No. 2 Seed Kansas to Face No. 15 Seed New Mexico State in Omaha Friday
Kansas (26-8, 13-5 Big 12) is the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional as selected March 15. KU will take on No. 15-seeded New Mexico State (23-10, 13-1 WAC) from the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) on Friday, March 20, at 11:15 a.m. (Central) at the CenturyLink Center Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska. The game will be televised on CBS. Kansas will have open practice in the venue on Thursday, March 19, from 1:30-2:10 p.m.
Kansas is making its 44th NCAA Tournament appearance and its 26th-consecutive trip to the tournament, the longest active streak in the nation. KU is a No. 2 seed for the second-straight season and seventh time since seeding began in 1979. The Jayhawks were a two seed in 1990-93-96, 2002-12-14-15. In 2012, KU was a No. 2 seed, advanced to its 14th Final Four and the NCAA championship game.
KU, which is ranked No. 10 in the latest Associated Press and No. 11 USA Today Coaches polls, has won 11-straight, 15 Big 12 and an NCAA best 58 regular-season conference championships, including the 2015 title.
No. 10/11 Kansas won the Big 12 Conference regular-season outright on March 3 with a two-game lead and one league game remaining over nationally-ranked teams Iowa State and Oklahoma. The Jayhawks advanced to the finals of the 2015 Big 12 Championship at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri, before losing to No. 13/15 Iowa State, 70-66. KU averages 71.2 points per game and has a +6.5 scoring margin. KU has outrebounded 21 of 34 opponents holds a +3.6 rebound margin. KU has outshot 24 of its 34 opponents in 2014-15.
After missing two games due to a knee injury suffered in the home season finale against West Virginia (3/3), All-Big 12 First Team selection, junior F Perry Ellis returned to the starting lineup and scored 11 points and pulled down six rebounds in the Big 12 Championship semifinal win against No. 16/16 Baylor (3/13). A 2015 Academic All-Big 12 First Team honoree, Ellis leads KU with a 13.8 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). All-Big 12 Second Team selection, sophomore G Frank Mason III, is second in scoring at 12.3 points per game. He scored a career-high-tying 21 points at OU (3/7) in the regular-season finale. Mason leads KU with 4.0 assists, which is fifth in the Big 12, and 1.5 steals per game, good for eighth in the conference. His 37 three-pointers made this season are third-most on the team. Big 12 Championship All-Tournament Team selection, sophomore G Wayne Selden, Jr., scored back-to-back 20-plus point games in the semifinals and final at the league tournament. Included was a career-high 25 points against Iowa State in the title game (3/14). Against Baylor (3/13), he had 20 points and pulled down a career-high eight rebounds. Selden averages 9.8 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game, which is 12th in the league. He has made a team-high 46 three-pointers. All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honoree, freshman G Kelly Oubre, Jr., averaged 12.3 points in the conference tournament. Included was a career-high 25 points against TCU (3/12), which included 15 free throws made. For the season, Oubre averages 9.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and is second on the team with 39 steals. Sophomore F Landen Lucas, who has 12 starts in 2014-15, rounds out the KU starters. Lucas has started the last four games and is averaging 9.0 points and 7.5 rebounds in that span. Lucas averages 3.4 points and 4.0 rebounds for the season.
Junior F Jamari Traylor has started four of the last six games and 18 games this season. His 36 blocked shots are second on the team and he averages 4.7 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Sophomore G Brannen Greene averages 5.8 points and is second on the team with 38 three-pointers made. He makes 40.9 percent from beyond the arc in 2014-15. Freshman G Devonte’ Graham is scoring 5.1 points per game and is third on the team with 54 assists. Redshirt junior F Hunter Mickelson has averaged 11.0 minutes in his last five games while playing 7.3 mpg for the season. Mickelson scored five points and pulled down six rebounds at Oklahoma (3/7) and averages 2.4 points and 1.9 boards for the season. Freshman F Cliff Alexander (7.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.3 blocked shots per game, six starts) has sat out the last six KU contests as a precautionary measure after the NCAA alerted KU about issues that could affect Alexander’s eligibility.
ABOUT NEW MEXICO STATE
Located in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with an enrollment of 17,651, New Mexico State (23-10, 13-1 WAC) is making its fourth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and fifth in the last six years. The Aggies are coached by Marvin Menzies who is the 2014-15 Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Coach of the Year. Menzies is 152-89 in his eighth season at NMSU. NMSU finished first in the WAC with a 13-1 league record and won its fourth-straight WAC Tournament title, defeating Seattle University in the finals 80-61 on March 15, in Las Vegas. The Aggies take a 13-game winning streak into the Kansas contest. New Mexico State averages 68.5 points and has a +9.2 scoring margin. The Aggies pull down 35.5 rebounds per game and have a +6.8 rebound margin. NMSU makes 15.9 free throws per game and averages 12.1 assists, 6.3 steals and 3.7 blocked shots per game.
New Mexico State has a balanced team with four players scoring in double figures and six at 8.1 points per game or better. Senior F Remi Barry leads the Aggies in scoring at 13.3 points per game. An All-WAC Second Team selection, Barry’s 41 three-pointers are second on the team and he pulls down 4.8 rebounds per game. Redshirt freshman F Pascal Siakam is the 2014-15 WAC Freshman of the Year and an all-conference first-team selection. Siakam leads NMSU with 7.7 rebounds per game and 59 blocked shots. He scores 13.0 points per contest and makes 57.7 percent from the field. Senior G Daniel Mullings joined Siakam on the All-WAC First Team this season. He averages 12.6 points and 5.0 rebounds and is second on the team with 42 steals. Senior C Tshilidzi Nephawe, an all-league second team honoree in 2014-15 and the WAC Tournament MVP, is a starter who averages 10.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Rounding out the NMSU starters is sophomore G Ian Baker who leads the team with 58 three-pointers, 91 assists and 47 steals. Baker scores 9.5 points per game and makes 47.2 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.
Senior G DK Eldridge has started 25 games this season and is third on the team with 34 three-pointers made and 36 steals. His 74 assists are second on the squad and he averages 8.1 points per game. Redshirt freshman F Johnathon Wilkins (3.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg) has 10 starts and rounds out the NMSU regulars.
THE NEW MEXICO STATE SERIES
The Jayhawks and Aggies have played twice previously, with Kansas coming away with victories in each of the games (102-51, Dec. 7, 1965; 100-79, Dec. 3, 2008). Both meetings were in Allen Fieldhouse. Ron Franz led KU with 19 points in the first meeting as seven Jayhawks scored in double figures. Bob Wilson and Fred Chana each scored 12 in the victory as KU led 62-27 at halftime. Tyshawn Taylor led KU in the second meeting, scoring 23 points, while All-American Sherron Collins had a double-double with 15 points and 11 assists. Cole Aldrich also had a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds in the victory.
- KU averages 5.0 blocked shots per game in 2014-15 and has 36 blocks in its last six games for a 6.0 per game average. Included were 10 blocks versus Texas (2/28) and nine blocked shots against TCU (3/12).
- Kansas has outrebounded two of its last three opponents and 21 of 34 opponents this season, compiling a 19-2 record in those contests. Seven of those games have been by double figures.
- Kansas had nine steals in each of its first two Big 12 Championship games against TCU (3/12) and Baylor (3/13). KU has averaged 7.2 steals in its last five games. Included were a season-high 13 steals against West Virginia (3/3). Kansas averages 6.5 steals for the season.
- Sophomore G Wayne Selden, Jr., led KU with a 17.3 scoring averaging in the Big 12 Championship in earning all-tournament team honors. He scored 20 points versus Baylor (3/13) and a career-high 25 points against Iowa State (3/14). Selden was 18-for-27 (66.7 percent) from the field in the tourney and averaged 5.7 rebounds. He has four 20-point games this season.
- Freshman G Kelly Oubre, Jr., averaged 12.3 points in three games at the Big 12 Championship. Included was his career-high 25 points against TCU (3/12). It was his third 20-point effort of the season. Oubre, who averages 9.3 points for the season, has averaged 12.9 points in his last seven games.
- Junior F Perry Ellis scored 11 points and pulled down six rebounds against Baylor (3/13) in his return to the lineup after missing two games with a sprained knee. In the Big 12 title game against Iowa State (3/14), he pulled down nine rebounds and scored seven points. Ellis has recorded nine or more boards 12 times this season.
- Ellis’ seven double-doubles in 2014-15 are tied for third in the Big 12 and he is the only player in the conference to rank in the top six in scoring (sixth at 13.8 ppg) and rebounding (fourth at 7.0 rpg).
- Sophomore G Frank Mason III has led KU in scoring seven times this season, including two of his last five games. He scored a career-high-tying 21 points at Oklahoma (3/7). Mason had three steals against TCU (3/12) and two against Baylor (3/13). He has 12 steals in his last seven games.
- Sophomore F Landen Lucas has pulled down five or more rebounds in each of his last five games and is averaging 7.8 boards in that span. Lucas was 10-for-13 (76.9 percent) from the field in his three games at the Big 12 Championship.
- Freshman G Devonte’ Graham has three or more assists in 12 games this season, with 11 against Big 12 teams. He had four dimes and zero turnovers against TCU (3/12) and four assists and one turnover against Iowa State (3/14) in the Big 12 title game.
- Redshirt junior F Hunter Mickelson has at least one blocked shot in each of KU’s last six games played. Mickelson has nine blocks in the last six games and averages 1.0 blocks for the season.
KANSAS VS. THE NCAA TOURNAMENT FIELD
It is well documented Kansas had the toughest schedule in 2014-15 and there is more proof in the fact KU has faced 10 teams invited to play in the 2015 NCAA Tournament. The average seed of KU’s 10 NCAA Tournament opponents is 5.1 with no seed higher than a No. 11. In all, Kansas played 17 games against 10 teams in this year’s NCAA Tournament field with an 12-5 record: Baylor (3-0), Georgetown (1-0), Iowa State (1-2), Kentucky (0-1), Michigan State (1-0), Oklahoma (1-1), Oklahoma State (1-1), Texas (2-0), Utah (1-0) and West Virginia (1-1).
Kansas is the No. 2 seed for the seventh time since the NCAA Tournament started seeding in 1979: 1990-93-96-2003-12-13-15. This is the third time KU has been a No. 2 seed under Bill Self (2012-13-15). Kansas is 19-6 as a No. 2 seed, has won all six of its previous first-round games and has advanced to three Final Fours (1993, 2003 and 2012) as the No. 2 seed. KU’s 25 games played as a No. 2 seed only trails its 39 contests as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. KU has been a No. 1 seed 11 times, which is followed by the seven stints as the No. 2 seed.
KANSAS IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
- This year marks Kansas’ 44th NCAA Tournament appearance.
- Kansas’ 26-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, from 1990-2015, is the nation’s longest active streak and ranks second-best all time. North Carolina had 27-straight appearances from 1975-2001.
- Under head coach Bill Self, Kansas is 26-10 (72.2 percent) in the NCAA Tournament with seven Sweet 16s, five Elite Eights, two Final Fours, one NCAA National Championship and one NCAA runner-up finish.
- In the last 13 NCAA Tournaments, Kansas has a 35-12 (74.5 percent) record with one NCAA National Championship (2008), four Final Four (2002-03-08-12) and seven Elite Eight (2002-03-04-07-08-11-12) appearances.
- Kansas’ 44 NCAA Tournament appearances are fourth nationally behind only Kentucky (53), North Carolina (46) and UCLA (45).
- Kansas sports an all-time NCAA Tournament record of 96-42. The Jayhawks’ 96 wins trail only Kentucky (116), North Carolina (110) Duke (99) and UCLA (97).
- The Jayhawks will play their 139th NCAA Tournament game on Friday. The Jayhawks’ 138 games in the event rank third all-time in NCAA history, behind Kentucky (163) and North Carolina (153).
- KU’s NCAA Tournament winning percentage of 69.6 percent ranks sixth all-time for a minimum of 20 games played.
- Kansas coach Bill Self is making his 17th-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament as a head coach, which is tied for fifth-best consecutive string in tourney history by a head coach: 23 Dean Smith (1975-97), 20 Roy Williams (1990-2009), 20 Mike Krzyzewski, (1996-2015), 18 Tom Izzo (1998-2015), 17 Rick Barnes (1996-2012) and 17 Bill Self (1999-2015). Self, Krzyzewski and Izzo are the only active streaks.
- KU is one of eight schools that has won at least three NCAA Championships. The Jayhawks won the NCAA crown in 1952, 1988 and 2008. The other schools are: UCLA (11), Kentucky (8), Indiana (5), North Carolina (5), Duke (4), Connecticut (4) and Louisville (3).
- Kansas has appeared in the Final Four 14 times, making KU one of just seven schools to reach the Final Four 10-plus times: North Carolina (18), UCLA (17), Kentucky (16), Duke (15), Ohio State (11) and Louisville (10).
- Kansas has won 12 games in the Final Four, which is tied for fifth best all-time: UCLA (25), Kentucky (20), Duke (15), North Carolina (15) and Indiana (12).
- Five different Jayhawks have been named NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, including B.H. Born in 1953 and Wilt Chamberlain in 1957, who both won the award even though KU lost in the title game. Clyde Lovellette (1952) and Danny Manning (1988) also won the honor. Mario Chalmers won the Most Outstanding Player Award for the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
- Former Jayhawk player and coach Dick Harp is the only person to play in the Final Four and later coach his alma mater in the Final Four.
NCAA TOURNAMENT NOTABLES
- In 2007-08, Kansas became the fourth school to win a BCS game, and then play in the Final Four the same academic year. The 2007 KU football team won the FedEx Orange Bowl and the men’s basketball team captured the NCAA National Championship. Other schools to accomplish the feat include Ohio State (1999), Wisconsin (2000) and Florida (2007).
- In 1993, Kansas became the first school in NCAA history to make a Final Four appearance, a College World Series appearance and win a bowl game in the same year.
- Larry Brown is one of two coaches to take two different teams to the NCAA championship game (UCLA, 1980 and Kansas, 1988). Frank McGuire took St. John’s in 1952 and North Carolina in 1957. McGuire’s 1957 North Carolina team defeated Kansas for the championship in triple overtime.
- Brown is the only man to coach teams to the NCAA Championship (Kansas in 1988) and the NBA Championship (Detroit in 2004).
- When Phog Allen’s 1952 team won the NCAA title, Allen was 66 years old. That was the oldest age for the head coach of a championship team until Jim Calhoun (68) of Connecticut won in 2011. Allen became the fourth coach to win the NCAA National Championship at his alma mater, a feat that has been accomplished 14 times.
- Kansas won the NCAA Tournament in 1988 as a No. 6 seed. Jim Valvano’s 1983 N.C. State team also won the tournament as a No. 6 seed. Only two other teams has won the tournament with a lower seed – Villanova in 1985 as an eighth seed and Connecticut as a No. 7 seed in 2014. In the 1990s, the lowest seed to win the tournament was the 1997 Arizona team, which captured the title as a No. 4 seed. The Wildcats upset Kansas, the top seed, in the Sweet 16.
KU IS THE CRADLE OF TOURNAMENT COACHING LEGENDS
With Jerod Haase advancing UAB to the 2015 NCAA Tournament, there are 11 head coaches who have advanced to the NCAA Tournament that graduated from the University of Kansas. In fact, the 122 combined NCAA Tournament wins by those men are easily the most by graduates of any one school: Phog Allen (KU 1906, 10-3), Tad Boyle (KU 1985, 1-3), Tim Carter (KU 1979, 0-2), Frosty Cox (KU 1930, 2-4), Dick Harp (KU 1940, 4-2), Danny Manning (KU 1991, 0-1), Ralph Miller (KU 1942, 5-11), Adolph Rupp (KU 1922, 30-18), Dean Smith (KU 1953, 65-27) and Mark Turgeon (KU 1987, 5-5).
KANSAS IN OMAHA FOR THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
The 2015 NCAA Tournament will be the third time in Kansas men’s basketball history the Jayhawks will have played in the event in Omaha, Nebraska, and the third time in the CenturyLink Center. Kansas has had good fortunes when starting the NCAA Tournament in Omaha. In 2008, Kansas went on to win the NCAA National Championship and in 2012 KU advanced to the school’s 14th Final Four, finishing runner-up. In 2008, Kansas was a No. 1 seed and defeated Portland (85-61) and UNLV (75-61), then played its regional in Detroit and the Final Four in San Antonio. In 2012, KU defeated Detroit (65-50) and Purdue (63-60) to advance to the regional in St. Louis, then the Final Four in New Orleans.
IN THE POLLS
In the March 16 national polls, Kansas is No. 10 in the Associated Press (AP) and No. 11 in the USA Today Coaches’ polls. The AP poll is the final poll of the 2014-15 season while the coaches have one last poll following the Final Four. This season, the Jayhawks have been ranked in the top 10 in the AP and coaches’ poll 14 and 12 weeks, respectively. The Jayhawks have been ranked in each of the last 123 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 129 polls and in the top five on 54 occasions.
VERSUS RANKED TEAMS
With its 70-66 loss to No. 13 Iowa State in the Big 12 Championship title game, March 14, Kansas dropped to 10-5 against Associated Press nationally-ranked teams at tip this season. The 10 wins are the most in a season for Kansas, surpassing the 9-1 record in the 1996-97 season. The 15 games versus AP-ranked foes are also the most in KU history. The previous high was 12 battles versus ranked foes in three different seasons (1994-95, 2002-03 and 2011-12). In each of the last five seasons, the Jayhawks have a winning record versus AP-ranked opponents, which included a 7-3 mark in 2013-14. Since the 2009-10 season, KU is 41-17 against AP-ranked teams.
HISTORIC ALLEN FIELDHOUSE CELEBRATING 60 YEARS
Kansas played its 60th season in historic Allen Fieldhouse in 2014-15 and the Jayhawks responded by going 15-0 for the school’s 18th all-time undefeated season and the fifth time in the Bill Self era. The Jayhawks have sold out of 227-straight games in the Fieldhouse and are 728-109 (87.0 percent) all-time in the facility. At 190-9 (95.9 percent) in 12 seasons, Bill Self has won more Big 12 titles (11) than lost home games (9) in Allen Fieldhouse.
REPRESENTING THE USA
Kansas men’s basketball will represent the United States at the 2015 World University Games, July 3-14, in Gwangju, Korea, KU officials announced in June 2014. The Kansas basketball team was selected by the United States International University Sports Federation (US-IUSF) to represent the United States in the World University Games. Kansas was selected as the team to represent the U.S. from the schools that expressed interest. Twenty-four teams will compete in the 2015 Games. There will be four pools of six teams each. Following pool competition, the teams will be seeded for bracket play with the top two teams from each pool battling for a medal. With more than 150 countries competing in 21 sports, the World University Games are held every two years and are governed by the International University Sports Federation. Only current university student-athletes or recent graduates, born between Jan. 1, 1990, and Dec. 31, 1997, are eligible for the 2015 Games. For Kansas’ participation, only U.S. citizens can compete and incoming freshmen and transfers qualify.
A Kansas victory against New Mexico State would advance the Jayhawks to play the winner of the (7) Wichita State-(10) Indiana contest on Sunday, March 22, in CenturyLink Center Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska. Tip time and TV will be determined Friday evening.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.