No. 11 Kansas to Host Florida in SEC/Big 12 Challenge Friday
SEC/Big 12 Challenge
No. 11/11 Kansas (5-1) returns home to Allen Fieldhouse when it plays No. 24 Florida (3-3) in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge presented by Sonic, Friday, Dec. 5, at 8 p.m. (Central) on ESPN. The Jayhawks have won four-straight games, which included the Orlando Classic title over Thanksgiving weekend. Florida went 1-2 at the Battle4Atlantis placing sixth in the event. This is the seventh of 10 games in the second SEC/Big 12 Challenge which runs from Dec. 3-6. Since the start of the 2012-13 campaign, Big 12 teams are 18-9 (.667) against SEC foes. Included was a 7-3 record in the inaugural SEC/Big 12 Challenge.
SEC/Big 12 Challenge (all times Central)
Wednesday, December 3
Auburn at Texas Tech (ESPN3/SEC Network), 8 p.m.
Thursday, December 4
Baylor at Vanderbilt (ESPNU), 6 p.m.
LSU at West Virginia (ESPN2), 6 p.m.
Arkansas at Iowa State (ESPN2), 8 p.m.
TCU at Mississippi (ESPNU), 8 p.m.
Friday, December 5
Texas at Kentucky (ESPN), 6 p.m.
Florida at Kansas (ESPN), 8 p.m.
Missouri at Oklahoma (ESPNU), 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 6
Oklahoma State at South Carolina (ESPNU), 11 a.m.
Kansas State at Tennessee (ESPN2), 2:15 p.m.
No. 11/11 Kansas (5-1) won its fourth-straight game with a 61-56 win versus No. 20/19 Michigan State on Nov. 30 to win the Orlando Classic title. KU won its three games in Orlando by an average of 12.0 points. For the season, the Jayhawks average 69.2 points and have a +6.8 scoring margin. KU is outrebounding foes 40.8 to 33.0 and averaging 12.5 assists, 5.5 steals and 4.7 blocked shots per game. Kansas has nine players who average 10 or more minutes per game.
Orlando Classic Most Valuable Player, junior F Perry Ellis lit it up in Orlando where he averaged 19.3 points and 9.0 rebounds in KU’s three victories. Named the Big 12 Player of the Week and CBSSports.com National Player of the Week (12/1), included was Ellis’ second double-double of 2014-15 with 24 points and 13 rebounds against Tennessee (11/28) which are both season highs for a Jayhawk. For the season, Ellis leads KU with 15.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. He has made a team-high 34 free throws. Sophomore G Frank Mason III joined Ellis on the Orlando Classic All-Tournament Team after his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds versus Michigan State (11/30). Mason averages 9.8 points per game, leads KU with seven steals and is tied for the team high with 22 assists along with sophomore G Wayne Selden, Jr. Selden scored a season-high 12 points versus Tennessee. He is averaging 7.7 points per game. Rounding out KU’s starters are freshman G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and sophomore F Landen Lucas. Mykhailiuk is coming off a season-high 11 points versus Michigan State, which included three three-pointers. He scores 6.0 points per game and is tied for the team-high with seven three-pointers made. Lucas averages 4.0 points and 3.8 rebounds. Lucas tied his season-high with five rebounds against Tennessee.
Freshman F Cliff Alexander is third on the team in scoring at 9.7 points per game, which included a season-high 16 points against Tennessee. His 6.0 rebounds per game are second behind Ellis and his nine blocked shots, including four versus Michigan State, are tied for the team lead with junior F Jamari Traylor. Traylor has two starts this season and is averaging 3.8 points and 4.2 rebounds. Sophomore G Brannen Greene scores 5.3 points per game, while freshman G Devonte’ Graham is at 5.2 ppg. Greene is tied with Mykhailiuk with a team-best seven three-pointers made, including two each in three of his last four games. Freshman G Kelly Oubre, Jr., has one start and averages 2.2 points per game. Ellis, Selden, Alexander and Oubre are on the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 list as KU is one of only two schools, Kentucky being the other, to have four on the list.
Located in Gainesville, Florida, with an enrollment of 49,042, Florida is 3-3 on the season after going 1-2 in the Battle4Atlantis, Nov. 26-28. Florida entered the season ranked No. 7 in both national polls. The Gators are coached by Billy Donovan who is 454-172 in his 19th season at UF and 492-192 in his 21st season overall. The Kansas contest will be the first true road game of the season for Florida. UF averages 63.5 points and has a +3.8 scoring margin. The Gators are outrebounding foes 37.7 to 33.0 and make 6.0 three-pointers per game. Florida forces 14.8 turnovers per game and averages 11.7 assists.
Junior G Michael Frazier II leads Florida in scoring at 15.2 points per game. He has made a team-best 14 three-pointers and is second on the squad with seven steals and a 6.5 rebound average. Senior C Jon Horford leads UF in rebounds with 7.0 per contest and in blocked shots with 10. He and junior F Dorian Finney-Smith score 10.3 points per game. Finney-Smith has a 5.0 rebound average. Rounding out the Florida starters are sophomore G Kasey Hill (8.2 ppg, team-best 21 assists) and senior F Jacob Kurtz (4.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg). Redshirt junior G Eli Carter is second on the team with six three-pointers made as he scores 9.0 points per game. Freshman G Chris Chiozza leads UF with 16 steals to complement his 5.3 scoring average. Other Florida regulars include sophomore F Chris Walker (5.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and freshman F Devin Robinson (4.2 ppg, 2.5 rpg).
Though there have only been five games in this series, the Kansas-Florida match-ups have been highly touted. Kansas leads 3-2; three of the five meetings have pitted top-10 nationally ranked teams against each other. The 2014 meeting will be just the second that one team has not ranked in the top 10 at tip. Last year, No. 19 Florida defeated No. 13 Kansas, 67-61, in the inaugural Big 12/SEC Challenge on Dec. 10, 2013, in Gainesville, Florida.
In the first meeting, No. 5 Kansas defeated No. 6 Florida 69-63 in Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 7, 1994. KU was ranked No. 3 when the Jayhawks defeated the Gators 69-64 on Jan. 11, 1996, in Gainesville. No. 7 Florida bested No. 2 Kansas in the third meeting, 83-73, on Nov. 29, 2003, in the consolation finals of the Preseason NIT at Madison Square Garden.
During the 2006-07 season, No. 10 Kansas defeated top-ranked Florida, 82-80, in overtime on Nov. 25, 2006, in the championship game of the Las Vegas Invitational. Florida went on to win its second-straight NCAA National Championship that season, while Kansas claimed the national title the following year (2008).
- In Kansas’ four-game winning streak, the Jayhawks have outscored opponents by 15.8 points per game and have outrebounded foes by 10.3 boards. Also in that span, KU has averaged 15.0 assists and is shooting 48.1 percent from the field.
- Sophomore G Frank Mason III has led KU in assists in each of the last three games. He averaged 5.7 assists in KU’s three wins in Orlando. Mason is shooting 61.1 percent from the field in his last three games.
- With his season-high four blocked shots against Michigan State, freshman F Cliff Alexander has led KU in blocks in each of the last three games. He is tied for the team lead with nine blocked shots, along with junior F Jamari Traylor.
- Traylor is 7-for-12 (58.3 percent) from the field in his last four contests.
- Junior F Perry Ellis has led the Jayhawks in scoring in each of the last four contests and has counted for 17 or more points in each of those games.
- Sophomore F Landen Lucas is 9-for-11 (81.8 percent) from the floor since he entered the starting lineup four games ago.
In the Polls
In the Dec. 1 national polls, Kansas men’s basketball is ranked No. 11 in both the Associated Press and the USA Today Coaches’ polls. The Jayhawks have been ranked in each of the last 108 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 114 polls and in the top five on 53 occasions.
Versus Ranked Teams
With its win versus No. 20 Michigan State on Nov. 30, under KU head coach Bill Self, since the 2003-04 season, Kansas is 55-30 against Associated Press-ranked teams. In each of the last five seasons the Jayhawks have a winning record versus ranked foes, including a 7-3 mark in 2013-14. Since the 2009-10 season, KU is 33-13 against ranked teams.
Kansas Men’s Hoops to Host Holiday Clinic Dec. 28
Kansas men’s basketball program will hold its annual Men’s Basketball Holiday Clinic for boys and girls ages first through sixth grade on Sunday, Dec. 28, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., in Allen Fieldhouse. The annual clinic, hosted by current KU players, coaches and staff, will include fundamental instruction, an official camp T-shirt, a Junior Jayhawk basketball and one general admission ticket to KU’s Dec. 30 home game against Kent State. Additionally, there will be an autograph session with the current KU team and coaches following the clinic.
The cost of the clinic is $85 and pre-registration must be done online at www.billselfbasketballcamp.com. No walk-up registration will be taken on the date of the clinic. Families with a child attending the clinic can purchase a maximum of two additional Kent State tickets at check-in on Dec. 28 ($50/per ticket). These can be purchased only at check-in (cash or credit card) and will not be available to be purchased online. Check-in begins at 11 a.m., and lasts until 11:50 a.m., in the south end of Allen Fieldhouse. Parents are welcome to watch and take pictures from the second level of Allen Fieldhouse during the clinic.
Kansas will travel to Washington, D.C., to face Georgetown on Wednesday, Dec. 10. The KU-Georgetown game will begin at 6 p.m. (Central) and will be televised on Fox Sports 1. On Saturday, Dec. 13, KU will head to Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri, to host Utah in the Kansas City Shootout. The game will start at 2:15 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN.
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