Jayhawks and Mountaineers to meet in Big 12 final Saturday
Freshman F Silvio De Sousa
|GM 33: Big 12 Championship // Final|
|5 p.m. (CT)|
|Sprint Center (18,972)|
|Record||26-7, 13-5||24-9, 11-7|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 9/9 Kansas (26-7, 13-5) is set to face No. 18/18 West Virginia (24-9, 11-7) in the final of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on Saturday, March 10 at Sprint Center. No. 1-seed Kansas, who advanced with a semifinal win over No. 4-seed Kansas State on Friday night, will meet a No.3-seeded West Virginia team that outlasted No. 2-seed Texas Tech in the semifinals. KU and WVU will meet in the championship game for the second time in three years. The Jayhawks came out on top, 81-71, in the 2016 final. ESPN will broadcast the game with Bob Wischusen (play-by-play), Fran Fraschilla (analyst) and Holly Rowe (reporter) calling the action.
- No. 1 seed Kansas (26-7) advanced to the finals of its conference championship with an 83-67 win over No. 4-seed Kansas State. The Jayhawks will play in their 21st overall conference tournament final, including their 13th in the Big 12 era. KU last played in the 2016 title game, defeated West Virginia for its 10th Big 12 tourney championship.
- Kansas will face No. 3 seed West Virginia (24-9) on Saturday, at 5 p.m. (Central). WVU advanced to the final with a 66-63 win over No. 2 Texas Tech.
- KU and WVU are meeting for the second time in the Big 12 Championship. The lone meeting came in the 2016 Big 12 tournament final, an 81-71 Kansas victory.
- Kansas is the No. 1 seed for the Big 12 Championship for the 10th-consecutive year, beginning in 2009, and the 15th time in the 22-year history of the event. It marks the 21st time in the 22-year history of the Big 12 that Kansas will not play on the first day of the conference tournament.
- With the win against Kansas State in the Big 12 quarterfinals, Kansas won its 26th game for the fourth-straight season and 11th time in the last 12 years.
- Entering the 2018 Big 12 Championship, in looking at the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index, Kansas currently has 11 wins against Quadrant 1 teams this season, which the second-most in NCAA DI (as of March 8). KU’s six “Quad 1” road wins are also tied for the most in the nation.
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham, the 2018 Big 12 Player of the Year, is the only player in NCAA Division I averaging 17.0-plus points, 7.0-plus assists, 1.7-plus steals and fewer than 3.0 turnovers per game. Graham is sixth nationally in assists per game at 7.2.
- Kansas saw a big haul of Big 12 postseason awards, with all five starters being named to at least one of the all-league teams. Bill Self was named the league’s co-Coach of the Year for the eighth time in his 15 seasons at KU and the second-straight year.
THE FINALS – 2018 BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP
Kansas is appearing in its 13th Big 12 and 21st overall conference tournament championship game. Kansas has won 14 conference tournament titles, including seven of the last 13 and 10 of the 21 total Big 12 Championships. KU last won the title in 2016. Since the Big 12’s inception in 1996-97, Kansas is 20-2 in its first games, 1-0 in opening round games, 19-3 in the quarterfinals, 12-6 in semifinals and 10-2 in championship games. Overall, Kansas is 14-6 in postseason tournament title contests.
Kansas (26-7, 13-5) is ranked No. 9 in both the Associated Press and USA TODAY Coaches’ polls, released March 5. Kansas averages 81.5 points per game and has a plus-10.5 scoring margin. Its 81.5 points marks the third-straight season the Jayhawks have averaged 80 or more points per game. KU pulls down 35.5 rebounds per game and has outrebounded three of its last four and four of its last six opponents. KU also averages 17.0 assists, 6.6 steals and 4.3 blocked shots per game.
The 2018 Big 12 Player of the Year and on every national player of the year watch list, senior G Devonte’ Graham leads Kansas in scoring at 17.3 points per game. Graham is averaging 12.5 points and 8.5 assists in the 2018 Big 12 Championship. Graham is among the conference leaders in assists (7.3), assist-to-turnover ratio (2.6), 3-point field goals made (2.9) and steals (1.6). Senior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, an all-league second team honoree, has made six 3-pointers in the two Big 12 Championship contests. In the Kansas State victory, he became the fourth player in Kansas history to surpass 100 3-point field goals made, currently at 102. Mykhailiuk averages 15.1 points per game, which is second on the team. With sophomore C Udoka Azubuike (13.7 ppg) out due to a knee injury, redshirt-sophomore G Malik Newman is next in scoring at 12.9 points per contest. Newman is averaging 26.0 points in two Big 12 Championship games, including a career-high 30 points against OSU in the quarterfinals (3/8). Junior G Lagerald Vick scores 12.1 points per game and he is second on the team with 4.9 rebounds per game.
Freshman G Marcus Garrett (4.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg) is third on the team with 34 steals, trailing Graham’s 54 and Mykhailiuk’s 37. Garrett is coming off an eight-point, five rebound effort against Kansas State in the semifinals. Sophomore F Mitch Lightfoot (4.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg) has started both Big 12 Championship games and is averaging 8.0 points and 4.5 rebounds in the event. Also stepping up in Azubuike’s absence was freshman F Silvio De Sousa (2.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg). In two tournament games, De Sousa is averaging 7.0 points and 9.5 rebounds. He just missed a double-double with eight points and 11 rebounds in the semifinal win against Kansas State.
THE KANSAS-KANSAS STATE SERIES
The Kansas-West Virginia series started when WVU joined the Big 12 Conference in 2012-13, with KU holding a 9-4 advantage. KU is 6-0 against WVU in games played in Allen Fieldhouse, 2-4 at WVU Coliseum and 1-0 in the Big 12 Championship. KU defeated WVU 81-71 in the 2016 Big 12 title game at Sprint Center in Kansas City. KU head coach Bill Self is 9-4 against West Virginia, with all 13 meetings as Kansas’ coach. Bob Huggins is 4-13 all-time against Kansas, 4-9 while at WVU.
Kansas swept the season series with West Virginia in 2017-18. The Jayhawks defeated the Mountaineers, 71-66, on Jan. 15, in Morgantown and won 77-69 on Feb. 17 in Allen Fieldhouse.
THE LAST MEETING
Trailing by double digits with just over seven minute to play, No. 13/13 Kansas completed yet another monumental comeback to take down the No. 20/20 West Virginia Mountaineers, 77-69, on Feb. 17 in Lawrence. The Jayhawks went on a 26-8 run over the final seven minutes to claim their sixth-straight win over WVU inside Allen Fieldhouse. Sophomore Udoka Azubuike led KU with 21 points, 15 of which came in the second half.
One year and four days after the Jayhawks erased a 14-point deficit in the final three minutes to turn back WVU, the visiting Mountaineers again appeared to be primed to claim their first-ever victory in Lawrence. The visitors connected on a season-high 13 3-pointers and saw their lead grow to 12 points with just over 10 minutes remaining in regulation. But once again, Kansas spoiled West Virginia’s visit to Allen Fieldhouse with another valiant comeback.
KU held the Mountaineers to just three field goals over the final seven minutes to stage another double-digit comeback against WVU. It marked the fourth time in their last eight outings with West Virginia that the Jayhawks have come from behind to win after trailing by double figures.
A KANSAS WIN WOULD…
Give Kansas its 15th overall and 11th Big 12 postseason championship, its first since 2016 … Make Kansas 27-7, giving KU 27 wins for the fourth-straight season and the 11th time in the last 12 years, beginning in 2006-07 … Make KU 12-4 in games away from Allen Fieldhouse this season … Make Kansas 15-6 overall in conference tourney title games, including 11-2 in the Big 12 era … Improve Kansas to 74-27 in league tournament play, 44-11 at the Big 12 Championship … Make Kansas 38-9 all-time in Sprint Center, including 3-1 this season … Make Bill Self 444-95 while at Kansas, 651-200 all-time and 39-12 in conference tournament play, 30-7 while at Kansas in the Big 12 Championship … Make Kansas 2,244-848 all-time.
A KANSAS LOSS WOULD…
Drop Kansas to 26-8 on the season … Make Kansas 12-5 in games away from Allen Fieldhouse this season … Give Kansas a final loss in the Big 12 Championship for the first time since 2015 … Make Kansas 10-3 in Big 12 tourney title games, 14-7 overall in conference tournament championship contests … Drop Kansas to 73-28 in league tournament play overall, including 43-12 in Big 12 Championship play … Make Kansas 2-2 in Sprint Center this season … Make Kansas 37-10 all-time in Sprint Center … Make Bill Self 443-96 while at Kansas, 650-201 all-time and 38-13 in conference tournament play, 29-8 while at Kansas in the Big 12 Championship… Make Kansas 2,243-849 all-time.
KANSAS IN THE PHILLIPS 66 BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP
- KU’s 10 Big 12 Tournament titles are more than any other school in the league. Iowa State is second with four titles, including last year. Oklahoma (3) and Oklahoma State (2) are the only other schools to have won a Big 12 tourney. Kansas won the first three events 1997-98-99, then the 2006-07-08-10-11-13-16 titles. KU is 10-2 in tourney title games, having only lost the 2002 title to Oklahoma and the 2015 title to Iowa State.
- Kansas is the only team to have won at least 40 games in the Big 12 Championship. The Jayhawks are 43-11 (79.6 percent) in the event. Oklahoma (22-19, 53.7 percent), Oklahoma State (24-20, 54.5) and Texas (26-21, 55.3) are the only other schools above .500 in the event.
- With a 29-7 (80.6 percent) record, KU head coach Bill Self has the highest winning percentage in Big 12 Championship history with more than one tournament (Frank Haith went 3-0 at Missouri in 2012).
- Kansas has been the No. 1 seed 15 times (1997-98-2002-03-07-09-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18), No. 2 seed four times (2001-05-06-08), No. 3 seed twice (1999-2004), and was the No. 5 seed in 2000.
- Kansas has won 20 of its 22 first games in the Big 12 Championship with the 2009 loss to Baylor and last year’s loss to TCU being the only blemishes. The Jayhawks are 1-0 in opening-round games and 19-3 in quarterfinal contests. In 2000 KU was the No. 5 seed, won its first game and lost in the quarterfinals. All of KU’s other first games were in the quarterfinals.
- KU has reached the semifinals in 19 of the 22 Big 12 Championships. The Jayhawks did not reach the 2000, 2009 or 2017 semis.
- Kansas has won seven of its 10 Big 12 titles as the No. 1 seed – 1997, 1998, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2016. KU was the No. 3 seed in its 1999 title run and the No. 2 seed in 2006 and 2008. The lowest seed to win the event was a No. 4 seed: Iowa State in 2017.
- Kansas has had 44 conference championship all-tournament selections, including 27 in the 21-year history of the Big 12 Championship. Current Jayhawk senior Devonte’ Graham was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2016 event.
SEMIFINAL LEFTOVERS & NOTABLES
- The win made Kansas 26-7, giving KU 26 wins for the fourth-straight season and the 11th time in the last 12 years, beginning in 2006-07.
- Kansas improved to 11-4 in games away from Allen Fieldhouse this season.
- KU is now 13-6 in Big 12 Championship semifinal games (21-16 all-time in postseason tournament semis)
- The win advanced KU to the conference tourney finals for the 13th time in Big 12 history and 21st time overall.
- Kansas improved to 73-27 in league tournament play, 43-11 at the Big 12 Championship.
- Kansas’ 11 3-pointers marked the 16th time this season the Jayhawks connected on 10 or more threes in a game. KU now has 330 3-pointers on the season, a program record.
- The Jayhawks outrebounded the Wildcats 37-30, marking the fourth time in their last six outings KU has pulled down more rebounds than its opponent. In that span the Jayhawks have an average rebound margin of +4.3. In the 27 games prior, KU had an average rebound margin of -0.5.
- KSU’s Makol Mawein’s 29 points were tied for most points by a Jayhawk opponent this season. Arizona State’s Tra Holder also scored 29 against KU on Dec. 10.
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham has made 95 3-pointers this year, the fifth-most by a Jayhawk in a single season.
- Graham posted eight assists or more assists for the fourth-straight game and the 15th time this season.
- Graham is now tied for fifth on the Big 12 Championship career assists chart with 47 dimes in the league tournament.
- Graham’s eight assists moved him past Jacque Vaughn to No. 6 on KU’s single-season assists lists, now with 241.
- RS-Sophomore G Malik Newman has 52 points in his two games of the Big 12 Championship. He will need to score 16 points in Saturday’s final to surpass Paul Pierce’s KU record of 67 in 1998.
- In his first two outings of the Big 12 Championship, Newman is 19-of-29 (65.5 percent) from the field and 9-of-14 (64.3 percent) from 3-point range.
- Newman has posted back-to-back 20-point games for the second time this season and surpassed the 20-point mark for the sixth time in 2017-18.
- Senior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk’s four 3-pointers gave him 102 for the season and made him the fourth Jayhawk to hit 100 or more treys in a year.
- Freshman F Silvio De Sousa pulled down 11 rebounds to surpass his career-high of eight set one night prior. His eight points were his second-best scoring output of his young career.
KANSAS IN KANSAS CITY
Kansas City has been a second home for KU over the years. The Jayhawks’ first-ever game — a 16-5 loss to Kansas City YMCA on Feb. 3, 1899 — was played in Kansas City. The March 10, 2018, Big 12 Championship title game will mark KU’s 306th all-time game played in Kansas City, and its 47th in Sprint Center. Excluding exhibition contests, KU is 37-9 in Sprint Center including winning the 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2016 Big 12 Championships in the venue and the 2012 and 2016 CBE Hall of Fame Classics.
MORE ON THE JAYHAWKS IN KANSAS CITY
- Beginning in 1984-85, Kansas has played at least one regular-season game, be it in a tournament or a home contest, in Kansas City in 30 of the last 33 seasons. KU only missed 1987-88, 1990-91 and 1996-97 and in those seasons the Jayhawks played league tournament or NCAA Tournament postseason games in KC.
- KU is 223-83 in games played in Kansas City.
- KU played 106 games in Kemper Arena with an 81-25 record. Kansas went 26-4 in Kemper Arena from 1997 until 2006, when it played its last game in the venue. Included in that run were Big 12 Championship titles in 1997, 1998 and 1999.
- Kemper Arena was the host of the 1988 NCAA Final Four when the Jayhawks won the national championship.
- Kansas has won a mind-boggling 27 conference tournaments (13 holiday conference tourneys and 14 postseason league titles) with 25 of those in Kansas City. The lone two titles not in KC were in 2006 in Dallas and 2007 in Oklahoma City.
Kansas Conference Tournament Titles in KC
Municipal Auditorium (Conference Holiday Tournament) – 1951, 1953, 1956, 1957, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1970
Kemper Arena (*Big Eight Holiday Tournament) – *1974, *1977, *1978, 1981, 1984, 1986, 1992, 1997, 1998, 1999
Sprint Center – 2008, 2010, 2013, 2016
JAYHAWKS WELL REPRESENTED ON ALL-BIG 12 TEAMS
Highlighted by Big 12 Player of the Year Devonte’ Graham, conference regular-season champion Kansas is well represented on the men’s basketball 2017-18 All-Big 12 Team selected by the conference coaches, the league announced March 4. Graham was the unanimous selection for Big 12 Player of the Year, while redshirt sophomore Malik Newman is the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and Bill Self the co-Big 12 Coach of the Year, along with Chris Beard of Texas Tech. Graham was an All-Big 12 First Team selection, while senior Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is a second team honoree. Sophomore center Udoka Azubuike is third team and junior Lagerald Vick honorable mention. Newman was also named to the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team. Coaches were not allowed to vote for players from their own team.
Historically, Graham is the 12th Jayhawk to be named his conference’s player of the year. This is the ninth time a Kansas student-athlete has earned the distinction in the 22-year history of the Big 12 Conference. With Frank Mason III winning the 2017 honor, this is the seventh time in league history a school has been named the Big 12 player of the year in consecutive seasons with Kansas holding four of those occasions.
Newman is the ninth Jayhawk to be named his conferences’ newcomer of the year and the first in the Big 12 era. Mykhailiuk, Azubuike and Vick are appearing on the All-Big 12 Team for the first time in their career.
Kansas has now won 18 of the 22 Big 12 regular-season titles (includes ties), including the last 14, which is an NCAA record. Kansas’ 61 conference titles are the most in NCAA Division I. Kentucky is second with 54 and Penn third at 37 (pre-2017-18). KU’s 14-straight league titles, all under head coach Bill Self, is the longest active streak in NCAA Division I and the longest streak in school history.
KANSAS CONFERENCE REGULAR-SEASON TITLES
61 (*Tied for the championship)
Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association (13) – 1908-09-10-11-12*-14*-15-22*-23-24-25-26-27
Big Six (12) – 1931-32-33-34-36-37*-38-40*-41*-42*-43-46
Big Seven (5) – 1950*-52-53-54*-57
Big Eight (13) – 1960*-66-67-71-74-75-78-86-91*-92-93-95-96
Big 12 (18) – 1997-98-2002-03-05*-06*-07-08*-09-10-11-12-13*-14-15-16-17-18
Here are some “nuggets” from the current Kansas conference regular-season championship streak:
- Kansas has won the title outright 10 times and shared it four times (2005, 2006, 2008 and 2013). Overall, Kansas has won 18 of the 22 Big 12 regular-season titles, with those four being the only ties.
- In the current 14-year streak, including the four ties and the two-game edge in 2018, Kansas has won the Big 12 regular-season title by an average of 1.4 games. Twice, in 2009-10 and 2016-17, Kansas won the Big 12 regular-season title by four games.
- In the 14-year streak, the Jayhawks have clinched at least a share of the title six times on the road – 2006 (at Kansas State), 2008 (at Texas A&M), 2009 (at Texas Tech, though it was a loss), 2011 (at Missouri), 2013 (at Baylor, though it was a loss) and 2018 (at Texas Tech).
- In Kansas’ national championship season, 2007-08, the Jayhawks won the fourth of the current string of 14-straight Big 12 Conference titles.
- Matt Kleinmann, Landen Lucas, Brady Morningstar, Travis Releford, Tyler Self and Conner Teahan each won five Big 12 regular-season titles, as they were redshirts during their KU careers. Teahan is the only KU player in the current streak to have been on two Final Four teams in 2008 and 2012.
- When the streak began in 2004-05, current senior Devonte’ Graham was nine years old, while fellow senior Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk was six.
- In 2005, George W. Bush was beginning his second term as the 43rd President of the United States. Barrack Obama, the 44th President, would serve two terms and current Commander-In-Chief, Donald Trump, the 45th President, recently completed his first year in office, giving the streak three sitting U.S. commanders.
BIG 12 RUN NO CAKEWALK
Kansas once again finds itself near the top of the nation in the latest NCAA Rating Percentage Index (RPI). In Self’s first 14 seasons, KU has finished fifth or higher in the final RPI 10 times, including each of the last eight years. This season the strength of the Big 12 is quite prevalent. Kansas leads the league in RPI at fifth nationally and in strength of schedule at No.2 (through games of March 4). TCU is second in RPI at 29th and in strength of schedule at seventh.
Record Book Review
Here are some things to keep an eye on as several Jayhawks continue to make an impact on the career and single-season KU record books:
- Senior Svi Mykhailiuk recently became the 60th player in KU history to score 1,000 points, currently at 1,084, which is 45th. He is the 15th player in Bill Self’s 15 seasons at Kansas to reach the milestone.
- Mykhailiuk is already fourth on the KU single-season 3-point field goals made list with 98. He is two from becoming the fourth Jayhawk to make 100 threes in a single season. “Downtown” Terry Brown holds the single-season record with 111 treys in 1990-91.
- Against Texas (2/26), senior Devonte’ Graham became the 15th player in KU history to record 1,600 career points. He currently sits 14th at 1,630. Graham is the third player in school history to tally 1,600 points, 550 assists and 180 steals in a career. Darnell Valentine and Kirk Hinrich are the only other Jayhawks to hit those numbers.
- In the Oklahoma contest (2/19), Graham moved into second on the KU career 3-point field goals made list, currently at 280. Jeff Boschee (1999-2002) holds the season record at 338.
- Graham is logging 37.5 minutes per game this year, which ranks as the fifth most in a single season.
- Sophomore Udoka Azubuike is primed to become the most-efficient shooting Jayhawk in a single season. His 77.4 shooting clip is more than 12 percentage points better than Mark Randall’s record mark of 64.6 percent achieved during the 1988-89 campaign.
KANSAS CLAIMS 300TH BIG 12 WIN
Kansas’ win against Oklahoma (Feb. 19) gave KU its 300th Big 12 regular-season victory. In 22 seasons, the Jayhawks have amassed a record of 302-63 for an 82.7 win percentage. Only Texas (225) and Oklahoma (213) have claimed more than 200 victories in the Big 12 since the league’s inception in 1996-97. Now in its 22nd year as a Big 12 member, Kansas has won 18 regular-season league championships and has never finished lower than fifth in the final standings.
POSTSEASON ACCOLADES ROLLING IN FOR GRAHAM
Kansas senior Devonte’ Graham has begun to collect a wide variety of postseason honors as the 2017-18 season begins its final month. The senior is on a number of watch lists for national player of the year and has made the first step in becoming Kansas’ 23rd player to be a consensus First Team All-American, earning a spot on The Sporting News’ All-America First Team, released on March 5. Below is the ever-growing list for Graham’s postseason honors attained after the conclusion of the regular season (in chronological order):
- Big 12 Player of the Year (Big 12, Associated Press)
- All-Big 12 First Team (Big 12, Associated Press)
- Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award Finalist (1 of 5)
- The Sporting News First Team All-American
- USA TODAY All-America First Team
- USBWA District VI Player of the Year
- USBWA All-District VI Team
- NCAA.com First Team
KU DUO NAMED TO ACADEMIC ALL-BIG 12 TEAMS
Kansas men’s basketball senior Clay Young and sophomore Udoka Azubuike have been named Academic All-Big 12, announced by the league office Feb. 22. Young was a first-team selection, while Azubuike is on the second team. A total of 31 student-athletes were named to the 2018 team.
Both Young and Azubuike are appearing on the Academic All-Big 12 Team for the first time. Young, from Lansing, Kansas, will graduate from KU in May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in sport management. Azubuike, from Delta, Nigeria, is a liberal arts and sciences major. Kansas has a league-leading 57 all-time Academic All-Big 12 honorees since the inception of the conference in 1996-97. Texas is second with 52. KU has 42 Academic All-Big 12 First Team honorees and 15 second-team selections. In the Bill Self era, Kansas has had 37 student-athletes named Academic All-Big 12, including 26 Jayhawks on the first-team.
KANSAS VS TOP-25 TEAMS
With its 74-72 win at No. 6 Texas Tech (2/24), Kansas is 5-3 against ranked foes this season. Under Bill Self, Kansas is 87-44 against AP-ranked opponents. In his 15 seasons at KU, Self’s Jayhawks have collected four wins or more over top-25 ranked foes in 12 of those seasons, which includes a 32-15 record from 2014-present.
Kansas’ record against top-10 ranked opponents is even more impressive. KU is 15-3 against foes ranked inside the top-10 of the AP poll since 2013-14. This number includes the Jayhawks’ victory over Kentucky on Nov. 14, at West Virginia on Jan. 15 and at Texas Tech Feb. 24. Since Bill Self’s first season, the Jayhawks are 13-2 against AP top-10 teams inside Allen Fieldhouse, which includes KU’s current streak of nine-straight home victories against top-10 foes.
KU FROM DOWNTOWN
Kansas leads the Big 12 with 10.0 3-point field goals made per game, which is 21st nationally. The Jayhawks are second in the conference with a 39.8 3-point field goal percentage. Kansas has made 10 or more 3-pointers in eight conference games and 16 total in 2017-18. For the season, the Jayhawks are 14-2 in games where they have made 10 or more threes.
Against Oklahoma State in the Big 12 quarterfinals, KU set the school single-season 3-point record, making its 319th from beyond the arc. Three of the last eight Jayhawk squads have averaged more than seven treys per game, with both of the last two KU teams hitting an average of eight or more threes per contest. This season’s team is the third KU squad to make 300 3-pointers in a season.
DEVONTE’ + SVI = THREES
The senior pairing of Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk has established itself as one of the top long-range shooting duos in KU history. Already this year, the two Jayhawk guards have combined for 197 of KU’s 330 3-pointers, which is 59.7 percent of the team’s threes. The prolific outside shooting from these two is nothing new as they continue to move up the all-time KU 3-point charts.
Since the advent of the 3-point line prior to the 1986-87 season, no other Kansas duo has tallied more threes over a three-year stretch than the 468 that Graham and Mykhailiuk have combined for since the 2015-16 season. At Oklahoma (1/23), Graham and Mykhailiuk passed Jeff Boschee and Kirk Hinrich as the most prolific 3-point shooting twosome in school history. Boschee and Hinrich amassed 405 treys while they played together from 2000-02.
Graham and Mykhailiuk are also among the most-accurate Jayhawk pairs. They have teamed up to shoot 41.7 percent from beyond the arc in that same three-year span, the third-best mark among KU teammates who have combined for 700 or more attempts. Brandon Rush and Mario Chalmers boast the best combined percentage with a 42.7 percent (385-of-901) clip coming during their three seasons in Lawrence from 2006-08.
Udoka Azubuike ranks first in NCAA Division I in field goal percentage at 77.4 percent and he is the only one shooting 70 percent or better with a minimum of five shots made per game. Azubuike is on pace to break the Big 12 single-season record of 69.3 percent, set by Ricardo Ratliffe of Missouri in 2011-12.
History has shown that it isn’t easy to lead the nation in a statistic. In fact, checking the NCAA Records Book of annual leaders, only twice has a Jayhawk led the country in a season stat and both were KU All-Americans. KU legend Clyde Lovellette led the NCAA in scoring average in 1951-52 at 28.6 points per game. More recently, Thomas Robinson led the country in double-doubles with 27 during the 2011-12 season. Under Lovellette’s leadership KU won the 1952 NCAA National Championship, while Robinson led the Jayhawks to a runner-up finish in 2012.
With a minimum of 175 attempts, the Kansas single-season field goal percentage record is 64.6 percent by Mark Randall in 1988-89. Last year, Landen Lucas shot 63.1 percent from the field, which ranks fourth on the KU single-season list. On the NCAA level, with a minimum of five makes per game, there have been only 12 players who have shot 70 percent or better in a season, with the most recent being Devontae Cacok of UNC-Wilmington, who set the NCAA record last season (2016-17) at 80.0 percent.
WHAT ELSE TO WATCH FOR…
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham is quickly moving up the school’s all-time career lists. Graham entered his senior season No. 45 on the KU scoring list with 1,075 points. Against Texas, (2/19), Graham became the 15th player in KU history to score 1,600 career points. He currently sits 14th with 1,645 points.
- Against Oklahoma (2/19), Graham moved into second all-time on the KU 3-point field goal list, currently at 281. Jeff Boschee (1999-2002) is first at 338.
- Entering 2017-18 with a 247-48 (83.7 percent) record since 2010, Kansas is the winningest program, by percentage, this decade: 1. KANSAS (247-48, 83.7%); 2. Gonzaga (239-47, 83.6%); 3. Kentucky (249-53, 82.5%); 4. Wichita State (233-53, 81.7); 5. Duke (238-56, 81.0%).
Kansas will learn its NCAA Tournament fate on Sunday, March 11. TBS will televise the selections from 5-7 p.m. (Central). Kansas will be making its 47th NCAA Tournament appearance, including its NCAA record 29th in a row, a streak which started in 1990.
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