Kansas and Ohio to Square Off at Kansas City Shootout presented by careerbuilder.com Saturday in KC
Dec. 13, 2007
Saturday may be Kansas’ first game in the Sprint Center for the Kansas City Shootout presented by careerbuilder.com against Ohio, but the 9-0 Jayhawks are familiar playing in Kansas City. KU has an all-time record of 185-74 in Kansas City and has played in venues such as historical Municipal Auditorium, blocks away from the Sprint Center, and Kemper Arena, which is just west of downtown. Kansas is coming off an 84-66 win against DePaul on Dec. 8. Ohio, 6-2, is on a four-game winning after its 61-55 win at Maryland Wednesday. The Bobcats have won their last two road games and will be playing their first neutral game of the season.
Kansas is 9-0 for the first time since the 2004-05 Jayhawks opened the season 14-0. The Jayhawks have won 23 of their last 24 games and are three-time defending Big 12 regular-season champions. In 2007-08, KU is outscoring opponents 84.7 to 59.4 and its +25.2 scoring margin ranks first in the Big 12. Kansas averages 20.8 assists per game and forces an average of 21.1 turnovers. Sophomore forward Darrell Arthur leads the team with a 13.9 scoring average and is second with 14 blocked shots on the year. Sophomore guard Sherron Collins saw his first action in six games against DePaul Dec. 8 and is next in scoring with 12.7 points per contest. Junior guard Mario Chalmers is having a solid season, as he is scoring 12.3 points per game and leads KU with 47 assists, 16 three-pointers and 29 steals. Senior Darnell Jackson is also having a great year as he leads Kansas with 6.9 rebounds per game to compliment his 11.2 scoring average. Jackson has started the last four games for the Jayhawks. Junior Brandon Rush is scoring 10.7 points per outing and he is second on the team with 12 three-pointers. Seniors Sasha Kaun (8.3 ppg, team-high 16 blocked shots), Russell Robinson (7.1 ppg, 39 assists) and Rodrick Stewart (6.6 ppg, 31 assists) round out the regulars for KU. Robinson and Stewart are starters.
Ohio is 6-2, has won its last two road games and brings a four-game winning streak to the Sprint Center. Senior forward Leon Williams leads Ohio in both scoring with 16.8 points per game and rebounding with a 10 average. He has led the team in rebounding six times, including 15 boards at Maryland Wednesday. Junior forward Jerome Tillman scored 20 points at is averaging 15 points per games. He is second on the team with 7.9 rebounds per contest. Senior guard Bubba Walther is scoring at 14 points per game and he leads Ohio with 21 three-point field goals and 14 steals. Junior forward Justin Orr averages 11.1 points, while junior guard Bert Whittington is at seven points per game. Junior guard Michael Allen leads Ohio with 36 assists to go along with his 6.3 points per contest. Ohio averages 76.6 points per game and is giving up 68.5. Ohio opponents have scored 59 points or less in each of the last three games, all Bobcat victories. The Bobcats force 15.5 turnovers per game and have a +5.1 rebound margin advantage. On Wednesday, they outrebounded Maryland 37-27.
Kansas won the only meeting with Ohio, 49-38, in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in South Bend, Ind., on March 14, 1985. Two days later, the Jayhawks lost 66-64 to Auburn. Current Kansas assistant coach Danny Manning was a freshman on the 1984-85 team and scored seven points and pulled down eight rebounds against the Bobcats. Kansas is 6-1 against current membership of the Mid-American Conference. The Jayhawks are 2-1 against Ball State, 1-0 vs. Ohio, Bowling Green, Western Michigan and Toledo. KU faced Toledo at Kemper Arena last season on Dec. 9 and Ball State five games earlier in Las Vegas on Nov. 24. Kansas will face its second Mid-American foe of the season on Dec. 22 when Miami (Ohio) visits Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas hits the road for the second time in non-conference play when it travels to Georgia Tech on Dec. 18. Tip from Alexander Memorial Coliseum in Atlanta is set for 6 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN. KU returns home to face Miami (Ohio) on Saturday, Dec. 22 at noon in Allen Fieldhouse.