#15/18 Kansas to Host #9/8 Oklahoma State Saturday in Men's Hoops
KANSAS COMES HOME
No. 15/18 Kansas (12-4, 3-0) faces its third of four-straight ranked opponents when the Jayhawks host No. 9/8 Oklahoma State (15-2, 3-1) Saturday at 3 p.m. on CBS. Kansas is coming off a 77-70 win at No. 8/10 Iowa State on ESPN Big Monday to remain the only undefeated team in Big 12 play this season. Oklahoma State is 15-2 on the season after its 82-50 win against TCU on Jan. 15 in Stillwater, Okla. Kansas and Oklahoma State were co-preseason favorites to win the 2014 Big 12 regular-season championship in a vote by the conference coaches.
Kansas is facing back-to-back top-10 teams for the first time since it defeated then-No. 7 Ohio State, 64-62, and lost to then-No. 1 Kentucky , 67-59, in the 2012 Final Four in New Orleans. The last time KU defeated back-to-back top-10 teams was when the Jayhawks beat then-No. 4 North Carolina, 80-67, in St. Louis to advance to the 2012 Final Four. The previous stretch KU played back-to-back top-10 teams in the regular-season was also in 2011-12 when the Jayhawks lost at then-No. 3 Missouri, 74-71, on Feb. 4, 2012, and then defeated then-No. 6 Baylor, 68-54, on Feb. 8 in Waco, Texas.
Kansas averages 78.9 points per game and has a +10.2 scoring margin. The Jayhawks have outrebounded 14 of 16 opponents, including all three conference contests, and hold a +7.6 rebound margin. Kansas leads the Big 12 Conference with a 50.0 field goal percentage and has shot 50 percent or better in five of its last seven games. Kansas is second in the Big 12 in assists at 15.9 dimes per game and in blocked shots with a 6.3 per game average. KU has outshot 14 of its 16 opponents in 2013-14. KU’s bench has outscored 10 opponents this season and averages 22.7 points per contest.
Following a 17-point, 19-rebound effort at Iowa State, freshman G Andrew Wiggins leads Kansas with a 15.8 scoring average, which also leads the Big 12 freshman class and is ninth overall in the conference. Wiggins is 40-of-47 (85.1 percent) from the free throw line in his last eight games. He has made 18 threes this season and leads KU with 16 steals while his 6.3 rebound average is third on the team and 15th in the league. Sophomore F Perry Ellis is next in scoring at 13.3 points per game. He is second in the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 55.5 percent and has five 20-point games in 2013-14. Ellis’ 6.7 rebound average is second on the team and 12th in the Big 12. Freshman C Joel Embiid has a team-high 41 blocked shots, including five at Iowa State (1/13). His 2.6 blocked shots per game rank second in the conference. Embiid is second on the team with 15 steals, while his 7.4 rebounds per game are a team best and tied for sixth in the conference. Shooting 67.7 percent from the field, Embiid averages 10.9 points per game and has two double-doubles in his last five outings. Freshman G Wayne Selden Jr. is Kansas’ leading scorer in Big 12 play at 17.0 ppg which includes two 20-point efforts – a career-high 24 points at Oklahoma (1/8) and 20 points versus Kansas State (1/11). Selden is scoring 10.1 points per game overalland his 21 three pointers made are tied for the team lead with junior G Naadir Tharpe. Tharpe is coming off a career-high 23 points at Iowa State and has a 9.0 scoring average on the season. His 5.3 assists per game are third in the league and his 2.6 assist-to-turnover ratio is fourth in the league.
Freshman G Frank Mason averages 6.8 points per game and is second on the team with 40 assists. Sophomore F Jamari Traylor leads KU with a 69.0 field goal percentage (20-for-29) and is averaging 3.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per contest. Other contributors off the bench include senior F Tarik Black (3.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg) and freshman G Conner Frankamp (1.9 ppg).
ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE
Located in Stillwater, Okla., with an enrollment of 36,097, Oklahoma State is 15-2 (3-1) on the season after its 82-50 win versus TCU on Jan. 15. The Cowboys are coached by Travis Ford who is 119-66 in his sixth season at OSU and 309-212 in his 17th season overall. OSU averages 84.8 points and has a Big 12-leading +20.2 scoring margin. The Cowboys pull down 38.0 rebounds per contest and have a +1.8 rebound margin. Oklahoma State leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense at 37.6 percent, steals at 8.1 and is second in turnover margin at +4.2.
OSU is led by sophomore G Marcus Smart who averages 17.9 points per game, which is first in the Big 12. Smart also leads the league with 2.6 steals per game and has a team-high 71 assists. His 5.5 rebounds per contest are third best on the team. Senior G Markel Brown is next in scoring at 16.6 points per game, which is seventh in the Big 12, and he is second on the team with 50 assists. He averages 5.2 rebounds per outing and is second on the team with 21 blocked shots. Junior G/F Le’Bryan Nash averages 13.5 points per game and his 5.9 rebound average is tied for the best on the team with sophomore F Kamari Murphy. Murphy leads OSU with 23 blocked shots and scores 5.9 points per game. Junior G/F Brian Williams (8.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 21 steals) rounds out the OSU starters.
Sophomore G Phil Forte has made a team-best 46 three-pointers and his 47.9 percent from beyond the arc lead the Big 12. Forte scores 12.0 points per game. Freshman G Stevie Clark (6.0 ppg, 40 assists) is another key OSU contributor.
The Kansas-Oklahoma State series dates back to 1926 with KU holding a 107-54 all-time advantage. KU has won five of the last six meetings and the series is 7-3 in favor of KU in the last 10 matchups. Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas is 18-7 versus OSU: 14-5 in regular-season play and 4-2 in the Big 12 Championship. The Jayhawks are 58-11 against the Cowboys in games played in Lawrence, including a 43-9 record in Allen Fieldhouse. Last season OSU ended KU’s 33-game home-court winning streak with an 85-80 win in Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas head coach Bill Self is 11-8 all-time against his alma mater, including a 10-5 record while at Kansas, while Travis Ford is 2-6 versus KU. Kansas current players career stats versus Oklahoma State are on page 39 of the game notes.
- Kansas held Iowa State (1/13) to a season-low 16 percent three-point field goal percentage (4-for-25). After stifling Kansas State (1/11) to 9.1 percent (1-for-11), the Jayhawks have now held opponents to under 20 percent three-point performances in back-to-back nights for the first time since Oklahoma State shot 19 percent (2/20/13) and Texas shot 9.5 percent (2/16/13).
- Kansas is 9-1 when shooting 50 percent or better in the game.
- In 10 of KU’s 12 victories, the Jayhawks have scored at least 80 points.
- Kansas has outrebounded 14 of its 16 opponents this season. KU has eight games with a +10 rebound advantage and its +17 at Iowa State (1/13) was a season best. KU has a +10 rebound advantage in five of its last eight contests.
- KU has held all but one opponent (Duke, 51.7) under 50 percent shooting this season, while the Jayhawks have shot 50 percent or better in 10 games, including five of their last seven contests and six of the last nine outings.
- After shooting 7-for-10 against Kansas State, freshman G Wayne Selden, Jr. has shot 50 percent or better in six of his last 10 games and is 13-for-26 (50.0 percent) from three-point range in his last six games. Selden’s nine threes in the last three games are more than any other KU player in a three-game span this season.
- After his 7-for-8 effort at Iowa State (1/13), freshman C Joel Embiid is 31-for-43 (72.1 percent) from the field in his last seven games with 13.4 ppg and 8.6 rpg averages in that span. Embiid has 32 blocked shots in his last 10 games.
- Junior G Naadir Tharpe has topped the team in assists 11 times, including seven of each of the last eight games (which includes ties). Tharpe has 21 assists and five turnovers in his last four games.
- After his 19 rebounds at Iowa State (1/13), freshman G Andrew Wiggins has now led Kansas in rebounds three times this season. He leads the Big 12 freshman class in scoring (15.8 ppg) and field goal percentage (44.6).
- Sophomore F Perry Ellis has shot 60 percent or better in nine games this season and the Jayhawks are 9-0 in those contests.
- Sophomore F Jamari Traylor is 14-for-18 (77.8 percent) from the field in his last nine games. He had five rebounds at Iowa State (1/13) and has pulled down five or more rebounds in six games this season.
KANSAS VS. RANKED FOES UNDER BILL SELF
No. 9/8 Oklahoma State will be the sixth ranked team Kansas has faced in 2013-14. The Jayhawks are 3-2 against ranked foes this season having defeated then-No. 4 Duke, 94-83, in the State Farm Champions Classic on Nov. 12 at the United Center in Chicago, lost at then-No. 19 Florida, 67-61 on Dec. 10, lost to then-No. 21 San Diego State, 61-57 on Jan. 5, defeated then-No. 25 Kansas State 86-60 on Jan. 11 and won at No. 8/9 Iowa State, 77-70 on Jan. 13. Kansas has played 79 games against Associated Press-ranked opponents in the 10-plus seasons under head coach Bill Self. Last year, Kansas went 5-2 against ranked foes. Under Self, KU is 51-28 (64.6 percent) against ranked competition. That percentage has an upward trend since the 2007-08 season as the Jayhawks are 41-18 (68.5 percent) versus ranked foes.
WHO SCHEDULED THIS
In the latest RPI released by the NCAA, Kansas is No. 2 behind Wisconsin. The Jayhawks have the No. 1 strength of schedule and have faced, or will face, five teams currently ranked in the Associated Press top 10 – No. 6 Villanova, No. 7 Florida, No. 8 Iowa State, No. 9 Oklahoma State and No. 10 San Diego State – and eight in the top 25 – No. 21. Colorado, No. 23 Duke and No. 25 Oklahoma. Note: Kansas State was No. 25 when KU defeated the Wildcats.
GET TO THE LINE
In Big 12 play, Kansas is shooting 73.5 percent from the free throw line compared to 68.8 percent for the season. Junior G Naadir Tharpe is 13-for-15 (86.7 percent) in conference play from the charity stripe. For the season, with a team-high 94 attempts from the charity stripe, freshman G Andrew Wiggins has the official team lead with a 75.5 free throw shooting mark (71-for-94). As of late, the rookie Jayhawk has further upped his clutch status at the line, making 40 of his last 47 free throws (85.1 percent).
IN THE POLLS
Kansas is ranked No. 15 by the Associated Press and No. 18 in the USA Today Coaches’ poll released Jan. 13. In the Bill Self era, this is the 161st week Kansas has been ranked in the AP top 25, which includes 112 times in the top 10. KU has been ranked in each of the last 95 polls dating back to the 2008-09 season. In the coaches’ poll, Kansas has been ranked 188 times, including 137 in the top 10 in the Self era. KU has been listed in each of the last 99 coaches’ polls.
Kansas will host No. 12/13 Baylor on ESPN Big Monday, Jan. 20, at 8 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse. KU will play at TCU on Saturday, Jan. 25, at 8 p.m. on ESPNU. The Jayhawks will then host Iowa State on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 8 p.m. on ESPNU.