No. 1 Kansas to Host California Tuesday in Men's Basketball at 8 p.m.

Dec. 21, 2009

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No. 1 Kansas (10-0) continues is home stand against Pac-10 power California (6-3) on Tuesday, Dec. 22, at 8 p.m. on ESPN2. The Jayhawks and Golden Bears are favored to win their respective conference races in 2009-10. KU was consensus preseason No. 1 nationally, while California entered the year in many top 10 polls. Kansas is coming off a 75-64 win against Michigan on Dec. 19, while California last played on Dec. 9, posting a 69-45 win at Pacific.

About Kansas

Kansas followed final exams with a 75-64 win against Michigan on Dec. 19. Kansas averages 88.8 points per game, is giving up 58.7 points and ranks in the top five nationally with a +30.5 scoring margin. KU is shooting 51.3 percent from the field, while its opponents are shooting 34.5 percent. Only one KU opponent, Radford, has shot above 40 percent against the Jayhawks this season. Xavier Henry leads the team with a 17.7 point scoring average. He is making 53.5 percent of his shots from the field and 49.1 from three-point range. Xavier leads KU with 26 threes and 18 steals. Senior guard Sherron Collins scores 13.9 points per game, including 19 against Michigan, and he has made 20 three pointers. Collins leads the team with 42 assists, which are two ahead of sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor (6.8 ppg). Taylor has 15 steals, two ahead of Collins (13). Junior center Cole Aldrich leads the team in rebounds with 9.7 per game and had 11 boards against Michigan. He also leads KU and the Big 12 in blocked shots with 3.5 per outing. Sophomore forward Marcus Morris is coming off his second double-double of the season with a career-high 23 points and 10 rebounds versus Michigan. He is a starter who is scoring 11.1 points and pulling down 5.8 rebounds per game. Marcus’ twin, sophomore forward Markieff Morris is coming off the bench to score 8.1 points per game. Markieff, who recorded his first career double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds against La Salle on Dec. 12, pulls down 5.7 rebounds per game and leads KU with a 69.8 percent field goal shooting. Junior guard Tyrel Reed scores 4.9 points per outing and he has 12 three-pointers this season. Freshman guard Elijah Johnson (4.3 ppg) has started two games this season. Thomas Robinson (5.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg) is another KU regular.

Kansas is the five-time defending Big 12 champion, finished 27-8 last season and won the 2009 league title outright with a 14-2 conference record. The Jayhawks advanced to their third-straight NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 before falling to NCAA runner-up Michigan State in Indianapolis last year.

About California

Located in Berkeley, Calif., and coached by Mike Montgomery, California (6-3) has won two straight and four of its last five games. The Golden Bears defeated Big 12 foe Iowa State 82-63 on Dec. 5 in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series matchup and also won convincingly at Pacific 69-45 on Dec. 9. Cal averages 79.1 points and is giving up 68 for a +11.1 scoring margin. The Golden Bears average 40.2 rebounds per game and have a +7.1 rebound margin. Four Cal players average in double figures led by senior guard Jerome Randle who is scoring 19.6 points per game. Randle leads the team with 46 assists and 23 three-point field goals. Senior guard Patrick Christopher is next in scoring at 15.6 points and he leads Cal with 14 steals. He is also a solid rebounder with his 5.6 boards per game. Senior forward Theo Robertson was welcomed back to the lineup last game after missing six games due to injury. Robertson averages 14.7 points in his three games played this season. Senior forward Jamal Boykin is a starter who is second on the team in rebounds with 6.9 per game to complement his 12.2 scoring average. Sophomore forward Omondi Amoke leads Cal in rebounds with 7.2 per game. He scores 5.8 points per contest. Sophomore guard Jorge Gutierrez (7.0 ppg), sophomore center Max Zang (4.5 ppg) and junior center Markhuri Sanders-Frison (2.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg) round out the California regulars. Zang is 7-3 and leads the team with 12 blocked shots in his eight games played.

The Series

Kansas leads the overall series with California, 14-3, and has won the last eight meetings with Cal. This series dates back to 1929 when the two teams met Jan. 3-4-5 in Oakland, Calif. The following year, the teams clashed Jan. 2-3 in Kansas City, Mo., and Jan. 4 in Lawrence. Of the 17 matchups between KU and Cal, only one has been played in Berkeley, Calif., and two in Lawrence. The rest have been in Oakland, Kansas City, Mo., Anchorage, Alaska, St. Louis, Mo., and Lahaina, Hawaii. KU won the last meeting on Dec. 10, 2005, at the Kemper Shootout in Kansas City, Mo., during KU’s third season under head coach Bill Self.

Team Notables

–Kansas remains one of eight undefeated teams in NCAA Division I (Dec. 20). Others include Kentucky, Missouri State, New Mexico, Purdue, Syracuse, Texas and West Virginia.

–KU leads the Big 12 in scoring (88.8 ppg), scoring margin (+30.5), assists (19.3 apg), blocked shots (7.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.6). The Jayhawks rank in the top three in all but two Big 12 statistical categories.

–Seven of Kansas’ 10 victories this season have been by 25 or more points with six of those by 30 points or more.

–KU averages 7.3 blocked shots per game to its opponents’ 3.0.

–Kansas has shot 50 percent or better in seven of 10 games this season.

–On Dec. 12, the Jayhawks’ bench outscored La Salle’s bench 25-3. KU’s averages 29.3 points per game compared to 13.3 by its opponents.

–Through 10 games, seven different Jayhawks, including ties, have led the team in steals, seven in points and five in assists.

–Kansas forces 16.0 turnovers per game and averages 20.7 points off turnovers per game.

Player Notables

–Senior Sherron Collins scored 19 points against Michigan on 7-of-10 shooting. In his previous game against La Salle (Dec. 12), Collins was 1-for-12 from the field. Collins has scored in double figures in eight games this season. He has 16 assists in his last three games and averages 4.2 assists on the season. He is second on the team in scoring and his 13.9 ppg ranks 19th in the Big 12. Collins also ranks among the league leaders in assists (seventh at 4.2), three-point field goal percentage (seventh at .417), three-point field goals made (10th at 2.0) and assist-to-turnover ratio (10th at 2.10).

–Junior Cole Aldrich, an Academic All-America candidate, pulled down 11 rebounds against Michigan (Dec. 19) to mark the fifth time this season he has had double digit rebounding games. He is second in the Big 12 and ranks in the top 10 nationally with 3.5 blocked shots per game. Aldrich has had at least three blocked shots in all but one game this season. He led the league with 2.7 blocked shots per game last year and his 163 career blocked shots are sixth on the KU list. Aldrich is fourth in the Big 12 in rebounding at 9.7 rpg. He has three double-doubles this season.

–Freshman Xavier Henry was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week for the second-straight week on Dec. 14 following his career-high 31 points against La Salle (Dec. 12). He has led KU in scoring in five of 10 games this season and has a team-best and Big 12 freshmen-leading 17.7 scoring average. He has shot 50 percent or better from the floor in all but two games this season and is making 49.1 percent from three-point range. The last KU freshman to lead the team in scoring was Brandon Rush in 2005-06 at 13.5 ppg. Henry ranks sixth in the Big 12 in scoring at 17.7 ppg, fourth in field goal percentage at .535, second in three-point field goal percentage at .491, ninth in free throw percentage at .806 and fourth in three pointers made at 2.6.

–Sophomore Marcus Morris had a career-high 23 points on 7-of-10 shooting against Michigan and added 10 rebounds for a double-double against the Wolverines. He has started the last eight games and is second on the team with 5.8 rebounds per contest. Marcus has pulled down six or more boards in five of his last seven games. He has two double-doubles this season: the Michigan game and 19 points and 11 rebounds against Oakland (Nov. 25). Marcus ranks 16th in the Big 12 in rebounding with his 5.8 rpg and 15th in free throw percentage at .738. He has made his last 11-straight free throw attempts.

–Sophomore Markieff Morris had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds against La Salle (Dec. 12). He has pulled down six or more rebounds in four of his last six games. He also had a career-high four blocked shots against the Explorers. Two games earlier, Markieff had a career-high 19 points at UCLA (Dec. 6) on 8-of-11 shooting. He is shooting 69.8 percent from the field on the season and had made 15 consecutive shots at one point. Markieff ranks 18th in the Big 12 in rebounding at 5.7 rpg.

–Sophomore Tyshawn Taylor had 10 points against La Salle (Dec. 12) to mark his second double figure scoring game of the season. He has 17 assists in his last three games and five or more assists in four of his last five contests. Taylor has pulled down five rebounds in two of his last three games, including five against Michigan (Dec. 19). Taylor ranks 14th in the Big 12 in steals at 1.5, eighth in assists at 4.0 and ninth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.10.

–Junior Tyrel Reed, an Academic All-America candidate, has made 12 three pointers and 17 field goals on the season. He was 2-for-3 from the field, all threes, against Michigan scoring six points. He also tied his season high with three rebounds against the Wolverines. Reed is averaging 4.9 points per game.

–Junior Brady Morningstar made his season debut against Michigan playing 22 minutes with three assists and two points. A defensive stopper who started all but one game last season, Morningstar missed the first nine games of the season due to breaking team rules. Morningstar is a redshirt junior who is the oldest player in the Big 12 Conference at 23.

–Freshman Thomas Robinson had two blocked shots against Michigan to mark the fourth time this season he has had multiple blocked shots in a game. He has pulled down four or more rebounds in seven of 10 games, including seven against Radford (Dec. 9), 11 against Central Arkansas (Nov. 19) and 10 versus Alcorn State (Dec. 2). He recorded his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds against Alcorn State. For the season, he is scoring 5.1 points and pulling down 5.1 rebounds per game.

–Freshman Elijah Johnson has two starts this season and had a career-high 11 points in his starting debut against Radford (Dec. 9). Johnson had nine assists against Alcorn State (Dec. 2) in addition to four rebounds. He is third on the team with 24 assists.

–Freshman C.J. Henry had a career-high 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting against Radford (Dec. 9). Henry was 3-for-4 from three-point range versus RU with one blocked shot in 10 minutes. C.J. is 9-for-15 (60 percent) from the field this season, including 7-of-13 (53.8 percent) from three-point range.

Up Next

Following a brief holiday break, Kansas hosts Belmont Tuesday, Dec. 29 at 8 p.m. to close out the 2009 calendar year. The game will be televised on ESPNU. The Jayhawks will then play at Temple on Saturday, Jan. 2 at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN2.