Jayhawks set for top-10 tilt at Texas Tech Saturday
Freshman F Silvio De Sousa
|GM 29: at Texas Tech|
|3:15 p.m. (CT)|
|United Supermarkets Arena (15,098)|
|Record||22-6, 11-4||22-6, 10-5|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – For the third time this season, Kansas will hit the road to take on a top-10 team when the No. 8/8 Jayhawks meet the No. 6/7-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders Saturday afternoon at United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock. The contest features the top-two teams in the Big 12 standings, with KU holding a one-game edge over TTU heading into the final three games of the regular season. ESPN will also broadcast the game, with tip-off set for 3:15 p.m., and Dan Shulman (play-by-play), Jay Bilas (analyst) and Maria Taylor (reporter) calling the action.
- With three games left in the 2017-18 Big 12 season, Kansas (11-4) holds a one-game lead over Texas Tech (10-5), and a two-game advantage over West Virginia (9-6) and Kansas State (9-6).
- A win over the Red Raiders would clinch KU at least a share of its 14th-consecutive and 61st overall regular-season league title. Both marks would be NCAA records. KU would pass UCLA, who won 13-straight Pac-10 championships from 1967-79.
- No. 6/7 Texas Tech is the third top-10 team Kansas will play this season, with KU winning both the previous contests. The Jayhawks defeated then-No. 7/4 Kentucky, 65-61, on Nov. 14, and won at then-No. 6/7 West Virginia, 71-66, on Jan. 15.
- KU enters Saturday’s contest having won seven-straight true road games over Associated Press top-10 teams. Kansas’ last loss to a top-10 squad on the road came at No. 4 Missouri on Feb. 2, 2012.
- Hovering in the top-five most of the year, Kansas is No. 3 nationally in strength of schedule according to the NCAA. The Jayhawks are No. 6 in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) which is tops in the Big 12 (through games of Feb. 20).
- ESPN College GameDay will originate from Lubbock on Feb. 24. This will mark the second-straight week Kansas will be featured. Saturday will be KU’s 19th all-time appearance on the show which began during the 2004-05 season. KU is 10-5 in regular-season appearances on GameDay.
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham 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 fifth nationally in assists per game at 7.2.
- Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike is 25-for-28 (89.2 percent) from the field in his last four games. He leads the country in field goal percentage this season at 77.1 percent.
- Kansas and William & Mary are the only two schools in NCAA Division I to have five players averaging 12.0 points or better this season.
Kansas (22-6, 11-4) is ranked No. 8 in both the Associated Press and USA TODAY Coaches’ polls, released Feb. 19. Kansas leads the Big 12 in 3-point field goals made at 10.2 per game, which is 22nd nationally. KU also ranks in the top three in the Big 12 in scoring (third at 82.4), scoring margin (third at +11.6, 20th nationally), field goal percentage (second at 49.3, 21st nationally), 3-point field goal percentage (second at 39.7, 24th nationally), assists (second at 17.2, 14th nationally) and assist-to-turnover ratio (second at 1.5, 15th nationally).
On every national player of year watch list, senior G Devonte’ Graham is scoring 19.0 points per game in Big 12 play and 17.6 in all games, which is second in the Big 12. Graham leads the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.7) and is second in assists (7.2), eighth in free throw percentage (83.4), fourth in 3-point field goals made (3.0), eighth in 3-point field goal percentage (41.6) and fourth in steals (1.7). Senior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is third in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage (44.9) and third in 3-point field goals made (3.1) as he is the only player in the conference to rank that high in both 3-point stats. Mykhailiuk is averaging 15.4 points per game, 11th in the Big 12.
Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike leads the country in field goal percentage at 77.1 percent and is 25-for-28 from the field in his last four games. His 21 points against West Virginia (2/17) marked his sixth 20-point effort of the season. Azubuike has five double-doubles on the season, two in Big 12 play, and ranks 14th in the league in scoring at 14.0 points per game. Azubuike’s 7.1 rebound average is seventh in the conference. Junior G Lagerald Vick is averaging 15.3 points in his last three games and scoring 13.0 points overall, which is 19th in the conference. Vick is second on the team with a 5.1 rebound average. Redshirt-sophomore G Malik Newman’s is averaging 13.7 points in conference play and 12.3 points for the season. He is third on the team with 50 3-pointers made.
Freshman G Marcus Garrett is 11-for-16 (68.8 percent) from the field in his last five games. He averages 4.2 points and 3.6 rebounds per contest. Sophomore F Mitch Lightfoot has started two Big 12 games and is second on the team with 45 blocked shots. Lightfoot’s 1.6 blocks per game are eighth in the conference.
ABOUT TEXAS TECH
Located in Lubbock, Texas, with an enrollment of 37,010, No. 6/7 Texas Tech is 22-6 on the season and 10-5 in Big 12 play, one game behind Kansas for the league lead. The Red Raiders are coached by Chris Beard who is 40-20 in his second season at Texas Tech and 136-50 in his sixth season overall as an NCAA head coach. Texas Tech is 16-0 at the United Supermarkets Arena this season and rank second nationally with a 17-game home court winning streak, only two behind South Dakota State’s 19. Texas Tech leads the Big 12 in four statistical categories: scoring defense (63.1, fifth nationally), field goal percentage defense (39.5, eighth nationally), scoring margin (+12.7, 12th nationally) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (31.6, 17th nationally). The Red Raiders average 75.8 points per contest and pull down 36.1 rebounds per game with a plus-4.4 rebound margin. Texas Tech is second in the Big 12 with 8.0 steals per outing.
Texas Tech is deep as 10 players average nearly 13 or more minutes per contest and balanced in that no Red Raider averages more than 5.0 rebounds per game but they collect 36.1 boards per contest. Senior G Keenan Evans leads Texas Tech in scoring at 17.6 points per game which is third in the Big 12. Evans also leads the team with 93 assists and 37 steals. He is second on the team with 40 3-pointers made. Freshman G Zhaire Smith is second on the team in scoring at 11.1 points per game. He leads Tech with a 57.7 field goal percentage, pulls down 4.7 rebounds and has a team-high 34 blocked shots. Freshman G Jarrett Culver averages 10.9 points and 4.3 rebounds per contest. He leads the team with 41 3-pointers made and is second with 35 steals. Senior G Niem Stevenson scores 6.9 points per game and has 52 assists. Senior G Justin Gray (5.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg) and redshirt junior Norense Odiase (4.4 ppg, team-leading 5.0 rpg) are two starters, along with Evans, Smith and Culver.
Other Texas Tech regulars include redshirt senior F Tommy Hamilton IV (5.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg), freshman G Davide Moretti (3.5 ppg) and redshirt junior Brandone Francis (5.5 ppg).
Kansas leads the overall series with Texas Tech, 33-5, which began in 1959. The Jayhawks have won 15 of the last 16 meetings in the series since Jan. 16, 2010. Kansas is 13-4 against Texas Tech in games played in Lubbock, including a 9-3 record in Unites Supermarkets Arena. Since the inception of the Big 12 Conference in 1997, Kansas is 26-5 against Texas Tech; 23-5 in regular-season match-ups and 3-0 in conference championship meetings. Kansas head coach Bill Self is 20-7 all-time against Texas Tech, including 19-4 while at Kansas. Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard is 1-2 against Kansas.
THE LAST MEETING
A cold shooting night from deep and a 15-rebound deficit spelled doom for No. 10 Kansas as the Jayhawks fell to No. 18 Texas Tech, 85-73, Jan. 2, inside Allen Fieldhouse. KU senior guard Devonte’ Graham led all scorers with 27 points as the Jayhawks suffered their worst loss in Allen Fieldhouse since 2003.KU shot just 25-percent (6-of-24) from 3-point range and failed to convert on a three in the second half, going 0-of-12 over the final 20 minutes.
KU senior Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and sophomore Udoka Azubuike each scored 11 points in the contest. Texas Tech had five players reach double figures scoring, led by senior Keenan Evans with 15 points. Red Raiders Norense Odiase, Justin Gray and Jarret Culver each had 12 in the victory.
A KANSAS WIN WOULD…
Make Kansas 23-6, giving KU 23 wins for the 29th-consectutive season, beginning in 1989-90 … Clinch at least a share of the Jayhawks’ 14th-consecutive, 18th Big 12 and NCAA-record 61st regular-season conference championship … Make Kansas 12-4 or better in Big 12 play, giving KU 12 conference wins for the 18th-consecutive season, beginning in 2000-01 … Make the Kansas-Texas Tech series 34-5 in favor of KU, including 14-4 in Lubbock meetings (10-3 in United Supermarkets Arena) … Make Kansas 7-2 in true roads games this season and 10-4 in games not played in Allen Fieldhouse … Make Bill Self 21-7 all-time against Texas Tech (20-4 while at KU), 439-94 while at KU and 646-199 for his career … Make Kansas 2,240-847 all-time.
A KANSAS LOSS WOULD…
Make Kansas 22-7 on the season … Make Kansas 11-5 in Big 12 play and give KU five conference losses for the first time since 2014-15 and the fourth time in the 22-season history of the conference, matching its most conference losses in that span … Be the first home-and-home series sweep in a league season in the Bill Self era at Kansas … Make the KU-TTU series 33-6 in favor of the Jayhawks, including 13-5 in meetings in Lubbock (9-4 in United Supermarkets Arena) … Make Kansas 6-3 in true road games this season and 9-4 in games not played in Allen Fieldhouse in 2017-18 … Make Self 20-8 against Texas Tech (19-5 while at Kansas), 438-95 while at Kansas and 645-200 as a head coach … Make KU 2,239-848 all-time.
OKLAHOMA LEFTOVERS & NOTABLES
- The win was KU’s 300th Big 12 regular-season victory.
- Kansas started the game with 10-0 run in first 3:33, the run was extended to 20-4 after the first 13:08.
- Kansas’ 55 points in the second half marked the seventh time this season that the Jayhawks have scored 50-points or more in a half, and only the second time scoring 50-points or more in Big 12 play.
- The senior duo Svi Mykhailiuk and Devonte’ Graham combined for 9-of-18 shooting from 3-point land, good for 50 percent. The senior guards have combined for a 41.4 percent mark over the last three years.
- The last time KU scored 100 points in a Big 12 game was against Oklahoma in the infamous No. 1 vs. No. 2 3OT game on Jan. 4, 2016, a KU 109-106 win in Lawrence.
- Kansas’ 30-point win was the largest in a conference game since beating Texas, 86-56, on Feb. 29, 2016, in Austin.
- Kansas’ 16 3-pointers were the second most in a Big 12 game, behind the 17 threes made at Texas on Dec. 29, 2017,
- The Jayhawks had six or more double-figure scorers in three of their first five contests this season. The OU contest marked the fourth time six or more KU players tallied double-figures in 2017-18
- Entering the contest, Oklahoma was averaging an NCAA-best 87.5 points per game and 9.9 3-pointers per game. The Jayhawks held the Sooners to 74 points and five 3-point makes, as well as a 26.3 percent clip from behind the arc.
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham has tallied 47 assists to 16 turnovers for a 2.94 ratio in his last six games. In Big 12 play, he now has 103 assists to 40 turnovers for a 2.58 assist-to-turnover ratio.
- Graham passed Billy Thomas (269) on the KU all-time 3-point field goals made list, to become second all-time behind Jeff Boschee. Graham has drained 270 treys in his career.
- With 23 points, Graham vaulted passed Calvin Thompson, Kenny Gregory and Jeff Boschee and now sits in 17th position in the career scoring list with 1,569 points.
- After his 1-for-8 free throw effort at Oklahoma on Jan. 23, Udoka Azubuike’s free throw percentage had dropped to a season-low 37.5 percent. But in the eight games since he has made 58 percent (18-of-31) of his attempts from the charity stripe, including an 8-of-12 clip in his last three outings.
- Freshman F Silvio De Sousa tallied a career high in points (10), rebounds (6), free-throws (4-4) and minutes played (13).
Kansas will head into its second true road game of the season Saturday against a team ranked inside the Associated Press top-10. On Jan. 15, the Jayhawks topped then-No. 6 West Virginia, 71-66, in Morgantown. That victory marked KU’s seventh-straight win over an AP top-10 team on the road. Kansas’ last loss in a top-10 squad’s arena came at No. 4 Missouri on Feb. 2, 2012.
During Bill Self’s 15 seasons in Lawrence, the Jayhawks are 36-19 overall against top-10 squads, which includes a 16-4 mark since the 2012-13 season. KU is 9-6 in true road contests against top-10 teams during Self’s tenure.
Kansas has won 17 of the 21 Big 12 regular-season titles (includes ties), including the last 13, which is tied for the NCAA record. Kansas’ 60 conference titles are the most in NCAA Division I. Kentucky is second with 54 and Penn third at 37. KU’s 13-straight league titles is the longest active streak in NCAA Division I and the longest streak in school history. Kansas is now tied with UCLA, which from 1967-79, also won the NCAA record of 13 straight, which was under two coaches. Kansas’ current run has been under head coach Bill Self.
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:
- This year’s KU squad is well on pace to break the program’s single-season 3-point record. The Jayhawks have connected on 286 treys this season, a number that is just 32 shy of the record mark of 318 set by last year’s squad.
- Senior Svi Mykhailiuk recently became the 60th player in KU history to score 1,000 points, currently at 1,041, which is 52nd. He is the 15th player in Bill Self’s 15 seasons at Kansas to reach the milestone. Mykhailiuk is four points shy from cracking the school’s all-time top 50 in scoring.
- Mykhailiuk is already seventh on the KU single-season 3-point field goals made list with 88. He is 10 threes from the top four and closing in on “Downtown” Terry Brown’s record of 111 treys hit during the 1990-91 season.
- And finally, Mykhailiuk is hoping to continue one of the most accurate 3-point shooting seasons ever by a Jayhawk. He has hit 44.9 percent of his tries from long-range, which is just outside the KU top-10.
- Against Baylor (2/6), senior Devonte’ Graham became the 22nd player in KU history to record 1,500 career points. He currently sits 17th at 1,569. Graham is the third player in school history to tally 1,500 points, 500 assists and 175 steals in a career. Darnell Valentine and Kirk Hinrich are the only other Jayhawks to hit those numbers.
- In the Oklahoma contest on Feb. 19, Graham moved into second on the KU career 3-point field goals made list, currently at 270. Jeff Boschee (1999-2002) holds the season record at 338.
- Graham is logging 37.2 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 77.1 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.
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 sixth nationally and in strength of schedule at No. 3 (through games of Feb. 21). Texas Tech is second in RPI at 17th, while TCU is second in strength of schedule at 13th.
KANSAS CLAIMS 300TH BIG 12 WIN
Kansas’ win against Oklahoma gave KU its 300th Big 12 regular-season victory. In 22 seasons, the Jayhawks have amassed a record of 300-63 for an 82.6 win percentage. Only Texas (223) and Oklahoma (211) have claimed more than 200 victories in the Big 12 since the league’s inception in 1996-97. In its first 21 years as a Big 12 member, Kansas has won 17 regular-season league championships and has never finished lower than fifth in the final standings.
BACK-TO-BACK WEEKS FOR KU AND GAMEDAY
One week after hosting its eighth ESPN College GameDay Covered by State Farm, Kansas will be the road team when GameDay heads to Texas Tech, Feb. 24. The Texas Tech contest will mark the 19th time the Jayhawks will be featured on GameDay, with 15 regular-season appearances and three at neutral locations. After its 77-69 win against West Virginia (2/17), the Jayhawks are 10-5 in their previous regular-season appearances (13-5 overall).
The weekly-traveling telecast has originated from Allen Fieldhouse in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2018. KU was the GameDay road team in 2006, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. KU was also part of GameDay when it was at the 2006 Big 12 Championship semifinals in Dallas and the 2008 Final Four when Kansas won the title in San Antonio.
KU DUO NAMED TO ACADEMIC ALL-BIG 12 TEAMS
Kansas men’s basketball senior Clay Young and sophomore Udoka Azubuike have been 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.
THIS DAY IN KANSAS BASKETBALL HISTORY
Kansas is 22-13 all-time on Feb. 24
Feb. 24, 2002: Kansas defeated Nebraska, 88-87, en route to becoming the only team in Big 12 history to achieve a perfect 16-0 conference regular-season record. The Jayhawks’ Keith Langford hit a 3-pointer with 33 seconds remaining in KU’s come-from-behind victory at the Devaney Center. Kansas trailed by 12 points in the second half as Nebraska made 18 3-pointers for the game. KU’s Drew Gooden led all scorers with 26 points and 14 rebounds. KU went on to advance to the Final Four in Atlanta and finished with a 33-4 record.
KU FROM DOWNTOWN
Kansas leads the Big 12 with 10.2 3-point field goals made per game, which is 22nd nationally. The Jayhawks are second in the conference with a 39.7 3-point field goal percentage. Kansas has made 10 or more 3-pointers in seven conference games and 14 total in 2017-18. For the season, the Jayhawks are 12-2 in games where they have made 10 or more threes. KU has also been deadly from long range in Allen Fieldhouse, hitting 43.1 percent of its 3-point tries on its home floor. Both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 Jayhawk squads hit better than 44 percent from three on James Naismith Court.
Last year, KU set the school single-season 3-point record, making 318 from beyond the arc for 8.8 per game. 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 recently became the sixth KU squad to make 250 3-pointers in a season.
KANSAS VS TOP-25 TEAMS
With its 77-69 win against No. 20 West Virginia (2/17), Kansas is 4-3 against ranked foes this season. Under Bill Self, Kansas is 86-44 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 31-15 record from 2014-present.
Kansas’ record against top-10 ranked opponents is even more impressive. KU is 14-3 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 and at West Virginia on Jan. 15. 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.
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 172 of KU’s 286 3-pointers, which is 60.1 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 448 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 41.6 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. Rush and 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 77.1 percent and he is one of only two players shooting 70 percent or better with a minimum of five shots made per game (Doral Moore of Wake Forest at 70.6). 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. At West Virginia (1/15), Graham became the 22nd player in KU history to score 1,500 career points. He currently sits 17th with 1,569 points.
- Against Oklahoma (2/19), Graham moved into second all-time on the KU 3-point field goal list, currently at 270. 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%).
- The Jayhawks are pursuing their 14th-conseuctive Big 12 regular-season championship. A 14th league title would break UCLA’s NCAA record mark of 13-consecutive conference championships from 1967-79.
Kansas will close out its home portion of the 2017-18 season when it plays host to Texas, Feb. 26, on ESPN Big Monday. Tip time from Allen Fieldhouse will be 8 p.m. Beginning in 1983-84, Kansas has won a mindboggling 34-straight home finales, which includes 33 Senior Nights. In 2007, KU did not have a senior on the roster.
Kansas will recognize three senior men’s basketball players – Devonte’ Graham, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Clay Young. Additionally, senior managers Brayden Carroll and Collin Cook will be introduced. The game will also mark the final home contest for Jayhawk IMG Radio Network producer/engineer Bob Newton who is retiring after 34 years of service to the network.
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