Top Seed Kansas to Open Big 12 Championship Thursday
2015 Big 12 Championship
Big 12 Conference regular-season champion Kansas (24-7, 13-5) enters the 2015 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship as the No. 1 seed for the 12th time, seventh-straight, in the 19-year history of the league. KU won its 11th straight, 15th Big 12 and NCAA-leading 58th conference regular-season championship in 2015. Kansas will face the winner of the No. 8 Kansas State-No. 9 TCU game Thursday, March 12 at 1:30 p.m., on ESPN2 at Sprint Center in Kansas City. The Wildcats and Horned Frogs will play Wednesday, March 11 at 6 p.m. Kansas has won 14 conference tournament titles, including six of the last 10 and nine of the 18 total Big 12 Championships. Since the Big 12’s inception in 1996-97, Kansas is 17-1 in its first games, 16-2 in the quarterfinals, 10-6 in semifinals and 9-1 in championship games.
In 2014-15, Kansas is 6-0 following a loss. KU head coach Bill Self is 349-76 in his 12th season at Kansas. In games following losses during his tenure, the Jayhawks are 66-9 (88.0 percent) with 42 of those victories in Allen Fieldhouse and 24 on the road or neutral courts.
No. 9/10 Kansas (24-7, 13-5) scores 71.9 points per game and has a +6.8 scoring margin. The Jayhawks average 38.2 boards per game and have a +3.8 rebound margin. KU is second in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 38.3 percent and averages 13.5 assists, 6.5 steals and 5.1 blocked shots per game.
All-Big 12 First Team selection, junior F Perry Ellis, KU’s leading scorer, did not play at Oklahoma (3/7) due to a sprained right knee suffered against West Virginia (3/3). A 2015 Academic All-Big 12 First Team honoree, Ellis leads KU with a 14.2 scoring average and 7.0 rebound average. He is the only player in the Big 12 to rank sixth or higher in scoring (sixth) and rebounding (fourth). Sophomore F Landen Lucas, who has nine starts in 2014-15, replaced Ellis in the starting spot at OU and responded with his first career double-double with personal highs in points (13), rebounds (12) and minutes (33). Lucas averages 3.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. All-Big 12 Second Team selection, sophomore G Frank Mason III, is second in scoring at 12.6 points per game, which is 10th in the Big 12. He is coming off a career-high-tying 21-point performance at OU (3/7). He is fourth in the league in assists at 4.1 and 10th in field goal percentage at 45.0, which is just behind Ellis who sits in sixth (47.1 percent). Mason leads KU with 43 steals and his 36 three-pointers made this season are tied for second-most on the team. All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection, sophomore G Wayne Selden, Jr., has made a team-high 45 three-pointers and his 1.5 made per game are tied for 14th in the Big 12. Selden scores 9.1 points per game and is second on the team with 90 assists. All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honoree, freshman G Kelly Oubre, Jr., recorded his third double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds at OU (3/7). Oubre averaged 10.2 points in Big 12 play and scores 9.0 in all games. He is second on the team with 35 steals, averages 5.1 rebounds and has made 31 three-pointers this season. Junior F Jamari Traylor rounds out the KU starters. After his 12 points at Oklahoma (3/7), Traylor averages 4.9 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. He has started 17 games for the Jayhawks and his 33 blocked shots are second on the team. Traylor ranks 11th in the Big 12 with 1.1 blocked shots per game. Traylor replaced freshman F Cliff Alexander (7.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.3 blocked shots per game, six starts) in the starting lineup versus Texas (2/28). Alexander has sat out the last three KU contests as a precautionary measure after the NCAA alerted KU about issues that could affect Alexander’s eligibility.
Freshman G Devonte’ Graham scored eight points and pulled down four rebounds at OU (3/7). He is scoring 5.3 points per game and is third on the team with 46 assists. Redshirt junior F Hunter Mickelson has averaged 16.5 minutes in his last two game and averages 7.3 for the season. Mickelson scored five points and pulled down six rebounds at Oklahoma (3/7) and averages 2.5 points and 2.0 boards for the season. Sophomore G Brannen Greene was suspended for the regular-season finale at Oklahoma (3/7). He averages 6.1 points and is tied for second on the team with 36 three-pointers made. He makes a team best 42.9 percent from beyond the arc in 2014-15.
The Kansas-Kansas State Series
Kansas has won 49 of the last 54 meetings with Kansas State dating back to the 1994 season. KU has won seven of the last nine games, 14 of the last 17 matchups and holds a 188-93 all-time series advantage over KSU, which dates back to 1907.
KU is 14-7 against Kansas State in the conference postseason tournament, including 8-0 in the Big 12 Championship and 3-0 in Sprint Center. The last KU-KSU meeting in the Big 12 Championship was the 2013 title game, a KU 70-54 win. The two teams have met in three league tourney quarterfinals with the last in 2005, at KU 80-67 win at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri. Since the inception of the Big 12 Conference, KU is 41-5 against KSU (33-5 in regular-season battles and 8-0 in the Big 12 Championship). Kansas head coach Bill Self is 24-5 all-time against K-State, including 23-5 while at KU. Bruce Weber is 2-6 against Kansas, including 2-5 while at K-State.
Earlier this season Kansas defeated Kansas State, 68-57, on Jan. 31 in Allen Fieldhouse, while KSU won the second meeting, 70-63, on Feb. 23 in Manhattan.
The Kansas-TCU Series
Though this is just the seventh conference meeting between Kansas and TCU, the men’s basketball series between the two schools dates back to 1952 when the Jayhawks defeated the Horned Frogs, 68-64, on March 21 in the NCAA Midwest Regional at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri. Kansas is 9-1 against TCU with two games on neutral floors: the 1952 contest and a KU 94-78 win vs. TCU on Dec. 20, 1997, at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri. KU swept a home-and-home series with TCU in 2003 and 2004 with an 85-66 win in Fort Worth on Dec. 1, 2003 and a 93-74 victory on Dec. 9, 2004 in Allen Fieldhouse. As members of the Big 12, KU leads the series 5-1 with all six meetings in regular-season play. Should TCU defeat Kansas State March 11, it would be the first KU-TCU matchup in the Big 12 Championship. Kansas head coach Bill Self is 13-4 all-time against TCU, including 7-1 while at Kansas. TCU head coach Trent Johnson is 2-5 against Kansas, 1-5 while at TCU. In Self’s first season at Kansas, Johnson’s Stanford team defeated KU, 64-58, on Dec. 6, 2003, in Anaheim, California, in the Wooden Classic.
Kansas swept the 2015 regular-season series with TCU, edging the Horned Frogs 64-61 in Fort Worth on Jan. 28 and claiming an 81-72 victory on Feb. 21 in Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship
Here are some Kansas notes heading into the conference postseason championship:
- Kansas has won more Big 12 Championships than any other school with nine. Oklahoma is next with three titles (2001-02-03). KU won the first three events in 1997-98-99, then the 2006-07-08-10-11-13 titles. KU is 9-1 in tourney title games having only lost the 2002 title to Oklahoma.
- Kansas is the only team to have won at least 30 games in the Big 12 Championship. The Jayhawks are 36-9 (80.0 percent) in the event, while Oklahoma State (23-16) and Texas (23-18) are second with 23 wins each.
- With a 22-5 (81.5 percent) record, KU head coach Bill Self has the highest winning percentage in Big 12 Championship history.
- Kansas has been the No. 1 seed 12 times (1997-98-2002-03-07-09-10-11-12-13-14-15), No. 2 seed four times (2001-05-06-08), No. 3 seed twice (1999-2004), and the No. 5 seed in 2000.
- Kansas has won 17 of its 18 first games in the Big 12 Championship with the 2009 loss to Baylor being its only blemish. The Jayhawks are 1-0 in opening-round games and 16-2 in quarterfinal contests. In 2000 KU was the No. 5 seed, won its first game and lost in the quarterfinals. All of KU’s other first games were in the quarterfinals.
- KU has reached the semifinals in 16 of the 18 Big 12 Championships. The Jayhawks did not reach the 2000 or 2009 semis.
- Kansas has won six of its nine titles as the No. 1 seed – 1997, 1998, 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2013. KU was the No. 3 seed in its 1999 title run and the No. 2 seed in 2006 and 2008. The lowest seed to win the event was a No. 3 seed: Kansas in 1999, Oklahoma in 2003 and Oklahoma State in 2005.
- Kansas has had 41 conference championship all-tournament selections, including 24 in the 18-year history of the Big 12 Championship. Current Jayhawk junior F Perry Ellis was an all-tournament selection in 2013.
- Of the 41 conference championship all-tournament selections, 11 were named the event’s most outstanding player, including eight in the Big 12 era.
Kansas in Kansas City
Kansas City has been a second home of sorts for Kansas over the years. KU’s first-ever game — a 16-5 loss to Kansas City YMCA on Feb. 3, 1899 — was played in Kansas City. The March 12 Big 12 Championship quarterfinal contest will mark KU’s 291st game played all-time in Kansas City, and its 32nd in Sprint Center. KU is 25-5 in Sprint Center including winning the 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013 Big 12 Championships in the venue and the 2012 CBE Classic.
In 2009-10 and 2010-11, Kansas went 4-0 in Sprint Center. In 2008-09, KU went 1-2 in the venue. In 2007-08, Kansas went 4-0 in the venue, including winning the Big 12 Championship en route to its NCAA National Championship. Kansas went 8-0 in the Sprint Center in 2012-13 having won the CBE Classic (78-41 vs. Washington State 11/19 and 73-59 vs. St. Louis 11/20), defeating Oregon State 84-78 in the Kansas City Shootout (11/30), winning the Big 12 Championship (defeating Texas Tech 91-63, Iowa State 88-73 and Kansas State 70-54) and beating Western Kentucky 64-57 (3/22) and North Carolina 70-58 (3/24) in the NCAA Tournament. Last season, the Jayhawks were 2-1 in the Sprint Center defeating New Mexico, 80-63, in the Kansas City Shootout in December and Oklahoma State, 77-70 in overtime, in the quarterfinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship. Earlier this season, Kansas defeated then-No. 13/14 Utah, 63-60, in the Kansas City Shootout.
Kansas played 106 games in Kemper Arena with an 81-25 record. KU is 210-79 in games played in Kansas City.
More Notes on the Jayhawks in KC
- Kansas went 26-4 in Kemper Arena from 1997 until 2006, when it played its last game in the venue. Included in that run were Big 12 Championship titles in 1997, 1998 and 1999.
- Kemper Arena was the host of the 1988 NCAA Final Four when the Jayhawks won the national championship.
- Kansas has played at least one regular-season game in Kansas City in 24 of the last 26 seasons, including every year Sprint Center has existed.
- The NCAA is listing statistics and Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) on a regular basis. Through games as of March 7, Kansas is No. 2 nationally in the RPI behind Kentucky and No. 1 nationally in the toughest schedule.
- Kansas is 80-for-100 (80 percent) from the free throw line in its last three games. The Jayhawks have shot 80 percent or better in seven games this season, including five against Big 12 competition.
- KU averages 5.1 blocked shots per game in 2014-15, yet has 22 blocks in its last three games for a 7.3 per game average. Included were 10 blocks versus Texas (2/28).
- Kansas’ bench has outscored its opponent’s bench in 12 of the last 16 games, including 35-21 against West Virginia (3/3). Kansas’ bench has outscored its opponent’s bench by an average of 22.6 to 15.7 this season.
- Kansas ranks in the upper half of the league in scoring offense (fourth at 71.9), field goal percentage (third at 44.1), free throw percentage (fourth at 72.1), field goal percentage defense (third at 39.5), three-point field goal percentage (second at 38.3), three-point field goal percentage defense (third at 32.0), assists (fourth at 13.5), rebounding (third at 38.2), rebound margin (third at +3.8), blocked shots (fourth at 5.1), steals (fifth at 6.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (fifth at 1.1).
- Kansas has outrebounded 19 of 31 opponents this season, compiling a 17-2 record in those contests. Seven of those games have been by double figures, including two in Big 12 play.
- Kansas’ 13 steals against West Virginia (3/3) were a season high and marked only the second time this season the Jayhawks have posted double-figure steals. KU had 12 steals against Texas Tech on Jan. 10. KU has averaged 7.5 steals in its last four games and 6.5 for the season.
- Junior F Perry Ellis has scored 23 or more points in three of his last four games played. Despite only scoring four points before leaving the West Virginia (3/3) game with a sprained knee, Ellis has averaged 19.8 points in his last four games. Ellis missed the season finale at Oklahoma (3/7).
- Ellis shot 50 percent or better in eight Big 12 games this season with four contests at 62.5 percent or better. His seven double-doubles in 2014-15 are tied for second in the Big 12 and he is the only player in the conference to rank in the top six in scoring (sixth at 14.2 ppg) and rebounding (fourth at 7.0 rpg).
- After his career-high-tying 21 points at Oklahoma (3/7), sophomore G Frank Mason III has led KU in scoring seven times this season, including each of the last two games. He had his string of at least one steal in consecutive games end at 10 games with no thefts at Oklahoma (3/7) yet has 18 steals in his last 11 games.
- Freshman G Kelly Oubre, Jr., recorded his third double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds at Oklahoma (3/7). Oubre, who averages 9.0 points for the season, has averaged 13.3 points in his last four games. Oubre has pulled down seven or more rebounds 11 times this season, including three of his last four contests.
- Sophomore F Landen Lucas recorded his first career double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds at Oklahoma (3/7). Lucas was 6-for-8 from the field at OU and is 8-for-13 (61.5 percent) from the floor in his last three games. He has averaged 9.0 rebounds in his last two contests.
- After his 12 points at Oklahoma (3/7), junior F Jamari Traylor is scoring 13.0 points in his last two games. He scored all 14 of his points against West Virginia (3/3) in the second half and overtime. Traylor’s 14 points against the Mountaineers were a season high and his nine rebounds for the game were a personal league best in 2015.
- Freshman G Devonte’ Graham has scored 18 points in his last two games with 10 against West Virginia (3/3) and eight at Oklahoma (3/7). His four rebounds at OU tied for his second-best mark this season. Graham has three or more assists in 10 games this season, with nine against Big 12 teams.
- Redshirt junior F Hunter Mickelson’s 20 minutes at Oklahoma (3/7) were his most this season. He has scored 13 points and pulled down eight rebounds in his last two games. Mickelson averages 2.5 points and 2.0 rebounds per game this season.
All-Big 12 Awards
Highlighted by junior forward Perry Ellis, four Kansas men’s basketball players were named All-Big 12 March 8 as the conference released its coaches’ All-Big 12 awards for the 2014-15 season. Ellis was named All-Big 12 First Team, marking the conference-leading 26th time a Jayhawk has been named to the league’s first team. KU sophomore guard Frank Mason III earned second-team recognition, while sophomore guard Wayne Selden, Jr., and freshman guard Kelly Oubre, Jr. were honorable mention selections. Additionally, Oubre was named to the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team. Each award is chosen by the league coaches.
Ellis and Selden are on the All-Big 12 squad for the second-straight season. Last year Ellis was a third-team honoree, while Selden was honorable mention. Mason and Oubre are all-league members for the first time in 2014-15.
In the 19-year history of the conference, Kansas lays claim to a league-best 99 All-Big 12 selections which includes first-, second-, third-teams, honorable mention, all-defensive and all-newcomer team honorees. Texas is second with 75. Ellis gives Kansas a first-team selection for the 15th-consecutive season and the 17th time in the 19-year history of the league. Ellis is the 16th KU All-Big 12 First Team choice in the 12 seasons under Self.
On Monday, March 9, Bill Self was named the Associated Press Big 12 Coach of the Year. Ellis was an AP first-team selection and Mason a second-team honoree. For Self, it is the fourth time he has been named the AP Big 12 Coach of the Year (2006, 2009, 2011, 2015).
In the Polls
In the March 9 national polls, Kansas is No. 9 in the Associated Press and No. 10 in the USA Today Coaches’ polls. This season, the Jayhawks have been ranked in the top 10 in the AP and coaches’ poll 13 and 12 weeks, respectively. The Jayhawks have been ranked in each of the last 122 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 128 polls and in the top five on 54 occasions.
Versus Ranked Teams
With its 75-73 loss at No. 15 Oklahoma on March 7, Kansas is 62-33 against Associated Press (AP) ranked teams, including 9-4 in 2014-15. In each of the last five seasons, the Jayhawks have a winning record versus AP ranked foes, which included a 7-3 mark in 2013-14. Since the 2009-10 season, KU is 40-16 against AP-ranked teams.
From the Line
Kansas was 20-for-25 from the free throw line at Oklahoma (3/7) to mark the seventh time this season the Jayhawks have shot 80 percent or better in a game from the charity stripe. In the last eight games Kansas has made 159-of-204 (77.9 percent) from the line. In the last three games alone, Kansas has made 80 percent of its free attempts (80-of-100): 26-of-32 against Texas, 34-of-43 versus West Virginia and 20-of-25 at Oklahoma.
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.
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 with the previous being 2012 Consensus All-American Thomas Robinson. At 1,113 career points, Ellis is already No. 41 on the Kansas all-time scoring list.
MORE ELLIS ACCOLADES
In addition to his Academic All-Big 12 honors, junior F Perry Ellis has three times been named the Big 12 Player of the Week (12/1, 2/16, 3/2). The 2014 Orlando Classic Most Valuable Player is one of five finalists for the 2015 Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The award is in its inaugural year with the winner being named April 10, 2015. Fans can vote for their favorite finalist at www.HoophallAwards.com.
Kansas has won 15 of the 19 Big 12 regular-season titles (includes ties), including the last 11, which ranks tied for second on the NCAA all-time consecutive list. Kansas’ 58 conference titles are the most in NCAA Division I. Kentucky is second with 51 and Penn third at 37 (entering 2014-15). KU’s 11-straight league titles are the longest active streak in NCAA Division I and the longest streak in school history.
Consecutive Conference Regular-Season Winners
(source: NCAA Record Book; *active streak)
No. Team Conference Seasons
13 UCLA PAC-10 1967-79
11* KANSAS Big 12 2005-15
11 Gonzaga West Coast 2001-11
10 Connecticut Yankee 1951-60
10 UNLV Big West 1983-92
9 Idaho St. Rocky Mountain 1953-61
9 Kentucky Southeastern 1944-52
A Kansas win in the Big 12 Championship quarterfinals would give the Jayhawks their 35th all-time semifinal conference tournament appearance, including their 17th in the Big 12 event. Should Kansas win, KU would play the winner of the No. 4 Baylor-No. 5 West Virginia contest. The semifinal game would be Friday, March 13, at 6 p.m. (Central) on either ESPN or ESPN2.
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