Blue Bloods Kansas and Kentucky set to clash Saturday in Lexington
No. 2/1 Kansas (18-2, 7-1) continues its road trip against nationally-ranked foes when it travels to No. 4/4 Kentucky (17-3, 7-1) in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, Saturday, Jan. 28, at 5:15 p.m. Central. Kansas is looking to bounce back from an 85-69 loss at No. 18/18 West Virginia Jan. 24. The loss ended a KU 18-game winning streak and was its first in Big 12 play. Kentucky is also coming off a road loss at Tennessee, 82-80, which ended a six-game winning streak.
ESPN College GameDay will originate from Rupp Arena on Jan. 28. The weekly-traveling telecast has visited Lawrence five times in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013 and 2015. Saturday marks the 13th time the Jayhawks will be featured on GameDay, with appearances as the road team in 2006, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2015.
SEC/BIG 12 CHALLENGE
This is the fourth year for the SEC/Big 12 Challenge and the second straight all 10 games in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge will take place in one day. The Big 12 has won the event each of its first three seasons posting a 7-3 mark last year, 6-4 two seasons ago and a 7-3 record in 2013-14 for a 20-10 (.667) mark overall.
Kansas is 2-1 in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, having split with Florida, in 2013-14 and 2014-15, as both teams claimed home victories and KU’s overtime home win versus Kentucky last year. Dating back to 2007 against the Pac-10, the Big 12 is 48-30 in its last two conference challenges, with Kansas posting a 4-2 record (1-1 vs. Arizona, 2-0 vs. UCLA, 1-1 vs. Florida) in those.
KANSAS-KENTUCKY QUICK HITS
• These are the top-two winningest programs in NCAA Division I college basketball with Kentucky first at 2,222 wins and Kansas second at 2,204 victories.
• The blue-blood programs combine for 31 Final Fours with Kentucky at 17 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.
• Kansas leads the NCAA in conference men’s basketball titles with 59, including the last 12-straight Big 12 titles. Kentucky is second with 47 SEC titles.
• 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. The 1923 Jayhawks were later awarded the Helms Foundation national championship.
COACHES VS. CANCER SUITS & SNEAKERS
Kansas will be participating Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Awareness Week, Jan. 23-29, 2017. The week is a collaborative initiative of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and the American Cancer Society where more than 4,000 high school and college men’s basketball coaches and staffs will swap their dress shoes for sneakers with their usual attire during games. One can show their support by visiting cancer.org. Kentucky honored the annual event by wearing sneakers at Tennessee on Jan. 24.
Kansas had its 18-game winning streak end at West Virginia on Jan. 24. The streak tied for the second longest in the Bill Self era. KU averages 84.6 points per game and has scored 80 or more in 14 of 20 games this season, including five of the last eight contests. KU has a +13.6 scoring margin. Kansas leads the Big 12 and is seventh nationally with a 49.8 field goal percentage. KU leads the league with a 41.8 3-point field goal percentage, which is fifth in NCAA Division I. KU has outrebounded three of its last four opponents and averages 40.2 rebounds per contest, which also leads the Big 12. KU has a +5.9 rebound margin and also averages 17.5 assists, 7.1 steals and 5.0 blocked shots per contest.
Two-time Big 12 Player of the Week in 2016-17, senior G Frank Mason III is having a national player of the year season. He leads the conference in scoring with a 19.9 average and his 20.1 points per game in league play are also tops in the Big 12. Mason has 10 games of 20 points or more and has led Kansas in scoring in 15 of 20 games this season. Mason leads the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage at 52.8 percent. He is fifth in 3-pointers made at 2.4 per game. Freshman G Josh Jackson is coming off a career-high-tying 22 points at West Virginia (1/24) where he was 4-for-4 from 3-point range. Jackson has been named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week twice in the month of January and four times overall in 2016-17. His 15.5 scoring average is eighth in the Big 12 and first among conference freshmen. Jackson is ninth in the Big 12 in rebounds at 6.6 boards per contest. Jackson leads KU with 26 blocked shots and he is tied for first on the team with 32 steals. Junior G Devonte’ Graham is averaging 17.5 points in his last two games and shooting 60 percent (12-for-20) in that span. Graham has made seven 3-pointers in his last two games and averages 13.7 points per outing on the season. He is tied with Jackson for the team lead with 32 steals. Graham leads KU with 49 3-pointers and his 2.6 made are third in the Big 12. His 3.0 assist-to-turnover ratio is also third in the conference. Junior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is coming off a career-high seven assists at West Virginia (1/24). He averages 10.8 points per game and has made multiple 3-pointers in each of his last three contests and 15 times this season. Mykhailiuk is fourth in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage at 42.3 percent. Senior C Landen Lucas leads the Big 12 in conference games in rebounding at 11.3 rpg. He has pulled down 10 or more rebounds in seven games this season, including six Big 12 contests. Lucas is scoring 7.3 points per game.
Sophomore G Lagerald Vick has started five games this season and is averaging 7.8 points per game. He has pulled down 14 rebounds in his last four games and averages 3.4 boards per contest. Sophomore F Carlton Bragg Jr., has scored 20 points in his last three games and is averaging 6.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game on the season. Freshman F Mitch Lightfoot came off the bench at West Virginia logging eight minutes. He averages 1.1 points and 1.2 rebounds in 15 games played this season.
Located in Lexington, Kentucky, with an enrollment 30,000, Kentucky is 17-3 on the season and 7-1 in SEC play. The Wildcats are coach by Naismith Hall of Fame member John Calipari who is 234-50 in his eighth season at UK and 637-188 in his 25th season overall. Kentucky is third nationally with a 92.2 scoring average and third in scoring margin at +19.7. The Wildcats are ninth nationally in rebounds per game at 40.9 and have a +5.6 rebound margin. Kentucky makes 18.6 free throws and 7.4 3-pointers per game. Its 17.8 assists per contest are eighth in NCAA Division I and its 1.5 assist-to-turnover ratio is also eighth. The Wildcats also average 6.4 steals and 6.2 blocked shots per game.
Freshman G Malik Monk leads Kentucky in scoring at 21.9 points per game, which is 14th in the nation. He has made a team-high 61 3-pointers and is making 82.9 percent (68-of-82) from the free throw line. Freshman G De’Aaron Fox leads Kentucky with 118 assists and 32 steals. Fox averages 16.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Sophomore G Isaiah Briscoe scores 14.1 points per game and pulls down 4.8 rebounds per contest. Freshman F Edrice Adebayo leads Kentucky with 6.9 rebounds per game and 34 blocked shots. Adebayo scores 13.5 points per outing. Freshman F Wenyen Gabriel rounds out the UK starters. He averages 6.0 points per game and is second on the team with 6.3 rebounds per contest and 24 blocked shots. Other UK regulars include senior F Derek Willis (7.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 21 3-pointers), senior G Mychal Mulder (6.5 ppg, 23 3-pointers), sophomore F Isaac Humphries (3.7 ppg) and senior G Dominique Hawkins (3.1 ppg).
Kentucky leads the all-time series with Kansas, 22-7. Kansas ended a Kentucky three-game series winning streak with a 90-84 overtime win in last year’s Big12/SEC Challenge, Jan. 30, 2016, in Allen Fieldhouse. 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. On Nov. 18, 2014, then-No. 1 Kentucky defeated Kansas 72-40 in the Champions Classic in Indianapolis. 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. Kansas coach Bill Self is 4-4 against Kentucky, 4-3 while at Kansas. Kentucky coach John Calipari is 3-4 versus Kansas.
• Kansas leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 49.8 percent, 3-point field goal percentage at 41.8 percent and rebounding at 40.2 per game. Additionally, KU ranks in the upper half in the Big 12 in W-L Percentage (second at 90.0), scoring (third at 84.6), scoring margin (third at +13.6), field goal percentage defense (second at 41.0), rebound margin (second at +5.9), assists (second at 17.5), assist-to-turnover ratio (fourth at 1.4) and blocked shots (third at 5.0).
• During Big 12 play, KU is shooting 69.5 percent at the charity stripe. In nonconference games KU had a 59.2 free throw percentage.
• Senior G Frank Mason III leads the Big 12 in scoring at 19.9 points per game, 3-point field goal percentage (52.8) and is fourth in assists at 5.2 per game, fifth in 3-pointers made per game (2.4) and seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2).
• Mason is making 56.8 percent (21-for-37) from 3-point range in Big 12 play.
• Mason has led KU in scoring in 14 of 20 games this season, including nine of the last 13 contests.
• Senior C Landen Lucas is averaging nearly a double-double in Big 12 play with 9.5 ppg and 11.3 rpg averages, which is first in the league.
• Freshman G Josh Jackson ranks eighth in the Big 12 in scoring at 15.5 ppg, which leads the conference freshman class. His 6.6 rebounds per game are ninth in the league and he is tied for ninth with 1.6 steals per game.
• Junior G Devonte’ Graham has two 20-point games this season with both against Big 12 foes. Graham’s 18 points against Texas (1/21) marked the first time this season he has led KU in scoring.
• Graham is 22-of-55 (40.0 percent) from 3-point range in Big 12 play and 39.2 in all games from beyond the arc.
• Graham has 25 assists and seven turnovers in his last five games. He also has nine steals in that span.
• Junior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk has made multiple 3-pointers in each of his last three games and four of his last five. He is tied for seventh in the Big 12 in 3-point field goals made at 2.2 per game and fourth in 3-point field goal percentage at 42.3.
IN THE POLLS
Kansas moved to No. 1 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll on Jan. 16 and remained at the top spot on Jan. 23. The Jayhawks have been No. 2 in the Associated Press (AP) Top 25 in back-to-back weeks behind AP-No. 1 Villanova.
The Jayhawks have been ranked in each of the last 153 AP polls dating back to the 2008-09 season, which is the longest active streak in NCAA Division I. Arizona is second at 89. KU has been ranked in each of the last 158 coaches’ polls.
Here are some active Kansas streaks, all of which lead the nation.
• 12 Big 12 Conference regular-season titles
• 27 NCAA Tournament appearances
• 27 seasons with 20+ wins
• 53 wins at home, including 50 in Allen Fieldhouse
• 153 weeks ranked in AP Top 25
• Won at least 12 league games for 16-straight years.
KANSAS VS. RANKED TEAMS
Kansas opened the 2016-17 season going 1-2 against ranked foes. In 2015-16, KU posted a season-high 12 wins against Associated Press Top 25 teams. The mark surpassed the previous season, 2014-15, of 10. In the Bill Self era, Kansas is 76-38 against ranked opponents and has only had one non-.500 record, that being his first in 2003-04. Each of the past two seasons, Kansas has played a season-high 16 games vs. ranked foes.
THIS DATE IN KANSAS BASKETBALL HISTORY
Kansas is 16-4 all time on Jan. 28
Jan. 28, 1978: Led by senior Ken Koenigs’ 16 points, Kansas defeated Colorado, 85-56, inside Allen Fieldhouse. Koenigs went a perfect 7-for-7 from the field and 2-for-2 from the free throw line. Junior Paul Mokeski used his 7-foot-1 frame to collect a game-high 10 rebounds. Freshmen Wilmore Fowler and Darnell Valentine each added 12 points in the win. Coach Ted Owens led Kansas to a 13-1 league record, winning the Big Eight Conference regular-season title, the sixth under his helm. At the conclusion of the 1978 season, Owens was named National Coach of the Year by Basketball Weekly.
Kansas returns home for two games with the first against No. 5/5 Baylor on Wednesday, Feb. 1, at 8 p.m., on ESPN2. KU will then host Iowa State on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 1 p.m., on ESPN. KU will play its second of four ESPN Big Monday contests at Kansas State, Feb. 6, at 8 p.m.
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