No. 6/7 Kansas Men's Hoops Travels to Colorado Saturday
FORMER CONFERENCE FOES
No. 6/7 Kansas (6-1) returns to action when it faces former Big Seven, Big Eight and Big 12 Conference foe Colorado (8-1), Saturday, Dec. 7, at 2:15 p.m. in Boulder, Colo. The Jayhawks and Buffs played 151 times in league play (from 1948 to 2011) before Colorado moved to the Pac-12 following the 2010-11 season.
Through seven games, Kansas averages 80.1 points and has a plus-12.4 scoring margin. The Jayhawks have outrebounded six of seven opponents, average 38.4 per boards per game and have a plus-7.3 rebound margin. KU is also winning the efficiency battle, having outshot six of its seven opponents. KU has shown its depth with 10 players averaging eight or more minutes per game. KU’s bench has outscored all but one opponent this season and averages 31.4 points per contest.
Sophomore F Perry Ellis leads KU in scoring at 15.1 points per game. He is second on the team in rebounds with a 6.6 average. Ellis was named to the Battle 4 Atlantis All-Tournament Team, which included a 19-point effort versus UTEP. Freshman G Andrew Wiggins is second in scoring at 14.3 points per contest. He leads Kansas with nine steals and is third on the team with 5.6 rebounds per game. Freshman G Wayne Selden, Jr., is next in scoring at 9.4 points per outing. He, Ellis and Wiggins are joined in the starting lineup by junior G Naadir Tharpe (6.3 ppg, team-best 30 assists) and senior F Tarik Black (4.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg). Freshman C Joel Embiid leads Kansas on the boards with a 7.0 rpg average, field goal percentage at 67.6 percent and blocked shots with 16. Embiid averages 9.1 points per game. Freshman G Frank Mason scores 8.9 points per contest and is second on the team with 20 assists and seven steals. Other contributors off the bench include sophomore G Andrew White III (5.3 ppg), sophomore F Jamari Traylor (3.1 ppg, six blocked shots) and freshman G Conner Frankamp (2.4 ppg).
Since losing its opener against Big 12 foe Baylor Nov. 8 in Dallas, Colorado has won eight-straight games and is receiving votes in both national polls. Located in Boulder, Colo., with an enrollment of 29,884, Colorado is coached by former Kansas men’s basketball player Tad Boyle who is 77-39 in his fifth season at Colorado and 133-105 in his nineth season overall. Colorado is 6-0 at home this season in the Coors Events Center. The Buffaloes average 77.2 points and give up 64.9 for a plus-12.3 scoring margin. CU also dominates the boards with a 39.8 rebound average and plus-9.7 rebound margin. Colorado averages 7.2 steals and 13.9 assists per game.
Junior G Spencer Dinwiddie leads Colorado in scoring at 15.3 points per game, which includes 28 points at Colorado State in CU’s last game on Dec. 3, a 67-62 Buff victory. Dinwiddie has made a team-best 13 three-pointers through nine games and has a team-high 30 assists and 15 steals. Sophomore F Josh Scott leads CU in rebounds with an 8.7 average to complement his 12.2 points per game. Junior G Askia Booker scores 11.4 points per contest and is making 89.5 percent of his free throws. He is second behind Dinwiddle with 13 steals, 21 assists and 10 three-pointers. Redshirt freshman F Wesley Gordon is a starter who leads Colorado in blocked shots with 12. He averages 7.6 points per game and is second on the team with 6.3 rebounds per contest. Sophomore F Xavier Johnson (9.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 10 steals) rounds out the CU starters. Other key CU contributors include freshman G Jaron Hopkins (6.2 ppg, seven threes), freshman F Dustin Thomas (4.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg), sophomore G Xavier Talton (4.0 ppg, 17 assists) and freshman G/F Tre’Shaun Fletcher (3.2 ppg).
THE KANSAS-COLORADO SERIES
This series between Kansas and Colorado dates back to 1931 and KU leads 123-39, including a 40-26 record in Boulder (25-7 in the Coors Events Center). Kansas has won 19 straight and 46 of the last 47 meetings with CU dating back to 1991. The last Colorado win in the series was a 60-59 thriller on Jan. 22, 2003, in Boulder. The previous CU win was a 79-71 victory on Feb. 20, 1991, also in Boulder. Kansas advanced to the Final Four in both the 2003 and 1991 seasons. As conference members – Big Seven, Big Eight and Big 12 – Kansas was 116-35 against Colorado, which included 21 meetings in the Big Seven/Eight Holiday Tournament and postseason conference play. As members of the Big 12, Kansas was 31-1 against Colorado – 29-1 in regular-season play and 2-0 in the league championship. In the Bill Self-era, Kansas is 18-0 against Colorado.
Last year Ben McLemore scored 24 points while Kevin Young added 16 points and a team-best eight rebounds in KU’s 90-54 win in Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 8, 2012. Current Jayhawks Naadir Tharpe, Jamari Traylor and Perry Ellis each played more than 10 minutes in the contest, while six Buffs – Josh Scott, Askia Booker, Spencer Dinwiddie, Xavier Johnson, Xavier Talton and Eli Stalzer played 10-plus minutes. Scott led CU with 19 points.
Colorado head coach Tad Boyle, who has guided CU to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, is a Kansas graduate who played for coaches Ted Owens and Larry Brown from 1982-85 and was team captain his senior season. Boyle started 24 of 88 games played for Kansas and had 256 career assists and 61 career steals in his four seasons. During his time as a Jayhawk, Kansas was 5-3 against Colorado.
IN THE POLLS
Kansas is ranked No. 6 by the Associated Press and No. 7 in the USA Today Coaches’ poll released Dec. 2. In the Bill Self era, this is the 155th week Kansas has been ranked in the AP top 25, 112th time in the top 10. KU has been ranked in each of the last 89 polls dating back to the 2008-09 season. In the coaches’ poll, Kansas has been ranked 182 times, including 137 in the top 10 in the Self era. KU has been in each of the last 93 coaches’ polls.
Kansas continues its six-game swing away from Allen Fieldhouse when it plays at current No. 12/15 Florida Tuesday, Dec. 10, in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Kansas will play New Mexico on Dec. 14 in the Kansas City Shootout at Sprint Center and return to Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 21 against national power Georgetown.