Kansas Basketball: 2017-18 in Review
LAWRENCE, Kan. – They certainly took a different path than the many immortal teams before them, but the 2017-18 Jayhawks turned in another historic season of Kansas Basketball, winning the program’s NCAA-record 14th-consecutive regular-season Big 12 title, its 11th Big 12 Tournament championship, advancing to KU’s 15th NCAA Final Four and seeing another senior point guard claim Big 12 Player of the Year and Consensus First Team All-America honors.
It was a record-breaking year for the 2017-18 Kansas basketball team, which proved its prowess with the 3-point ball like no Jayhawk squad before it, while also seeing its 7-0 foot sophomore center notch one of the most efficient shooting seasons in NCAA history.
The journey to 14-straight Big 12 titles and the 2018 Final Four wasn’t always a smooth one, with three losses coming inside Allen Fieldhouse and the first regular-season conference sweep in the Bill Self era, but this Kansas squad came together and found ways to win when it mattered most. It notched four victories over AP top-10 ranked teams, wound up amassing a record of 21-4 against teams in the 2018 NCAA Tournament field and when all was said and done, finished in the top-five of the NCAA’s final RPI standings for the ninth-straight season.
THE YEAR AT A GLANCE
- Kansas went 31-8, posting its 30 wins for the third-straight year and 15th time in school history. The 15 times ties Kentucky for the most 30-win seasons in NCAA history. Nine of those 15 have come during the Bill Self era.
- Going 13-5 in Big 12 play, Kansas added to its NCAA record of winning 10 or more league games for the 24th-consecutive year, a streak which started in 1995.
- Kansas won its 11th Big 12 and 15th overall conference postseason tournament title, including its eighth in the Bill Self era.
- Kansas went 8-4 against teams ranked in Associated Press top 25, including 4-1 versus top-10 squads.
- KU’s 29-consecutive NCAA Championship appearances is the longest-active streak and the longest-consecutive appearances in NCAA history. KU’s streak began in 1990.
- Kansas went 17-5 in games not played in Allen Fieldhouse and 10-1 in neutral court games.
- Kansas added to its own NCAA Tournament record by appearing in its 29th-consecutive tourney, a streak which started in 1990.
- Since seeding in the NCAA Tournament began in 1979, Kansas has been a No. 1 seed 14 times, including each of the last three seasons.
- Kansas advanced to its 15th Final Four with three during the Bill Self era (2008, 2012 and 2018).
- KU registered a 21-4 record against teams in the 2018 NCAA Tournament field.
- Bill Self moved into second on the Kansas all-time wins list, currently at 447, in his 15 seasons at KU. He passed Roy Williams (418) early in the season and now trails only Phog Allen (590).
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham, the 2018 Big 12 Player of the Year, was the only player in NCAA Division I to average 17.0-plus points, 7.0-plus assists, 1.6-plus steals and fewer than 3.0 turnovers per game.
- At No. 4 in the final Associated Press poll, Kansas holds the longest active streak for being ranked in the AP polls at 180 weeks.
- Kansas broke the single-season 3-point field goals made record with 391 as well as the 3-pointers attempted mark with 974. The 391 3-point field goals tied the Jayhawks for 10th most in NCAA DI history.
- KU set the school single-game record by making 19 3-pointers in the win against Texas Southern on Nov. 21, 2017, in Allen Fieldhouse. KU’s 12 3-pointers in the first half of the contest were also a school record.
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham broke the single-season assists record with 282.
- Graham also set the single-season minutes played record with 1,474.
- Senior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk broke the single-season 3-point field goals made record with 115. Graham ended tied for third with 110 3-pointers made.
- Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike set the Big 12 Conference and Kansas single-season field goal percentage record at 77.0 percent (with a minimum of five field goals made per game). His 77.0 percentage ranks as the second-best ever in NCAA history, trailing the 80.0 percent set by Devontae Cacok of UNCW set in 2016-17.
BIG 12 STAT LEADERS
Kansas led the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage at 40.1 percent and in 3-point field goals made per game at 10.0. This marked the second-straight season and eighth time in the 22-year Big 12 era that the Jayhawks led the league in 3-point field goal percentage. It was the first time KU led the league in 3-point field goals made and the 10.0 ranks second best in league history behind the 10.3 by Oklahoma in 2015-16.
Individually, KU sophomore C Udoka Azubuike led the nation in field goal percentage at 77.0 percent. Big 12-wise, Azubuike becomes only the third Jayhawk to lead the Big 12 in field goal percentage joining Markieff Morris in 2010-11 (58.9 percent) and Nick Collison in 2002-03 (55.4 percent). Azubuike’s 77.0 field goal percentage actually ranks second all-time in NCAA history. Additionally, senior G Devonte’ Graham led the Big 12 in minutes played at 37.8, logging 1,474 minutes.
IN THE POLLS
Crazy how Kansas entered the 2017-18 season ranked No. 4 by Associated Press and No. 3 in the USA TODAY Coaches polls and ended the exact same way. During the season, KU ranked in the both national polls top 10 for 14 weeks and climbed to No. 2 in both for three weeks.
Historically, Kansas has been ranked in each of the last 180 AP polls dating back to Feb. 3, 2009, which is the longest active streak in NCAA Division I. The Jayhawks have been ranked in the final AP top 10 each of the last nine seasons and 11 times in the 15-year Bill Self era at KU. This is the third straight and eighth time Kansas has finished the AP poll No. 4 or higher. In the coaches’ poll, this is the third-straight year the Jayhawks have finished No. 4 or higher and the 11th time in the Self era Kansas has ended in the top 10.
SELF CLAIMS MOST NCAA WINS IN KU HISTORY
With Kansas’ win over Seton Hall in the second round on March 17, Bill Self claimed his 35th victory in the NCAA Tournament as the head coach of the Jayhawks. That number passed Roy Williams, who notched 34 NCAA tourney wins as the head man of Kansas. Earlier this season, Self passed Williams as the second-winningest coach in KU history. Self’s 447 victories trail Phog Allen who posted 590 wins in his 39 years in Lawrence.
KANSAS VS. THE NCAA TOURNAMENT FIELD
Kansas faced 17 NCAA Tournament teams in 2017-18 with a 21-4 record. Those include No. 1 seed Villanova (0-1), No. 2 seed Duke (1-0), No. 3 seed Texas Tech (1-1), No. 5 seed West Virginia (3-0), No. 5 seed Clemson (1-0), No. 5 seed Kentucky (1-0), No. 6 TCU (2-0), No. 7 seed Texas A&M (1-0), No. 8 seed Seton Hall (1-0), No. 9 seed Kansas State (3-0), No. 10 seed Texas (2-0), No. 10 seed Oklahoma (1-1), No. 11 seed Arizona State (0-1), No. 11 seed Syracuse (1-0), No. 12 seed South Dakota State (1-0), No. 16 seed Texas Southern (1-0) and No. 16 Penn (1-0).
Entering the Midwest Regional semifinals, Kansas was 10-1 this season versus the other 15 teams in the Sweet 16: 3-0 vs. West Virginia, 3-0 vs. Kansas State, 1-1 vs. Texas Tech, 1-0 vs. Kentucky, 1-0 vs. Syracuse and 1-0 vs. Texas A&M.
Kansas was the No. 1 seed for the 14th time since the NCAA Championship started seeding in 1979: 1986-92-95-97-98-2002-07-08-10-11-13-16-17-18. This was the third straight and eighth time KU has been a No. 1 seed under Bill Self. KU is 39-12 as a No. 1 seed, has won all 14 of its No. 1 seed first-round games and has advanced to three Final Fours (1986, 2002 and 2008) as the No. 1 seed. KU’s 51 games played as a No. 1 seed are its most in the NCAA Championship. Its No. 2 seed is next with 27 games.
JAYHAWKS WELL REPRESENTED ON ALL-BIG 12 TEAMS
Highlighted by Big 12 Player of the Year Devonte’ Graham, conference regular-season champion Kansas was 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 was a second team honoree. Sophomore center Udoka Azubuike was 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 appeared on the All-Big 12 Team for the first time in their career.
Kansas has 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 Kansas’ conference regular-season championship NCAA record 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.
- 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.
- streak nuggets (cont.)
- 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).
- 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, is in his second year in office, giving the streak three sitting U.S. commanders.
BIG 12 RUN NO CAKEWALK
Kansas once again found itself near the top of the nation in the final NCAA Rating Percentage Index (RPI). In Self’s 15 seasons, KU has finished fifth or higher in the final RPI 11 times, including each of the last nine years. This season the strength of the Big 12 is quite prevalent, leading all conferences. Kansas led the league in RPI at third nationally and in strength of schedule at No. 2.
RECORD BOOK REVIEW
Here are some notable accomplishments for the 2017-18 Jayhawks, who made an impact on the career and single-season KU record books:
- The 2017-18 KU team has crushed the single-season 3-point record with 391. The previous record was 318 set by last year’s squad. KU also surpassed the 3-point field goals attempted mark at 974.
- Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk became the 60th player in KU history to score 1,000 points and ended No. 41 with 1,181 points. Mykhailiuk is the 15th player in Bill Self’s 15 seasons at Kansas to reach the milestone.
- Mykhailiuk broke the KU single-season 3-point field goals made list with 115. Against Duke (3/25) he passed “Downtown” Terry Brown KU single-season record with 111 treys in 1990-91.
- Against Seton Hall (3/17), Devonte’ Graham became the 13th player in KU history to record 1,700 career points. He ended his career 13th at 1,750 points. Graham is the third player in school history to tally 1,700 points, 600 assists and 190 steals in a career. Darnell Valentine and Kirk Hinrich are the only other Jayhawks to hit those numbers.
- Udoka Azubuike set the KU and Big 12 single-season record field goal percentage at 77.0. His 77.0 percent is more than 12 points better than Mark Randall’s previous record mark of 64.6 percent in 1988-89. Azubuike broke the Big 12 season record of 69.3 held by Missouri’ Ricardo Ratliffe in 2011-12.
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 302-64 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. In its 22 years 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 FOR GRAHAM
Kansas senior Devonte’ Graham collected a wide variety of postseason honors in 2017-18. The senior became Kansas’ 23rd player to be a consensus First Team All-American, earning a spot on The Sporting News’ All-America First Team, the USBWA All-America First Team, the NABC All-America First Team and the Associated Press All-America First Team. It marked the 30th time, an NCAA best, a Kansas player has been named Consensus All-America First Team. Below is the list for Graham’s postseason honors from 2017-18:
- 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 All-America First Team
- USA TODAY All-America First Team
- USBWA District VI Player of the Year
- USBWA All-District VI Team
- NCAA.com First Team
- Big 12 All-Tournament Team
- USBWA All-America First Team
- Citizen Naismith Trophy Finalist (1 of 4)
- NABC District 8 First Team
- NABC All-America First Team
- NCAA Midwest Region All-Tournament Team
- Associated Press First Team All-American
- Consensus First Team All-American
- Danny Manning Mr. Jayhawk Award
KANSAS VS TOP-25 TEAMS
Kansas posted an 8-4 against ranked foes this season. Under Bill Self, Kansas is 90-45 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 35-16 record from 2014-present.
Kansas’ record against top-10 ranked opponents is even more impressive. KU is 16-4 against foes ranked inside the top-10 of the AP poll since 2013-14, including 4-1 in 2017-18. This season, KU’s top-10 wins included Kentucky, West Virginia, Texas Tech and Duke. Since Bill Self’s first season, the Jayhawks are 13-3 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 led the Big 12 with 10.0 3-point field goals made per game and 3-point field goal percentage at 40.1. Kansas made 10 or more 3-pointers in eight conference games and 19 total in 2017-18. For the season, the Jayhawks were 17-2 in games where they made 10 or more threes.
This season’s team was the third KU squad to make 300 3-pointers in a season and the current Jayhawks crushed the single-season school record for 3-pointers made, 391, and attempted, 974, surpassing last year’s record-setting marks of 318 made and 787 attempted. 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.
DEVONTE’ + SVI = THREES
The senior pairing of Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk established itself as one of the top long-range shooting duos in KU history. This year, the two Jayhawk guards combined for 225 of KU’s 391 3-pointers, which is 57.5 percent of the team’s threes. Mykhailiuk set the KU single-season 3-point field goals made record with 115 and Graham finished tied for third at 110. It marked the first time two Jayhawks have made 100 threes during the same season. Graham finished No. 2 on the KU career 3-point field goals made list at 296, while Mykhailiuk ended fourth at 237.
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 501 that Graham and Mykhailiuk 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 teamed up to shoot 41.4 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 ended first in NCAA Division I in field goal percentage at 77.0 percent and he was the only player shooting 70 percent or better with a minimum of five shots made per game. Azubuike broke 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, before this season, 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, Azubuike broke the Kansas single-season field goal percentage record of 64.6 percent by Mark Randall in 1988-89. On the NCAA level, with a minimum of five makes per game, Azubuike’s 77.0 percent ranks second all-time behind Devontae Cacok of UNC-Wilmington, who set the NCAA record last season (2016-17) at 80.0 percent.