team-best 6.1 rebounds. Senior center Scott Morrison is next in rebounds with 5.9 per outing to complement his 10.6 scoring average. He leads the team with 52 blocked shots and a 57.9 shooting percentage. Junior guard Andre Murray is scoring 9.2 ppg, while sophomore forward Kyle Coston is at 5.9 ppg and senior guard Dupree Lucas is at 5.6 ppg. Sophomore forward Julius Thomas (4.0 ppg) and sophomore forward Tyrell Mara (4.7 ppg) round out the PSU regulars.

The KU-Portland State Series

Kansas and Portland State will be meeting for the first time in men’s basketball. Kansas is 9-0 against current membership of the Big Sky Conference and has faced two of its teams this season. KU defeated Northern Arizona, 87-46, on Nov. 21 and Eastern Washington, 85-47, on Dec. 5, with both games played in Lawrence. Don’t be confused as KU defeated Portland, 80-37, in 1968.

Seed Notes

Kansas is the No. 1 seed for the eighth time since the NCAA Tournament started seeding in 1979 – 1986, 1992, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2007 and 2008. The Jayhawks are 17-7 all-time as a No. 1 seed and have advanced to the Final Four twice (1986 and 2002). Kansas is 7-0 against the No. 16 seed in the event and should it go 8-0, it is 4-1 against the No. 8 seed and 3-1 versus No. 9 seeds.

Kansas in the NCAA Tournament

–In the last six NCAA Tournaments, Kansas has a 15-6 (71.4 percent) record with two Final Four (2002-03) and four Elite Eight (2002-03-04-07) appearances.

–This is KU’s 37th overall NCAA Tournament appearance and first trip to Omaha. Kansas is 3-1 in NCAA Tournament games played in nearby Lincoln, including a 2-0 mark in 1988, KU’s last NCAA title.

–The Jayhawks’ 37 NCAA Tournament appearances are fourth nationally behind only Kentucky (48), UCLA (40) and North Carolina (40).

–Kansas sports an all-time NCAA Tournament record of 76-36 and the Jayhawks’ 76 wins rank fifth behind Kentucky (98), North Carolina (92), UCLA (88) and Duke (85).

–The Jayhawks will play their 113th NCAA Tournament game on Thursday, which ranks fifth all-time in NCAA history.

–KU’s NCAA Tournament winning percentage (.679) ranks sixth all-time.

–The Jayhawks have appeared in the Final Four 12 times – making KU one of just five schools to reach the Final Four 10-plus times.

–Kansas has won nine games in the Final Four, which is sixth-best all time.

–KU is one of 14 schools that has won at least two NCAA Championships. The Jayhawks won the NCAA crown in 1952 and 1988.

–Kansas coach Bill Self is making his 10th appearance in the NCAA Tournament as a head coach.

–Four different Jayhawks have been named NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, including B.H. Born in 1953 and Wilt Chamberlain in 1957, who won the award even though KU lost in the finals. Clyde Lovellette (1952) and Danny Manning (1988) also won the honor.

–Former Jayhawk player and coach Dick Harp is the only person to play in the Final Four and later coach his alma mater in the Final Four.