🏀 Kansas Hosts No. 25 West Virginia Saturday for Big 12 Opener
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas Jayhawks are set to begin Big 12 Conference play on Saturday, Dec. 30, when they host No. 25 West Virginia at Allen Fieldhouse.
Tipoff is set for 12:00 p.m. CT and the game will be televised on Big 12 NOW on ESPN+ with Josh Klingler (play-by-play) and Jill Dorsey-Hall (analyst) on the call. Fans can also listen to the game on the Jayhawk Radio Network from Learfield, with Steven Davis and David Lawrence calling the action.
Kansas concluded a challenging non-conference slate on Dec. 20 with a 69-52 victory over Nebraska. KU improved to 7-4 on the year with the victory and the Jayhawks enter league play riding a four-game winning streak. KU is 5-0 at Allen Fieldhouse this season and winners of 13-straight home games, which is tied for the longest active home winning streak in the Big 12 with Texas Tech.
West Virginia will be the third nationally ranked team that Kansas has faced this season, as the Mountaineers come to Lawrence with an 11-0 record and No. 25 ranking in the latest Associated Press Top 25. The Jayhawks are 0-2 against ranked teams this season, falling 59-58 vs. No. 9 Virginia Tech and 71-63 vs. No. 6 UConn at the Cayman Islands Classic.
Kansas has won its Big 12 Conference opener in two of the past three seasons, including an 80-65 victory at Oklahoma State to start league play in 2022-23. The Jayhawks are 8-19 all-time in Big 12 Conference openers and will be playing a ranked team to open league play for the sixth time in nine seasons under head coach Brandon Schneider.
Kansas and West Virginia have met 24 times in series history, with WVU holding a 17-7 advantage. Since WVU joined the Big 12 in 2012-13, the two teams have played a home-and-home conference series. Saturday’s conference opener will be the only regular season meeting for Kansas and WVU this season. KU has won three of the last four matchups against West Virginia, including its first season sweep of the Mountaineers in 2021-22. The Jayhawks have defeated WVU at Allen Fieldhouse in each of the past two seasons.
Four of KU’s five starters scored in double figures in the win over Nebraska on Dec. 20, led by Zakiyah Franklin with 16 points and S’Mya Nichols with 13. Taiyanna Jackson and Wyvette Mayberry added 12 points apiece, with Jackson adding nine rebounds to finish just shy of a double-double.
All five starters are averaging 10.0 points per game or higher this season, with Nichols leading the way at 14.0 ppg. The freshman from Overland Park, Kansas, has scored 10 or more points nine times this season, including in each of the last four games. After scoring 20+ points in consecutive games against Houston Christian and Wichita State, Nichols was named the Big 12 Freshman of the Week on Dec. 11, becoming the first Jayhawk to claim the award in three seasons.
Jackson filled the stat sheet with 12 points, nine rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals against Nebraska, her fifth-straight game with multiple blocks. Jackson is averaging 2.6 blocks per game and ranks second in school history with 230 for her career. She also pulled down her 800th career rebound against Nebraska and needs 23 to enter the Top 10 in school history.
Franklin has scored 10 or more points in eight-straight games, most recently totaling a team-high 16 in KU’s win over Nebraska. With 1,661 career points, Franklin is 10th in school history for scoring. Earlier this season, she became the school-record holder for minutes played and with her next action she will play her 133rd career game, which is third-most in program history.
Single-game tickets for Big 12 Conference games are on-sale now, with tickets ranging from $8-$15. To purchase today, visit KUAthletics.com or call 800-34-HAWKS.
Kansas opens the 2024 calendar year with a road trip to Ames, Iowa to face Iowa State on Wednesday, Jan. 3. Tipoff from Hilton Coliseum is set for 6:30 p.m. CT and the game will be broadcast on Big 12 NOW on ESPN+.