Kansas to Play Iowa State in Big 12 Championship Semis Friday
BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP SEMIFINALS
Big 12 Conference regular-season champion Kansas (24-8, 14-4) advanced to the semifinal of the 2014 Big 12 Championship with a 77-70 in overtime win against Oklahoma State. KU has advanced to the semifinal for 16th time in the 18-year history of the event. Kansas will face Iowa State after the Cyclones defeated Kansas State, 91-85, in their quarterfinal game. Kansas and Iowa State are meeting in the semifinal of the event for the second-straight season, the 10th time in conference tournament play and the fourth time in the Big 12 Championship. Kansas is 10-5 all-time in Big 12 Championship semifinal games and 18-15 in all-time postseason league tourney semis.
No. 10/10 Kansas won the Big 12 Conference regular-season outright on March 1 with a three-game lead and two league games remaining. KU averages 79.5 points per game and has a +9.8 scoring margin. KU has outrebounded 27 of 32 opponents, including 10 of its last 11 foes, and holds a +7.4 rebound margin. KU leads the Big 12, and ranks in the top-five nationally, with a 49.6 field goal percentage. In all, KU has outshot 25 of its 32 opponents in 2013-14.
KU also ranks in the top four in the Big 12 in scoring offense (fourth, 79.5), scoring margin (second, +9.8), rebounding (fourth, 38.2), rebounding margin (third, +7.4), assists (third, 15.3) and blocked shots (second, 5.8).
Freshman G Andrew Wiggins finished one point shy of a KU tournament scoring record with 30 points in the win against Oklahoma State (3/13). He has 71 points in his last two games, including a KU freshman scoring record 41 points at West Virginia (3/8) and has bumped his scoring average to 17.3 points per game. An All-Big 12 First Team selection, Wiggins is tied for the team lead with 42 threes made this season and leads the team with 39 steals, which included five at WVU and three versus OSU. The Big 12 Freshman of the Year and Wooden Award final ballot honoree, Wiggins’ 5.9 rebound average is third on the team. Sophomore F Perry Ellis is coming off a nine-point, eight-rebound effort against Oklahoma State. A two-time Big 12 Player of the Week, Ellis is KU’s second-leading scorer at 13.1 points per game. Ellis’ 6.4 rebound average is second on the team, as are his 27 steals. On March 10, KU head coach Bill Self announced that freshman C Joel Embiid, KU’s third-leading scorer, would sit out the Big 12 Championship and likely the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament due to a re-aggravated back injury. The Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Embiid 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 and averages 11.2 points per game. Stepping in for Embiid in the starting role has been senior F Tarik Black who is averaging 9.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in his last three games. Black averages 4.8 ppg and 3.6 rpg in 2013-14. His 12 rebounds against Oklahoma State (3/13) were a season high and one shy of his career record. Black had a season-high 19 points on 9-of-9 shooting against Texas Tech (3/5). Freshman G Wayne Selden, Jr., is scoring 10.2 points per game after his 14-point effort against Oklahoma State (3/13) with four rebounds. Selden’s 41 three-pointers are third on the team and his 81 assists rank second among his teammates. Junior G Naadir Tharpe scored eight points and had seven assists in the quarterfinal win against OSU. He averages 8.8 ppg and a team-best 5.0 assists this season. Tharpe is tied with Wiggins for the team lead with 42 three-pointers made in 2013-14.
Freshman G Frank Mason averages 5.8 points per game and is third on the team with 66 assists. Sophomore F Jamari Traylor leads KU with a 71.8 field goal percentage and is averaging 4.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per contest after his six points and nine rebounds versus OSU. Other contributors off the bench include freshman G Brannen Greene (2.4 ppg), freshman G Conner Frankamp (1.9 ppg) and redshirt freshman F Landen Lucas (1.6 ppg).
THE IOWA STATE SERIES
Kansas leads the all-time series with Iowa State 175-59, dating back to 1908, and has won five-straight and 18 of the last 19 meetings. ISU’s last win was Jan. 28, 2012, 72-64 in Hilton Coliseum. Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas is 31-8 against Iowa State with a 28-8 record in regular-season play and a 3-0 mark in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship. Kansas head coach Bill Self is 21-3 all-time versus Iowa State, including 20-3 while at KU, while ISU’s Fred Hoiberg is 1-8 all-time against KU. Expect a close one as since Hoiberg’s arrival at ISU, four of the last seven meetings have been decided by nine points or less with two of those in overtime, both being during the 2012-14 regular-season.
Earlier this season, Naadir Tharpe scored a career-high 23 points as then-No. 15 Kansas defeated then-No. 8 Iowa State, 77-70, on ESPN Big Monday on Jan. 13, in Ames. Andrew Wiggins added 17 points and his 19 rebounds in the game were a career best and one shy of the KU freshman record of 20 held by Eric Chenowith. On Jan. 29, then-No. 6 Kansas defeated No. 16 Iowa State 92-81 in Allen Fieldhouse. Wiggins led all scorers with 29 points, while Perry Ellis scored 20. Tharpe and Joel Embiid each recorded double-doubles Tharpe racking up 12 points and 12 assists and Embiid 14 points and 11 rebounds.
- Kansas has scored 80 or more points in seven of its last 10 games. The Jayhawks have six games of 90 or more points this season. In 18 of KU’s 24 victories, the Jayhawks have scored at least 80 points. The Jayhawks are 18-2 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 15 games. KU’s 61.5 percent versus TCU (2/15) was a season best.
- KU has outrebounded 27 of 32 opponents this season, including 15 of 18 Big 12 league contest. KU has 15 games with a +10 rebound advantage, including 46-30 against Oklahoma State in the Big 12 quarterfinals.
- Kansas is 22-1 when leading at half this season, including 14-1 against Big 12 competition. KU led at OSU 26-25 on March 1 for the only loss.
- KU has held all but two opponents (Duke, 51.7 and at West Virginia, 52.9) under 50 percent shooting in 2013-14.
- Freshman G Andrew Wiggins has scored 71 points in his last two games. Included were a Kansas freshman-record 41 points at West Virginia (3/8). In his last two games, Wiggins is averaging 35.5 points, on 60 percent shooting, 8.0 rebounds, 4.0 steals and 2.5 blocked shots.
- Wiggins has led KU in scoring 15 times this season, including nine times against Big 12 competition.
- Wiggins has averaged 19.9 points in his last 14 contests. His 17.3 scoring average for the season would break the KU freshman record. Wiggins has 10 games of 20-plus points, including six against Big 12 competition.
- 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. The Jayhawks are 13-0 when Ellis shoots 60 percent or better this season.
- In his last four games, Ellis is 18-for-30 (60.0 percent) from the field.
- Sophomore F Jamari Traylor tied his career high with nine rebounds against Oklahoma State in the Big 12 quarterfinals. Traylor also pulled down nine at Florida (12/10/13).
- Traylor missed only 10 shots in 18 conference games and was 33-for-43 (76.7 percent) in league play.
- Senior F Tarik Black is 12-for-17 (70.6 percent) from the field in his last three games, i.e. stepping back into the starting lineup. In that span his is averaging 9.3 points and 7.3 rebounds.
- Freshman G Wayne Selden, Jr.‘s 14 points against Oklahoma State (3/13) were his most in three games. Selden has 14 games with 10-plus points, including three of his last five games. Selden has three 20-point efforts this season, all against Big 12 competition.
- Freshman G Frank Mason scored 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting at West Virginia (3/8). His three threes were the most he has made this season. With his one three-pointer against OSU, Mason has four threes in his last two games, the most in two-straight games for the freshman.
- 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 played.
A Kansas victory against Iowa State in the semifinals would advance the Jayhawks to their 11th Big 12 title game and 19th overall league tourney championship contest. In conference championship title games, KU is 9-1 in the Big 12 and 13-5 overall.
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