No. 8/8 Kansas to Conclude Regular Season at West Virginia Saturday
Big 12 regular-season champion Kansas (23-7, 14-3) travels to West Virginia (16-14, 8-9) Saturday, March 8, at 11 a.m. (Central) on ESPN. KU is coming off of an 82-57 win against Texas Tech on Wednesday, March 5, in Senior Night at Allen Fieldhouse. The victory was KU’s 31st-straight home season finale win, which began in 1984. West Virginia is looking to rebound from a 72-62 loss at Oklahoma Wednesday.
No. 8/8 Kansas won the Big 12 Conference regular-season outright on Saturday, March 1. The title was KU’s mindboggling 10th-straight, 14th Big 12 and NCAA-leading 57th overall. Kansas averages 79.4 points per game and has a +10.4 scoring margin. KU has outrebounded 26 of 30 opponents, including 15 of 17 Big 12 foes, and holds a +7.6 rebound margin. KU leads the Big 12, and ranks in the top-five nationally, with a 49.8 field goal percentage. KU has shot 50 percent or better in eight of its last 14 games. In all, KU has outshot 24 of its 30 opponents in 2013-14. KU also ranks in the top four in the Big 12 in scoring offense (fourth, 79.4), scoring margin (second, +10.4), rebounding (fourth, 38.2), rebounding margin (third, +7.6), assists (second, 15.5) and blocked shots (second, 5.7).
Freshman G Andrew Wiggins leads Kansas with a 16.0 scoring average, the best among Big 12 freshmen and 10th overall in the conference. He has made 37 threes this season and is the team leader with 31 steals. Wiggins’ 5.8 rebound average is third on the team and 18th in the conference. Sophomore F Perry Ellis is coming off a 13-point effort on 4-of-4 shooting against Texas Tech (3/5). A two-time Big 12 Player of the Week, Ellis is KU’s second-leading scorer at 13.2 points per game, which is tied for 16th in the Big 12. Ellis’ 6.4 rebound average is second on the team (13th in the Big 12), as are his 27 steals. On March 3, KU head coach Bill Self announced freshman C Joel Embiid would sit out the remaining two games (vs. TTU and at WVU) due to a re-aggravated back injury. Embiid recorded back-to-back double-doubles with 13 points and 13 rebounds at Oklahoma State (3/1) and 12 points and 13 rebounds against Oklahoma (2/24). He has broken the KU freshman record for blocked shots, currently at 72, and his 2.6 blocked shots per game are second in the league. Embiid leads KU with 8.1 rebounds per game, good for sixth in the Big 12. Embiid is shooting 62.6 percent from the field and averages 11.2 points per game. Stepping in for Embiid in the starting role has been senior F Tarik Black who is coming off his season-high 19 points on 9-of-9 shooting against Texas Tech (3/5) with six rebounds and two blocked shots. Black averages 4.9 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. Freshman G Wayne Selden, Jr., is scoring 10.2 points per game and has three 20-point scoring games this season, all in league play. His 38 three-pointers and 78 assists each rank second among his teammates. Junior G Naadir Tharpe scored 16 points in 18 minutes against Texas Tech (3/5) and averages 9.2 ppg this season. With his team-high 149 assists, Tharpe’s 5.1 assists per game rank third in the Big 12 while his 2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio is fourth. Tharpe has made a team-best 42 three-pointers in 2013-14.
Freshman G Frank Mason averages 5.7 points per game and is third on the team with 64 assists. Sophomore F Jamari Traylor leads KU with a 75.4 field goal percentage and is averaging 4.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per contest. Other contributors off the bench include freshman G Brannen Greene (2.5 ppg), freshman G Conner Frankamp (2.0 ppg) and redshirt freshman F Landen Lucas (1.7 ppg).
ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA
Located in Morgantown, W.Va., with an enrollment of 32,595, West Virginia is 16-14 on the season and 8-9 in Big 12 play. The Mountaineers are coached by Bob Huggins who is 149-89 in his seventh season at WVU, his alma mater, and 739-300 in his 32nd season overall. West Virginia is 10-5 at WVU Coliseum this season. WVU averages 78.0 points per game and has a +4.9 scoring margin. WVU pulls down 35.9 rebounds per game and has a -0.5 rebound margin. The Mountaineers are second in the Big 12 in turnover margin at +3.4 and their 1.4 assist-to-turnover ratio is also second in the conference. West Virginia also averages 6.3 steals per game and forces 12.9 turnovers per outing.
Junior G Juwan Staten leads WVU in scoring at 18.2 points per game, which is second in the Big 12. He leads the conference with 5.8 assists per game and his 1.2 steals average is also a team best and tied for ninth in the league. Sophomore G Eron Harris is next in scoring at 17.6 points per game, third in the league. He makes 2.7 three-pointers per game, tied for third in the Big 12, and shoots 85.5 percent from the free throw line, which is second in the league. Sophomore G Terry Henderson scores 12.1 points per game and his 42 three-pointers made are third-most on the team. Freshman F Devin Williams leads WVU in rebounds with 7.1 per contest, eighth in the conference, to complement his 8.3 scoring average. Junior G Gary Browne comes off the bench and scores 6.1 points per game. He is third on the team with 45 assists. Other WVU contributors include freshman F Nathan Adrian (5.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg), freshman F Brandon Watkins (2.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg) and junior F Kevin Noreen (1.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg).
Kansas and West Virginia are meeting for only the fourth time in men’s basketball with the Jayhawks claiming all three wins in the first three meetings – 61-56 on Jan. 28, 2013, in Morgantown and 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 3-0 against West Virginia, while WVU’s Bob Huggins is 0-7 all-time versus Kansas.
Earlier this season, Kansas defeated West Virginia, 83-69, on Feb. 8, in Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas had four players in double figures led by freshman G Andrew Wiggins with 19 points. KU shot 54.9 percent for the game, including 58.1 percent in the first half and led 43-36 at halftime. Freshman G Wayne Selden Jr. scored 17 points, while senior F Tarik Black and freshman C Joel Embiid added 11 points each. Embiid led all rebounders with 12 boards to record a double-double. WVU junior Juwan Staten led all scorers with 22 points.
- Kansas has scored 80 or more points in six of its last eight games. The Jayhawks have six games of 90 or more points this season, including four in Big 12 play. In 18 of KU’s 23 victories, the Jayhawks have scored at least 80 points, including 11 Big 12 games. The Jayhawks are 18-1 when scoring 80 points or more in 2013-14.
- After shooting 51.9 percent against Texas Tech (3/5), Kansas is 17-1 when shooting 50 percent or better in the game and has eclipsed the 50 percent field goal percentage in eight of its last 13 games and 10 of 17 Big 12 games. KU’s 61.5 percent versus TCU (2/15) was a season best.
- KU has outrebounded 26 of its 30 opponents this season, including 15 of 17 Big 12 contests. After its 42-24 rebound advantage at Oklahoma State (3/1), KU has 14 games with a +10 rebound advantage.
- Kansas is 21-1 when leading at half this season, including 13-1 in Big 12 play. KU led at OSU 26-25 on March 1 for the only loss.
- KU has held all but one opponent (Duke, 51.7) under 50 percent shooting in 2013-14.
- Freshman G Andrew Wiggins has led Kansas in scoring in three of the last five games. He has led KU in scoring seven times in Big 12 play and 13 times this season.
- Wiggins has averaged 17.3 points in his last 11 contests. His 16.0 scoring average for the season would break the KU freshman record. Wiggins has eight games of 20-plus points, including four in Big 12 play.
- After his 4-for-4 effort against Texas Tech (3/5), sophomore F Perry Ellis has shot 60 percent or better in 13 games this season, including five conference contests. The Jayhawks are 13-0 when Ellis shoots 60 percent or better this season.
- Junior G Naadir Tharpe is averaging 13.7 points in his last three games after his 16 points against Texas Tech (3/5) on 4-of-7 shooting. Tharpe has scored in double figures in eight league games and 11 times this season.
- Tharpe has two career double-doubles, both in league competition this season. He has three games with 10 or more assists this season and three of his four 20-point scoring games in 2013-14 came against Big 12 opponents.
- Senior F Tarik Black is averaging 4.3 points for the season but has averaged 7.9 ppg in his last eight games after his 19 points on 9-of-9 shooting against Texas Tech (3/5). Black is 35-for-45 (77.8 percent) from the field in his last 12 games played. He is averaging 3.3 rebounds for the season yet has pulled down 4.6 boards in his last eight contests.
- Sophomore F Jamari Traylor has missed only eight shots in 15 conference games and is 5-for-5 from the field in his last three outings. He scored a career-high 10 points versus TCU (2/15) and is 31-of-39 (79.5 percent) in Big 12 games this season.
- Freshman G Frank Mason scored 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting against Texas (2/22). His 14 points were a conference-play best and one shy of his career-high 15 against Duke (11/12/13).
- Freshman G Wayne Selden, Jr., had 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting at Oklahoma State (3/1). Selden has shot 50 percent or better in four of his last eight games and seven of his last 12. He has three 20-point efforts this season, all against Big 12 competition.
- Freshman C Joel Embiid has 72 blocked shots this year, which is the KU freshman record. He has blocked at least one shot in each of his last 22 games played.
- Embiid is 22-for-33 (66.7 percent) from the field in his last six games.
MORE ON 10 STRAIGHT BIG 12 TITLES
- Bill Self passed coaching legends John Wooden (UCLA) and Adolph Rupp (Kentucky) who won nine-straight conference titles during their schools’ respective runs. Only Mark Few’s 11 consecutive Big West titles are more than Self’s 10.
- Including the 2014 campaign, three of Kansas’ 10-consecutive Big 12 titles were accomplished with no returning starters from the previous season (2005-06, 2008-09, 2013-14).
- In the 10-year run, Kansas has never been swept in a conference two-game round-robin series, while the Jayhawks have swept Big 12 foes 44 times with one pending in 2014 (at West Virginia).
- Kansas’ worst record in the streak was 12-4, which happened twice (2005 and 2006), and was still eight games above .500. Every other Big 12 team in that stretch has had at least one losing league record.
- Every player in the Bill Self era has won at least one Big 12 regular-season championship with the exception of David Padgett and Omar Wilkes who was a freshman in 2003-04. Note: Jeff Graves and Brett Olson who played for Self in 2003-04, won a Big 12 title in 2002-03.
- In the 10 titles, KU tied for the title four times: with Oklahoma in 2005, Texas in 2006, Texas in 2008 and Kansas State in 2013.
- Including being the top-rated conference in the nation in RPI in 2013-14, the Big 12 has ranked among the top five leagues in the final RPI (post-NCAA Championship) for seven-straight seasons and 12 times in the last 13 years. In six of the last seven campaigns, the conference will be in the top three, including the No. 1 finish in 2009-10 and most likely 2013-14.
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’ 16.0 points per game is ahead of McLemore’s KU frosh-record average of 15.9 ppg and Wiggins’ 481 points rank fourth on the KU freshman list. Wiggins already owns the KU freshman record for free throw attempts (181) and free throws made (138).
Kansas will enter the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship (March 12-15) at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., as the No. 1 seed and play its first game in the event’s quarterfinals on Thursday, March 13, at 2 p.m. against the winner of the No. 8 vs. No. 9 game, which takes place March 12. KU has had a first-round bye in 17 of the 18 Big 12 Championships. KU has been the No. 1 seed in the event 11 times, including each of the last six seasons.
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