No. 8 Kansas Hits Road to Texas Tech Tuesday in Men's Basketball
JAYHAWKS TO FACE TEXAS TECH IN LUBBOCK
With a one-game lead the Big 12 standings, No. 8/8 Kansas (19-6, 10-2) will travel to Texas Tech (13-12, 5-7) on Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. on the Big 12 Network. KU is coming off a 95-65 win against TCU Saturday, its 112th-straight win versus a non-ranked opponent in Allen Fieldhouse. KU maintained its one-game lead over Texas (20-5, 9-3) in the league standings. Texas Tech had its three-game winning streak snapped with a 70-64 loss at No. 11/14 Iowa State Saturday.
This game pits two of the 11 active NCAA Division I coaches who have won an NCAA title against each other. Kansas coach Bill Self won the 2008 national championship with the Jayhawks while Texas Tech’s Tubby Smith won the 1998 crown while at Kentucky. This is Self’s fourth meeting against a national championship coach this season. KU defeated Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke team, 94-83, on Nov. 12 in the Champions Classic in Chicago, lost to Billy Donovan’s Florida squad 67-61 on Dec. 10 in Gainseville and lost to Steve Fisher’s San Diego State team, 61-57, on Jan. 5 in Allen Fieldhouse.
After scoring a season-high 95 points against TCU (2/15), its sixth 90-point effort of the season, Kansas averages 80.1 points per game and has a +10.2 scoring margin. KU has outrebounded 21 of 25 opponents, including 10 of 12 Big 12 foes, and holds a +7.7 rebound margin. KU boasts an NCAA-best 50.4 field goal percentage and has shot 50 percent or better in six of its last nine games after its season-best 61.5 percent against TCU (2/15). In all, KU has outshot 21 of its 25 opponents in 2013-14. KU also ranks in the top four in the Big 12 in scoring offense (fourth, 80.1), scoring margin (third, +10.2), rebound margin (third, +7.7), assists (second, 16.1) and blocked shots (second, 5.8).
Freshman G Andrew Wiggins leads Kansas with a 16.1 scoring average, the best among Big 12 freshmen and ninth overall in the conference. He has made 30 threes this season and is the team leader with 26 steals. Wiggins’ 5.8 rebound average is third on the team and 19th in the conference. Sophomore F Perry Ellis is coming off a career-high 32 points on 13-of-15 shooting against TCU (2/15), which followed a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds at Kansas State (2/10). He is second in scoring for KU at 14.0 points per game, good for 15th in the league. His 6.9 rebound average is second on the team (10th in the Big 12) and he leads the league with a 55.3 field goal percentage. Freshman C Joel Embiid, who missed the TCU contest due to nagging injuries, has a team-high 61 blocked shots, which ranks second on the all-time KU freshman blocks list. A two-time Big 12 Newcomer of the Week and the Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Week (1/21), Embiid’s 2.5 blocked shots per game average is second in the conference. Embiid is third on the team with 18 steals, while his 7.8 rebounds per game are a team best, lead the Big 12 freshman class and rank sixth overall in the conference. Embiid is shooting 61.2 percent from the field, which would lead the Big 12 had he made 5.0 per game. He is averaging 10.7 points per game and has six double-doubles on the season. Freshman G Wayne Selden, Jr., scored 15 points against TCU (2/15) and has three 20-point scoring games this season, all in league play. He is scoring 10.4 ppg in all games and his 31 three-pointers are second on the team, as are his 66 assists. Junior G Naadir Tharpe had his second career double-double with 13 points and 10 assists at Kansas State (2/10). Tharpe earned Big 12 and Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week accolades (1/21) and is scoring 9.0 ppg. His 5.3 assists rank third in the Big 12 and his 2.8 assist-to-turnover ratio is also third. Tharpe has made a team-best 35 three-pointers this season.
Freshman G Frank Mason averages 6.0 points per game and is third on the team with 59 assists. Sophomore F Jamari Traylor leads KU with a 73.6 field goal percentage after his 5-for-6 shooting for a career-high 10 points and eight rebounds versus TCU (2/15). Traylor is averaging 4.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per contest. Other contributors off the bench include senior F Tarik Black (4.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg), freshman G Brannen Greene (2.7 ppg), freshman G Conner Frankamp (2.1 ppg) and redshirt freshman F Landen Lucas (1.8 ppg). Black started for Embiid against TCU (2/15). It was his ninth start of 2013-14.
ABOUT TEXAS TECH
Located in Lubbock, Texas, with an enrollment of 32,611, Texas Tech is 13-12 on the season and 5-7 in Big 12 play which is seventh in the 10-team conference. The Red Raiders are coached by Tubby Smith who is 13-12 in his first season at Texas Tech and 524-238 in his 23rd season overall. TTU is 10-4 at home this season, including 3-3 against Big 12 foes in United Spirit Arena. Tech scores 71.3 points per game, is second in the Big 12 in scoring defense at 68.3 and has a +3.0 scoring margin. The Red Raiders lead the conference in rebounding defense at 29.6 and have a +4.0 rebound margin. They also lead the league in free throw percentage at 74.7 percent.
Senior F Jaye Crockett leads the team in scoring with 14.8 points per game, which is 14th in the Big 12. His 6.7 rebound average is a team best and 11th in the conference. His 53.8 field goal percentage is fourth in the league and his 84.3 free throw percentage is also fourth in the Big 12. Junior F Jordan Tolbert is next in scoring at 10.8 points per game and he is shooting a team-best 56.2 percent from the field. His 5.9 rebounds per game are second on the team, 18th in the league, and his 22 blocked shots are also second for the Red Raiders. Junior G Robert Turner scores 9.7 points per game and has a team-high 69 assists and 34 steals. Turner’s 19 three-pointers are third most on the team. Rounding out the TTU starters are sophomore G Toddrick Gotcher (7.7 ppg, 48 assists) and senior F Dejan Kravic (6.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, team-best 30 blocked shots). Sophomore G Dusty Hannahs has made a team-high 37 three-pointers this season and his 91.2 free throw percentage is also a team best. Hannah scores 7.7 points per game and his 48 assists are second on the squad. Other TTU contributors include freshman G Randy Onwuasor (3.4 ppg, 32 assists), senior G Jamal Williams, Jr. (2.6 ppg) and freshman F Alex Foster (1.8 ppg).
Kansas leads the overall series with Texas Tech 25-4 as the Jayhawks have won five straight and seven of the last eight meetings. Last year, KU defeated TTU three times, including 91-63 in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championship in Kansas City, Mo., en route to the title. Kansas is 9-4 against Texas Tech in games played in Lubbock, including a 5-3 mark inside United Spirit Arena. KU has won the last two meetings in the venue after losing the previous three. Since the inception of the Big 12 Conference in 1997, Kansas is 18-4 against Texas Tech, 15-4 in regular-season match-ups and 3-0 in conference championship meetings. The first meeting between the two schools took place in Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 7, 1959, a KU 85-71 victory. Kansas head coach Bill Self is 12-6 all-time against Texas Tech, including 11-3 while at Kansas. Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith is 2-3 versus Kansas.
- After scoring a season-high 95 points against TCU (2/15), Kansas has six games of 90 or more points this season including four in Big 12 play.
- In 15 of KU’s 19 victories, the Jayhawks have scored at least 80 points, including eight Big 12 games. The Jayhawks are 15-1 when scoring 80 points or more in 2013-14.
- Kansas is 15-1 when shooting 50 percent or better in the game and has eclipsed the 50 percent field goal percentage in six of its last nine games and eight of 12 Big 12 games. KU’s 61.5 percent versus TCU (2/15) was a season best.
- KU has outrebounded 21 of its 25 opponents this season, including 10 of 12 Big 12 contests. KU has 12 games with a +10 rebound advantage. Kansas’ +17 margin versus TCU (2/15) tied the season best at Iowa State (1/13).
- Kansas is 17-0 when leading at half this season, including 9-0 in Big 12 play.
- KU has held all but one opponent (Duke, 51.7) under 50 percent shooting this season.
- Sophomore F Perry Ellis was 13-for-15 (86.7 percent) in scoring a career-high 32 points against TCU (2/15). Ellis has shot 60 percent or better in 12 games this season, including four conference contests. The Jayhawks are 12-0 when Ellis shoots 60 percent or better this season.
- Ellis recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 19 points and 11 rebounds at Kansas State (2/10). Three of his four DDs have been against Big 12 foes with all three on the road.
- Freshman G Andrew Wiggins was 7-for-11 (63.6 percent) against TCU (2/15) which tied his best shooting performance of the season (7-11 at Colorado on 12/7). Wiggins has averaged 18.4 points in his last seven contests. His 16.1 scoring average for the season would break the KU freshman record. Wiggins has seven games of 20-plus points, including three in Big 12 play.
- Freshman G Wayne Selden, Jr., scored 15 points on 7-of-13 (53.8 percent) shooting with a career-high three steals against TCU (2/15). Selden has shot 50 percent or better in two of his last three games and five of his last seven. He has three 20-point efforts this season, all against Big 12 competition.
- Junior G Naadir Tharpe has scored in double figures in two of his last four games, six league games and nine times this season. Tharpe had his second career double-double, both in league competition, with 13 points and 10 assists at Kansas State (2/10). He has three games with 10 or more assists this season.
- Tharpe is third in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage in conference games at 44.2 percent and three of his four 20-point scoring games in 2013-14 came against Big 12 opponents.
- Freshman C Joel Embiid pulled down 12 rebounds against West Virginia (2/8) and has 46 boards in his last five games for a 9.2 average. Embiid has seven games of 10-plus rebounds this season, including four in Big 12 play.
- Embiid has 61 blocks this year with at least one in each of his last 18 games played.
- Senior F Tarik Black is averaging 4.3 points and 2.9 rebounds for the season but has a 8.7 ppg and 4.0 rpg in his last three games. Black scored seven points in nine minutes against TCU (2/15). He is 21-for-30 (70.0 percent) from the field in his last nine games played.
- Sophomore F Jamari Traylor has missed only seven shots in 12 conference games. He scored a career-high 10 points versus TCU (2/15) on a 5-of-6 shooting effort, making him 24-of-31 in Big 12 games this season for a 77.4 shooting percentage.
- Freshman G Conner Frankamp’s six points at Kansas State (2/10) were a season high as were his two three pointers made. Frankamp has made at least one three-pointer in each of his last three games played.
- Freshman G Brannen Greene’s 10 points at Kansas State (2/10) were a season high as were his three field goals, four free throws, five rebounds and three steals.
BIG 12 IMPROVEMENT
One of the many signs of Kansas’ rugged non-conference schedule is how KU’s statistics in Big 12 play have improved. The Jayhawks have enhanced 10 statistical categories through 12 league games compared to 25 overall contests. Kansas has not improved in blocked shots – 5.8 overall, 5.3 in league games – yet the Jayhawks’ 5.3 bpg in Big 12 play are tied for the league lead with Baylor.
Conference Improvement (*leads the Big 12)
Big 12 Overall
Points Per Game 82.7* 80.1
Scoring Margin +10.9* +10.2
FG Percentage 51.7* 50.4*
3FG Average 6.0 5.5
3FG Percentage 38.1* 35.4
FT Percentage 71.3 69.5
Rebound Average 38.6 38.5
Opp Rebound Avg. 29.3 30.8
Rebound Margin +9.3* +7.7
Assists 16.4 16.1
AFTER ONLY ONE SEASON
Last season, Ben McLemore broke the Kansas freshman scoring record, which was held for 28 years by KU legend Danny Manning set in 1985. Manning scored 496 points, while McLemore became the first freshman in school history to surpass the 500 point barrier with 596 in 2012-13. This season, KU freshman G Andrew Wiggins’ 16.1 points per game is just ahead of McLemore’s KU frosh-record average of 15.9 ppg and Wiggins’ 402 points rank seventh on the KU freshman list. With his 17 points versus TCU (2/15), Wiggins passed Darnell Valentine’s 392 set in 1978. Wiggins already owns the KU freshman record for free throw attempts (157) and his 118 free throws made are two shy of the school mark.
EMBIID ON CUSP OF KU FROSH RECORDS AS WELL
Freshman C Joel Embiid is a single block shy of tying the Kansas record for blocks in a freshman season. Former Kansas basketball great Eric Chenowith’s 62 blocks has held down the record since 1998, although he didn’t set it as consistently as Embiid’s pace. The seven-footer has swatted at least one shot in 18-consecutive games heading into Tuesday’s matchup at Texas Tech. Chenowith’s longest streak stopped at five-straight.
Embiid’s 7.8 rebound average in 2013-14 is just ahead of Danny Manning’s KU freshman record of 7.6 set in 1985. Embiid’s 186 boards rank ninth on the KU freshman list. Also if maintained, Embiid’s 61.2 field goal percentage would set the KU freshman record (59.5 by Jeff Gueldner in 1987) and rank eighth on KU’s overall single-season list.
NOT BAD COMPANY
Kansas head coach Bill Self is one of 11 active coaches in NCAA Division I to have won an NCAA National Championship. In 2013-14, Kansas has faced three of those coaches – Mike Krzyzewski (Duke), Billy Donovan (Florida) and Steve Fisher (San Diego State) – and will face Tubby Smith (Texas Tech) Tuesday (2/18). The other national championship coaches are Jim Boeheim (Syracuse), Larry Brown (SMU), John Calipari (Kentucky), Tom Izzo (Michigan State), Rick Pitino (Louisville) and Roy Williams (North Carolina).
Kansas will host Texas on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 6:30 p.m. on ESPNU and Oklahoma in its fourth ESPN Big Monday appearance of 2013-14 on Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. KU will travel to Oklahoma State on March 1 at 8 p.m. on ESPN. ESPN College Gameday will originate from Stillwater that day.
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