Kansas Heads to West Virginia for ESPN Big Monday
Kansas Heads to West Virginia for ESPN Big Monday
No. 8/9 Kansas (21-4, 10-2) hits the road for an ESPN Big Monday contest at No. 21/20 West Virginia (19-6, 7-5) on Feb. 16, at 8 p.m. (Central). Kansas won its 21st game of the season for the 26th-consecutive year with a 74-64 victory against No. 16/16 Baylor on Valentine’s Day in Lawrence. West Virginia lost at No. 14/14 Iowa State, 79-59, on Feb. 14.
At 10-2 in Big 12 play, Kansas has a two-game lead in the 2015 conference race entering the West Virginia contest. Iowa State is second at 8-4, while Oklahoma (8-5) and West Virginia (7-5) are right behind the Cyclones.
No. 8/9 Kansas (21-4, 10-2), 10-time defending Big 12 regular-season champion, scores 72.2 points per game and has a +8.0 scoring margin. The Jayhawks have outrebounded seven of their last 11 opponents, average 38.6 boards per game and have a +5.1 rebound margin. KU leads the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 40.6 percent and averages 14.4 assists, 6.5 steals and 5.0 blocked shots per game.
After his 18 points against Baylor (2/14), stalwart junior F Perry Ellis leads Kansas with a 13.1 scoring average and 7.0 rebound average. He is the only player in the Big 12 to rank seventh or higher in scoring (tied for seventh) and rebounding (fourth). Eliis scored his 1,000th career point against Baylor becoming the 56th player in KU history to reach the plateau. Sophomore G Frank Mason III is next in scoring at 12.2 points per game, which is 11th in the Big 12. Mason has 28 assists in his last three games and is third in the league in assists at 4.4 and seventh in field goal percentage at 46.0. His 30 three-pointers made this season are third most on the team. Sophomore G Wayne Selden, Jr., has averaged 16.0 points in his last five games. Selden leads KU with 44 three-pointers made, scores 10.2 points per contest and is second on the team with 76 assists. Rounding out the KU starters are freshman G Kelly Oubre, Jr., and freshman F Cliff Alexander. Oubre has started 17 games this season, including the last 16 straight, and after his 18 points against Baylor (2/14) is averaging 9.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals in Big 12 play. He averages 8.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game overall in 2014-15. Oubre’s 26 steals are second on the team to Mason’s 34 thefts and Oubre has made 27 three-pointers. Alexander started his third game of the season against Baylor (2/14). He leads KU with 35 blocked shots and his 1.4 blocks per game are tied for seventh in the Big 12. Alexander scores 7.9 points per game and his 5.6 rebound average is 16th in the league.
Sophomore G Brannen Greene leads the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage in conference-games only at 56.8 percent. His 1.8 three-pointers made per conference contest are ninth in league-only games. For the season, Greene averages 6.4 points and is second on the team with 35 three-pointers made. Freshman G Devonte’ Graham has an impressive 31 assists to six turnovers in 11 league games played. Graham is scoring 4.7 points per game for the season and even though having missed seven games due to injury, is third on the team with 38 assists. Junior F Jamari Traylor has started 14 games this season, scores 4.5 points per contest and pulls down 3.7 rebounds. His 29 blocked shots are second on the team and his 1.2 blocks per game are 10th in the Big 12. Sophomore F Landen Lucas is coming off a career-high-tying nine points against Baylor (2/14) where he was 5-for-5 from the free throw line. He averages 2.7 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.
About West Virginia
Located in Morgantown, West Virginia, with an enrollment of 31,976, No. 21/20 West Virginia (19-6, 7-5) is looking to rebound from a 79-59 loss at No. 14/14 Iowa State on Feb. 14. The Mountaineers are coached by Bob Huggins who is 169-97 in his eighth season at WVU and 759-308 in his 33rd season overall. WVU averages 75.0 points and has a +9.2 scoring margin. The Mountaineers pull down 37.3 rebounds per game and have a +2.7 rebound margin. West Virginia leads the country in steals per game at 12.0 and in turnover margin at +8.4. WVU forces 21.3 turnovers per contest and 45.2 percent of its rebounds are on the offensive end. WVU also averages 14.3 assists and 3.1 blocked shots per game.
Senior G Juwan Staten, the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year, leads West Virginia in scoring at 14.3 points per game which is fifth in the Big 12. Staten is third in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.4 and leads WVU with 110 assists and 101 free throws made. Sophomore F Devin Williams leads the Mountaineers in rebounding at 8.3 boards per game, which is second in the conference. He scores 11.1 points per game. Junior F Jonathan Holton has a team-high 25 blocked shots and his 5.8 rebounds per game are second on the squad. Holton scores 8.2 points per contest and is second on the team with 34 steals. Rounding out the WVU starters are senior G Gary Browne and freshman G Daxter Miles, Jr. Browne scores 6.8 points per game, has 30 steals and his 22 three-pointers made are tied for third most on the team. Miles has also has 30 steals, has made 22 threes and scores 6.1 points per game.
Freshman G Jevon Carter leads West Virginia with 48 steals and 31 three-pointers made. He scores 8.1 points per game and is second on the team with 44 assists. Junior G Jaysean Paige averages 6.2 points per game and has 27 steals. His 26 threes are second on the WVU team this season. Other WVU regulars include redshirt freshman F Elijah Macon (4.6 ppg), sophomore G Tarik Phillip (4.0 ppg, 32 steals) and sophomore F Nathan Adrian (3.1 ppg, 26 steals).
Kansas and West Virginia are meeting for only the fifth time in men’s basketball with the Jayhawks owning a 3-1 series advantage. West Virginia won the last meeting, 92-86, on March 8, 2014, in Morgantown. KU won the first three meetings: 61-56 on Jan. 28, 2013, in Morgantown; 91-56 on March 2, 2013, in Allen Fieldhouse and 83-69 on Feb. 8, 2014, in Allen Fieldhouse. KU head coach Bill Self is 3-1 against West Virginia, while WVU’s Bob Huggins is 1-7 all-time versus Kansas (1-3 while at WVU).
- The NCAA is listing statistics and Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) on a regular basis. Through games as of Feb. 12, Kansas is No. 1 nationally in the RPI and No. 1 nationally in the toughest schedule.
- KU’s bench has outscored its opponent’s bench in eight of the last nine games and is 202-73 for a 22.4 to 8.1 average in that span.
- Kansas leads the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 40.6 percent. The Jayhawks also rank in the upper half of the conference in scoring offense (fourth at 72.2), free throw percentage (fourth at 70.8), three-point field goal percentage defense (third at 31.7), assists (third at 14.4), rebounding (third at 38.6), rebound margin (third at +5.1), blocked shots (fifth at 5.0), steals (fifth at 6.5), assist-to-turnover ratio (third at 1.2) and three-point field goals made (second at 6.9).
- Despite a 6-for-18 effort against Baylor (2/14), Kansas is 27-for-58 (46.5 percent) from three-point range in its last three games. The Jayhawks have made 10 or more threes in three of its last four contests and seven times this season with five of those in Big 12 play.
- Kansas has outrebounded 17 of 25 opponents this season, compiling a 16-1 record in those contests. Seven of those games have been by double figures, including two in Big 12 play.
- KU’s 22 assists against Iowa State (2/2) were two shy of its season high. Kansas has four games of 22 or more assists this season with two in Big 12 play.
- Junior F Perry Ellis went 7-for-11 (63.6 percent) from the field against Baylor (2/14). He has shot 50 percent or better in six Big 12 games this season with three contests at 63 percent or better. Ellis’ 18 points against Baylor were his second most in Big 12 play this season. His six double-doubles in 2014-15 are third in the Big 12 and he is the only player in the conference to rank in the top seven in scoring (tied for seventh at 13.1 ppg) and rebounding (fourth at 7.0 rpg).
- Despite going 1-for-4 from three-point range against Baylor (2/14), sophomore G Wayne Selden Jr., is 17-for-29 (58.6 percent) from beyond the arc in his last five games and has averaged 3.4 made in the span. Selden’s 13 games of multiple threes are best on the KU team this season. Selden is averaging 16.0 points in his last five games and 10.2 for the season.
- Sophomore G Frank Mason III has eight assists in each of his last two games and three of his last four contests. In his last four outings, Mason has 28 assists and seven turnovers.
- Mason has multiple steals in three of his last four games and nine games this season. He has nine steals in his last five contests.
- Mason has scored 16 or more points five times in 2014-15, including three against Big 12 foes. He has scored in double figures in 21 KU’s last 22 contests.
- Sophomore G Brannen Greene is 18-for-29 (62.1 percent) from three-point range in his last eight games and leads the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage in conference games at 56.8 percent.
- Greene has nine games of 10 or more points this season with seven of those against Big 12 teams.
- Freshman F Cliff Alexander is 38-for-59 (64.4 percent) from the field in Big 12 play with 18 blocked shots. Alexander has at least one blocked shot in 15 of his last 16 games, including a career-high-tying four at Texas Tech (2/10).
- Freshman G Devonte’ Graham has 31 assists and six turnovers over the last 11 games. Graham has at least one steal in five of his last seven games.
- After his 4-for-6 effort against Baylor (2/14), freshman G Kelly Oubre, Jr. has made multiple three-pointers in three of his last four games and eight times this season. Five of those have been against Big 12 competition. The Jayhawks are 8-0 when Oubre connects on two or more three-pointers this season.
- Oubre has pulled down nine or more boards four times this season with two in league play. A two-time Big 12 Newcomer of the Week, Oubre has scored in double figures nine times this season, including six in Big 12 play.
- Sophomore F Landen Lucas tied his career high with nine points against Baylor (2/14). He also scored nine points against Rider (11/24) earlier this season. Lucas is 3-for-4 from the field and 6-for-7 from the line in his last two games.
- Six Big 12 teams are ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 (Feb. 9) which is more than any other conference. Nine of the 10 Big 12 teams have been ranked at one point during the 2014-15 season.
- At 104-22 (82.5 percent), the Big 12 is the only league nationally to have an 80 percent or better winning percentage against non-conference foes.
Kansas on ESPN Big Monday
For the ninth-straight season, the Kansas men’s basketball team will make four appearances on ESPN’s Big Monday in 2014-15 with the West Virginia contest being the third of four this season. Since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996-97, Kansas is 54-17 all-time on ESPN’s Big Monday (31-1 at home, 23-16 on the road), including 35-9 under head coach Bill Self. Additionally, KU has won 24-straight ESPN Big Monday games in Allen Fieldhouse, which includes a 20-0 mark under Self. KU is 2-0 on ESPN Big Monday in 2014-15.
Kansas leads the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 40.6 percent. Historically, Kansas has shot 40 percent or better from three-point range five times with the single-season record being 43.3 percent in 1989-90 (41.6 in 1988-89, 40.8 in 1992-93, 41.8 in 2001-02 and 40.4 in 2009-10). In the Bill Self era, the 2014-15 Jayhawks are on pace to have their best three-point shooting season surpassing the 40.4 percent in 2009-10.
From the Line
Kansas enters the West Virginia game making 70.8 percent of its free throws in 2014-15. In the Bill Self era, the Jayhawks have made 70 percent or better from the charity stripe each of the last two seasons and five times in the previous 11 years. In 2012-13, KU set the single-season free throw percentage record at 73.7 percent.
It’s all about that Bench
Kansas’ bench in 2014-15 has outscored its opponents bench in eight of the last nine games and 17 times this season. Through 25 games, Kansas’ bench is scoring 23.6 points per game while its opponent averages 14.3 points per contest. In the Bill Self’s 12 seasons at Kansas, the 2014-15 Jayhawks currently rank second behind the 2010-11 team’s 24.4 bench scoring average. KU’s +9.3 bench scoring differential is tops in the Self era with the 2007-08 NCAA National Championship team second at +8.4.
In the Polls
In the Feb. 9 national polls, Kansas remained the same from the Feb. 2 ratings at No. 8 in the Associated Press and No. 9 in the USA Today Coaches’ polls. This season, the Jayhawks have been ranked in the top 10 in the AP and coaches’ poll nine and eight weeks, respectively. The Jayhawks have been ranked in each of the last 118 Associated Press polls dating back to the 2008-09 season, including in the top five 50 times. In the coaches’ poll, the Jayhawks have been ranked in each of the past 124 polls and in the top five on 54 occasions.
Versus Ranked Teams
With its 74-64 win against No. 16 Baylor on Feb. 14, Kansas is 61-31 against Associated Press-ranked teams, including 7-2 in 2014-15. In each of the last five seasons, the Jayhawks have a winning record versus ranked foes, including a 7-3 mark in 2013-14. Since the 2009-10 season, KU is 39-14 against AP ranked teams.
Ellis Eclipses 1,000 Career Points
Junior F Perry Ellis scored his 1,000th career point against Baylor (2/14). He became the 56th Jayhawk to accomplish the feat and the 11th in the Bill Self era. At 1,015 all-time points, Ellis is already No. 54 on the KU all-time scoring list.
On Jan. 29, Kansas Athletics and adidas released the Heritage Classic uniform the Jayhawks will wear during their matchup against the Texas Longhorns on Feb. 28. Inspired by the Jayhawks’ 1988 National Championship uniform, the Heritage Classic uniform pays homage to the successful history of Kansas basketball. Featuring the best of the past and present, the new uniform is made with the same lightweight Revolution 30 technology used in the NBA and showcases throwback letters, numbering and logos inspired by the 1988 uniform.
KU Not Being Swept
In regular-season play, Kansas has not been beaten twice by the same Big 12 opponent in the Bill Self era. When including the Big 12 Championship, Kansas has been beaten by the same conference opponent twice in a season only once (67-82 at Texas, 2/23/04; 60-64 vs. Texas, 3/13/04) in Self’s 12 years. Note: Kansas has yet to play West Virginia in 2014-15.
Kansas will host TCU on Saturday, Feb. 21, at 3 p.m., on ESPN2. KU will then play its final of four ESPN Big Monday appearances in 2015 when it travels to Kansas State on Feb. 23 at 8 p.m. The Jayhawks return home to host Texas on Feb. 28.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.