No. 5 Kansas to Face No. 1 Kentucky in State Farm Champions Classic Tuesday
State Farm Champions Classic
No. 5/5 Kansas (1-0) will face top-ranked Kentucky (2-0) in the fourth State Farm Champions Classic, Tuesday, Nov. 18, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The game will be the second of a doubleheader and is scheduled to tip at approximately 8 p.m., or 30 minutes following the Duke-Michigan State game which will start at 6 p.m. (Central). The Champions Classic will be televised on ESPN.
Kansas opened the season with a 69-59 win against UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 14 inside historic Allen Fieldhouse. Kentucky has played two home games with an 85-45 victory versus Grand Canyon on Nov. 14 and a 71-52 win against Buffalo on Nov. 16. Kansas is 7-15 all-time versus the Associated Press No. 1 team, including 2-1 under head coach Bill Self.
Kansas-Kentucky Quick Hits
- These are the top two winningest programs in NCAA Division I college basketball with Kentucky first at 2,142 wins and Kansas second at 2,127 victories.
- These two schools have combined for 30 Final Fours with Kentucky at 16 and Kansas at 14.
- KU head coach Bill Self was a graduate assistant at Kansas under Larry Brown in 1985-86. Kentucky coach John Calipari was an assistant coach at Kansas from 1982-85.
- This will be the fourth meeting between Bill Self and John Calipari. Self’s Kansas team won the 2008 NCAA National Championship over Calipari’s Memphis team, 75-68 in overtime, in San Antonio. In 2011-12, Calipari’s Kentucky team defeated Kansas twice: 75-65 in the State Farms Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 15, 2011, and 67-59 in the NCAA Championship game, April 2, 2012, in New Orleans.
- Kansas leads the NCAA in conference men’s basketball titles with 57. Kentucky is second with 51.
- Both schools’ facilities are named after KU greats. Kentucky’s Rupp Arena is named after Adolph Rupp, a native of Halstead, Kansas, and a KU graduate who played at Kansas in 1923 under coach F.C. “Phog” Allen, of which Allen Fieldhouse is named.
Kansas started the 2014-15 season like it has every year since 2001-02, with a victory. The Jayhawks defeated UC Santa Barbara 69-59 to win their 42nd-straight home opener on Nov. 14. Freshman G Devonte’ Graham came off the bench and led KU with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Down 15-14, Graham scored eight points and dished out an assist in a KU 11-2 run. Junior F Perry Ellis recorded his seventh-career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds in the victory. Ellis was 4-for-7 from the field and tied his career high with three steals. Sophomore G Frank Mason III scored 12 points, while sophomore G Wayne Selden, Jr., had 10. Junior F Jamari Traylor pulled down 10 rebounds and had two blocked shots for the game. Sophomore G Brannen Greene (three points) joined Ellis, Mason, Selden and Traylor in the starting lineup.
Five other Jayhawks joined Graham off the bench, led by freshman F Cliff Alexander, who had nine points, four rebounds and one blocked shot. Freshman G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk had a team-best three assists to go along with four points.
Ellis and Selden are KU’s returning starters from the 2013-14 team which won its unprecedented 10th-consecutive Big 12 regular-season title going 25-10 overall and 14-4 in conference play. The Jayhawks advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 25th-straight year, the longest active streak in NCAA Division I. Other key returnees from last season include Traylor (4.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg in 2013-14) and Mason (5.5 ppg, 2.1 assists) who each averaged more than 16 minutes per game last season. Greene (2.4 ppg) and sophomore F Landen Lucas (1.5 ppg) also return.
In the KU system for a year is junior F Hunter Mickelson who transferred from Arkansas last season. He started 25 games in two seasons at Arkansas, from 2012-13, where he averaged 5.3 points, 3.6 rebounds with 111 blocked shots. His 72 blocks in 2011-12 set the Arkansas freshman record.
KU’s newcomers are headlined by Alexander and Kelly Oubre, Jr., who were McDonald’s All-Americans last year.
Located in Lexington, Kentucky, with an enrollment of 28,928, Kentucky is 2-0 on the season after its 71-52 win against Buffalo on Sunday, Nov. 16. The Wildcats are coached by John Calipari who is 154-37 in his sixth season while at UK and 599-177 in his 23rd season overall as a head coach. Through two games, Kentucky is averaging 78.0 points and has a +29.5 scoring margin. The Wildcats crash the boards with 48 rebounds per game and a +25.0 rebound margin. They have also 17 blocked shots and 18 steals in two contests.
Kentucky has a lot of depth as 10 players average 16 or minutes per game. Sophomore twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison, freshman F Karl-Anthony Towns and junior forwards Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress make up the UK starting lineup. Andrew Harrison is the team’s second-leading scorer at 9.5 points per game, while twin Aaron is at 7.5 ppg. Cauley-Stein averages 9.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg and is tied for the team-high with four steals and five blocked shots, while Towns is at 5.5 ppg and 6.5 rpg. Poythress scores 7.5 points per contest.
Off the bench is UK’s leading scorer, freshman F Trey Lyles, at 13.0 points per game and rebounder, sophomore C Dakari Johnson at 12.5 boards per outing. Lyles averages 4.0 rebounds per game, while Johnson scores 9.5 points per contest. Freshman G Tyler Ulis has a team-best five three-pointers and eight assists to complement his 8.5 scoring average. Freshman G Devin Booker is ties with Cauley-Stein with four steals. Booker scored 5.0 points per outing. Sophomore F Marcus Lee (5.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg) also comes off the bench.
Kentucky leads the all-time series with Kansas, 21-6, yet Kansas has won the last three of the last five meetings dating back to 2005. In 2011-12, the two teams met twice with Kentucky claiming both wins: 75-65 in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden and 67-59 in the NCAA title game in New Orleans. Prior to 2011-12, the two teams last met in the second round of the 2007 NCAA West Regional in Chicago with Kansas defeating Kentucky, 88-76. The two teams had a home-and-home series in 2005 and 2006 with KU winning in Lexington 65-59 on Jan. 9, 2005, and 73-46 the following season (Jan. 7, 2006) in Allen Fieldhouse. The series dates back to 1950, a 68-39 UK win in Lexington. Kansas’ single-game record of 150 points came against Kentucky in a 150-95 win over Rick Pitino’s Wildcats on Dec. 9, 1989 in Lawrence.
Champions Classic History
On Nov. 7, 2013, ESPN announced that the State Farm Champions Classic – the neutral site doubleheader series featuring men’s basketball powers Kansas, Duke, Kentucky and Michigan State – will be renewed for three additional years rotating through the cities of Indianapolis (2014), Chicago (2015) and New York City (2016). Kansas will play Kentucky in 2014, Michigan State in 2015 and Duke in 2016.
The inaugural Champions Classic was held at Madison Square Garden in 2011 followed by the Georgia Dome in 2012 and the United Center in Chicago in 2013. In 2011, Kansas and Kentucky’s Champions Classic meeting also became the matchup for the 2012 NCAA National Championship title game in New Orleans. The Wildcats defeated the Jayhawks, 75-65, in the Champions Classic. In 2012, KU fell late to Michigan State in Atlanta, 67-64. KU improved to 1-2 in the Classic with a 94-83 win in Chicago last season.
Kansas vs. Ranked Teams
Under KU head coach Bill Self, since the 2003-04 season, Kansas is 53-28 against Associated Press-ranked teams. In each of the last five seasons the Jayhawks have a winning record versus ranked foes, including a 7-2 mark in 2013-14. In that span, KU is 32-11 against ranked teams.
Kansas returns home on Monday, Nov. 24, at 7 p.m., to host Rider in the opening round of the Orlando Classic. The Rider game will be televised on Jayhawk IMG TV/ESPN3/ESPN Full Court. KU will then head to Orlando, Florida, for bracket play in the Orlando Classic. KU will face Rhode Island at 1:30 p.m. (Central) on Thanksgiving Day and either Tennessee or Santa Clara the following day, Nov. 28, at 11 a.m. The event concludes on Sunday, Nov. 30.
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