Elite Eight preview: Kansas faces No. 3 seed Oregon on Saturday night
NCAA Elite Eight®
(1) Kansas vs. (3) Oregon
For the second game, conference champions collide when No. 1 seed Kansas (31-4, 16-2 Big 12) faces No. 3 seed Oregon (32-5, 16-2 Pac-12) in the NCAA Championship Midwest Regional final, March 25, at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri, at 7:49 p.m. (Central) on TBS.
Kansas won its 13th-straight, 17th Big 12 and NCAA record 60th regular-season conference title in 2017 with a 16-2 record. The 13-consecutive titles ties for the longest streak in NCAA Division I history with UCLA (1967-79). Oregon won the 2017 Pac-12 Conference regular-season title with a 16-2 league record. The two teams are meeting for the second time in NCAA Championship history with the first in 2002, a Kansas 104-86 win in the Elite Eight, Midwest Regional final, in Madison, Wisconsin.
Ranked No. 3 in the latest Associated Press and USA TODAY Coaches polls, Kansas is making its 46th NCAA Championship appearance and its 28th-consecutive trip to the tournament, the longest active streak in the nation and the longest in tournament history, surpassing North Carolina’s 27 from 1975-2001.
This marks the eighth-straight season that the Jayhawks have earned a No. 1 or No. 2 seed. In head coach Bill Self’s 14 seasons in Lawrence, KU has never been seeded lower than fourth. Since seeding began in 1979, Kansas has been a No. 1 13 times, including seven times under Self (2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016 and 2017).
Kansas is playing its second-straight and 22nd NCAA Championship regional final contest. The Jayhawks are 14-7 in regional final play and last advanced to the Final Four in 2012 where they finished runner-up to Kentucky in New Orleans.
Kansas is 17-3 in games not played in Allen Fieldhouse this season. The Jayhawks average 83.9 points per game and have a +12.0 scoring margin. Kansas leads the Big 12 with a 49.2 field goal percentage and a 41.1 3-point field goal percentage. KU averages 38.9 rebounds per contest, which also leads the Big 12. KU has a +4.6 rebound margin. The Jayhawks also average 16.3 assists, 7.0 steals and 4.6 blocked shots per contest.
2017 Big 12 Player of the Year senior G Frank Mason III has already earned numerous National Player of the Year and first-team All-America honors as the Big 12’s leader in scoring with a 20.9 average. Mason leads Kansas in three NCAA Championship games with a 22.7 scoring average and has reached the 20-point plateau in all three NCAA contests. Mason is the only conference player averaging 20 points or more this season. Mason has 22 games of 20 points or more, including his last six and 11 of his last 13 contests. Mason has led Kansas in scoring in 26 games in 2016-17. He also leads the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage at 48.2 percent after his 4-for-5 effort from beyond the arc against Purdue (3/23). With his 5.2 assists per game, he is vying to become the first player in Big 12 and KU history to average 20 or more points and 5.0 or more assists in the same season.
Also listed on numerous All-America teams is freshman G Josh Jackson, the 2017 Big 12 Freshman of the Year. Joining Mason on the All-Big 12 First Team and a seven-time Big 12 Newcomer of the Week in 2016-17, Jackson is second on the team in scoring at 16.5 points per game. The two-time Big 12 Player of the Week has eight double-doubles in his last 14 outings after his 15 points and 12 rebounds against Purdue (3/23). Jackson’s 7.2 rebounds per game are second on the team and he leads KU with 37 blocked shots and 58 steals which included four against Purdue. Jackson averages 18.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in his first three NCAA Championship games.
An All-Big 12 Second Team selection, junior G Devonte’ Graham is averaging 20.0 points in three NCAA Championship contests after his 26 points versus Purdue (3/23). He has made 13 3-pointers in the 2017 event and dating back to last year’s Elite Eight game, has made four treys in each of his last four NCAA contests. Graham has made 23 3-pointers in his last six games and multiple treys in 16 of his last 17 contests. He has made 52 threes in KU’s last 17 outings. Graham is second on the team with 55 steals and leads KU with 94 3-pointers. He is second on the team in assists with 147. Junior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk averages 9.7 points per game, which includes 11.7 in three NCAA Championship contests. Mykhailiuk has scored 53 points in his last four games (13.3 ppg) with nine 3-pointers made. A two-time Academic All-Big 12 selection, Mykhailiuk has made 68 3-pointers for the season. An All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection, senior C Landen Lucas has pulled down 10 or more rebounds 13 times this season with all 13 in KU’s last 24 contests. An Academic All-Big 12 First Team honoree, Lucas finished second the Big 12 in league games in rebounding at 10.0 boards per outing. In all games, he leads KU with an 8.4 rebound average, including 8.7 rpg in NCAA Championship play. Lucas is scoring 7.9 points per game overall and leads KU with a 64.1 field goal percentage.
Sophomore G Lagerald Vick is one of the first Jayhawks off the bench and is scoring 7.4 points for the season. He scored 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting against Purdue (3/23). Vick averages 24.3 minutes per game and has made 33 3-pointers. Sophomore F Carlton Bragg Jr., is another player off the bench early and averages 13.8 minutes, 5.2 points and 4.1 rebounds. Junior F Dwight Coleby has been a spark each of the last two games averaging 11.0 minutes, 2.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game against Michigan State (3/19) and Purdue (3/23). Coleby has appeared in 23 games and is averaging 1.8 points and 1.9 rebounds this season. Freshman F Mitch Lightfoot has come off the bench in 11 of the last 15 games. He averages 3.9 minutes, 0.9 points and 1.0 rebounds in 26 games played this season.
Kansas leads the overall series with Oregon, 4-3, in a series which dates back to 1947. The two teams played back-to-back games in Eugene, Oregon, on Dec. 29 and 30 in 1947 with Oregon winning both contests. KU then won three straight against Oregon in 1973 in Lawrence (67-49), in 1984 (66-49) at the Great Alaska Shootout and in 2002 (104-86) at the NCAA Championship Midwest Regional final, or Elite Eight, in Madison, Wisconsin. Oregon defeated Kansas, 84-78, in Portland on Dec. 7, 2002, and KU also won the last meeting, 77-67, on Dec. 13, 2003, at Kemper Arena in Kansas City.
Kansas senior C Landen Lucas’ father, Richard, was a standout at Oregon from 1987-91. Landen grew up in Japan while his father was playing basketball professionally. Landen was born in Portland, Oregon, moved back to Japan, then moved back to Portland where he was a standout at Westview High School … Oregon head coach Dana Altman coached four seasons at Kansas State from 1990-91 to 1993-94 when KU and K-State were members of the Big Eight Conference. Altman was 2-8 against Kansas while he was at K-State.
A KANSAS WIN WOULD …
Make Kansas 32-4 and give KU 32 victories for the second-straight season and 10th time in school history with seven of those in the Bill Self era … Advance the Jayhawks to their 15th Final Four, including their third under Self (2008, 2012) … Make KU 18-3 away from Allen Fieldhouse this season … Make Kansas 104-44 all-time in NCAA Championship games … Make the Kansas-Oregon series 5-3 in favor of KU … Make Self 417-87 while at Kansas, 624-192 all-time and 44-17 in the NCAA Tournament (34-12 while at KU) … Make Kansas 2,218-840 all-time.
A KANSAS LOSS WOULD …
End Kansas’ season at 31-5 … Make Kansas 17-4 away from Allen Fieldhouse this season … Tie the Kansas-Oregon series at 4-4 … Make Bill Self 416-88 while at Kansas, 623-193 all-time and 43-18 in the NCAA Tournament (33-13 while at Kansas) … Make Kansas 2,217-841 all-time.
• Kansas improved to 35-11 as a No. 1 seed.
• Kansas becomes the first team since Connecticut in 1995 to score 90-plus points in each of its first three games of the tournament.
• KU made 15 three-pointers in the contest, good for its most made in an NCAA Championship game. KU’s previous record was 13 3-pointers set against Niagara in 2007. The Jayhawks also won that game, 107-67.
• KU and Purdue combined for the second-most three-pointers made in a Regional Semifinal game. The two teams shot 25-55 from behind the arc.
• Freshman G Josh Jackson finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds to notch his 12th double-double of the season, a KU freshman record which ties for the 17th most in a KU season.
• The Jayhawk backcourt duo of senior Frank Mason III and junior Devonte’ Graham each poured in 26 points. From 7:39 to 4:19 in the second half, Graham scored 11-straight points for KU.
• With his seven assists, Mason moved into seventh on the KU career assists list, currently at 572. He passed Adonis Jordan’s 568 from 1990-93.
• Graham moved into 45th on the KU career scoring list, currently at 1,072 points. With 26 points, he passed four Jayhawks on the KU career scoring list.
• Kansas has nine games this season with double-digit deficits. KU is 7-2 in those contests with six of those victories against conference foes.
• KU has outrebounded each of its last three and seven of its last eight opponents. Kansas is 19-1 when outboarding foes this season.
• Kansas is averaging 8.9 3-pointers made per game with a 41.1 3-point field goal percentage. KU’s 313 3-pointers are the most for a season surpassing last year’s record of 304 treys.
• Kansas averages 83.9 points per game which is the highest scoring average in the Bill Self era (2003-04 to present) and the highest since the 2001-02 Jayhawks scored 90.9 points per contest.
• Kansas has shot 50 percent or better in each of its last three games and five of its last six with 18 times total this season. The Jayhawks are 17-1 when shooting 50 percent or better in 2016-17.
• The Jayhawks are 145-for-190 (76.3 percent) from the free throw line in their last nine games. KU shot 70.8 percent at the charity stripe in Big 12 play. In nonconference games KU had a 58.9 free throw percentage.
• Senior G Frank Mason III leads the Big 12 in scoring at 20.9 points per game and 3-point field goal percentage (48.2).
• Mason is 100-for-116 (86.2 percent) from the free throw line in his last 14 games, making 7.1 charity shots per contest in that span.
• Mason made 50.0 percent (43-for-86) from 3-point range and 2.4 treys per game in Big 12 play.
• Mason has led KU in scoring in 25 of 35 games this season, including five of the last six and eight of the last 10 contests. Mason has 22 games of 20 or more points, including the last six and nine of the last 10 outings.
• Freshman G Josh Jackson has eight double-doubles in his last 13 games. His 12 double-doubles on the season, eight against Big 12 foes, rank fourth in the conference. His 12 DDs are a Kansas freshman record.
• In his last 15 outings (dating back to Jan. 24 at West Virginia), Jackson has scored 275 points and grabbed 119 rebounds for an average of 18.3 ppg and 7.9 rpg in that span.
• Jackson is 23-for-45 (51.1 percent) from beyond the arc in his last 15 games.
• In the win against Michigan State (3/19), Jackson broke the Kansas freshman record for field goals made, currently at 217. He surpassed Danny Manning’s 209 set in 1985. Jackson also ranks on the freshman list in points (third at 562), scoring average (second at 16.5), rebounds (third at 246), blocked shots (tied for sixth at 37) and steals (tied for fourth at 58).
• Senior C Landen Lucas leads KU with a 64.1 percent field goal percentage for all games.
• Junior G Devonte’ Graham has made four or more treys in 11 games this season, including his last three and five of his last six contests.
• Against Oklahoma State (3/4), Graham became the 59th player in KU history to score 1,000 career points, currently ranking 45th at 1,072.
• Junior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk’s 4-for-8 effort from 3-point range against TCU (3/9) in the Big 12 Championship marked his fourth game with four treys this season.
• Mykhailiuk has made multiple 3-pointers in 12 of his last 17 games.
KANSAS vs. THE NCAA TOURNAMENT FIELD
Kansas has faced 10 NCAA Championship teams in 2016-17 with a 13-2 record. Those include No. 3 seed Baylor (2-0), No. 10 seed Oklahoma State (2-0), No. 11 seed Kansas State (2-0), No. 2 seed Duke (1-0), No. 2 seed Kentucky (1-0), No. 5 seed Iowa State (1-1), No. 4 seed West Virginia (1-1), No. 4 seed Purdue (1-0), No. 16 seed UC Davis (1-0) and No. 9 seed Michigan State (1-0).
Kansas is the No. 1 seed for the 13th time since the NCAA Championship started seeding in 1979: 1986-92-95-97-98-2002-07-08-10-11-13-16-17. This is the seventh time KU has been a No. 1 seed under Bill Self. KU is 35-11 as a No. 1 seed and has advanced to three Final Fours (1986, 2002 and 2008) as the No. 1 seed. KU’s 45 games played as a No. 1 seed are its most in the NCAA Championship. It’s No. 2 seed is next with 27 games.
KANSAS IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
• This year marks Kansas’ 46th NCAA Tournament appearance.
• Kansas’ 28-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, from 1990-2017, is the nation’s longest active streak and the best all time surpassing North Carolina’s 27 straight from 1975-2001.
• Under head coach Bill Self, Kansas is 33-12 (73.3 percent) in the NCAA Tournament with nine Sweet 16s, seven Elite Eights, two Final Fours, one NCAA National Championship and one NCAA runner-up finish.
• In the last 16 NCAA Tournaments, including 2017, Kansas has a 42-14 (75.0 percent) record with one NCAA National Championship (2008), four Final Four (2002-03-08-12) and nine Elite Eight (2002-03-04-07-08-11-12-16-17) appearances.
• Kansas’ 46 NCAA Tournament appearances are tied for third nationally: Kentucky (55), North Carolina (48), UCLA (46).
• Kansas sports an all-time NCAA Tournament record of 103-44. The Jayhawks’ 103 wins trail only Kentucky (123), North Carolina (119) and Duke (110).
• The Jayhawks will play their 149th NCAA Tournament game on Saturday. The Jayhawks’ 148 games in the event rank fourth all-time in NCAA history, behind Kentucky (172), North Carolina (164) and UCLA (149).
• Entering 2017, KU’s NCAA Tournament winning percentage of 69.4 percent ranks sixth all-time for a minimum of 20 games played.
• Kansas coach Bill Self is making his 19th-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament as a head coach, which is fifth-best consecutive string in tourney history by a head coach: 23 Dean Smith (1975-97), 22 Mike Krzyzewski, (1996-2017), 20 Tom Izzo (1998-2017), 20 Roy Williams (1990-2009), 19 Bill Self (1999-2016), 17 Rick Barnes (1996-2012). Self, Krzyzewski and Izzo are the only active streaks.
• KU is one of eight schools that have won at least three NCAA Tournaments. 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 (19), UCLA (17), Kentucky (17), Duke (16), KANSAS (14), 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 (17), North Carolina (16) and Indiana (12).
• Five different Jayhawks have been named NCAA Championship 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 Championship.
• 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.
• 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 three 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. Roy Williams took Kansas in 1991 and 2003 and North Carolina in 2005, 2009 and 2016.
• 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.
KANSAS VS. RANKED TEAMS
With its 98-66 win against No. 15/15 Purdue, Kansas is 6-2 against ranked foes in 2016-17. 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, KU is 74-40 against ranked foes and has only had one non-.500 record, that being his first in 2003-04. In each of the past two seasons, KU has played a season-high 16 games vs. ranked foes.
THIS DATE IN KANSAS BASKETBALL HISTORY
Kansas is 6-2 all-time on March 25.
March 25, 1952: Senior Clyde Lovellette led all scorers with 33 points as Kansas cruised to a 74-55 victory over Santa Clara in its first game of the 1952 Final Four in Seattle, Washington. Senior Dean Kelley and junior Charlie Hoag added 10 points each for the Jayhawks. The game was never close, as KU led by as many as 18 points in the second quarter. Kansas advanced to play St. John’s in the national championship the next day, which KU won by a score of 80-63, marking the Jayhawks’ third national championship and the first in the NCAA Tournament after it was established in 1939. Kansas finished the season with a 28-3 record, including an 11-1 mark in conference play to win the Big Seven title.
Should Kansas win, the Jayhawks will advance to its 15th Final Four, its third under head coach Bill Self and its first since 2012.
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