Kansas Faces UConn in NCAA Second Round Saturday on CBS
After defeating Austin Peay, 105-79, South Region No. 1 seed Kansas (31-4, 15-3 Big 12) will face No. 9 seed Connecticut (25-10, 11-7 American Athletic) Saturday, March 19, at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. The game will be televised on CBS and will tip at 6:45 p.m. Central time. Connecticut advanced to the second round by defeating No. 8 seed Colorado, 74-67 on March 17.
Kansas is making its 45th NCAA Championship appearance and its 27th-consecutive trip to the tournament, the longest active streak in the nation and ties the longest in tournament history (North Carolina, 1975-2001).
This marks the seventh-straight season that the Jayhawks have earned a No. 1 or No. 2 seed. In head coach Bill Self’s 13 seasons in Lawrence, KU has never been seeded lower than fourth. Since seeding began in 1979, Kansas has been a No. 1 12 times, including six times under Self (2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2016).
KU, which is ranked No. 1 in the latest Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls, has won 12-straight, 16 Big 12 and an NCAA best 59 regular-season conference championships, including the 2016 title. KU also won the 2016 Big 12 Postseason Championship, its 14th all-time and 10th Big 12.
Kansas averages 82.2 points per game and has a Big 12-leading +14.2 scoring margin, 39.8 field goal percentage defense and 42.5 3-point field goal percentage. KU is second in the conference with a 49.7 field goal percentage and 32.4 3-point field goal percentage defense. KU pulls down an average of 37.8 rebounds per game and has a +4.9 rebound margin. The Jayhawks also average 16.1 assists, 6.9 steals and 4.2 blocked shots per contest.
Senior F Perry Ellis has scored 20 or more points in five of his last six games including 21 against Austin Peay (3/17). He leads Kansas in scoring (16.8 ppg) and is second in rebounding (5.8 rpg). Ellis has 13 games or 20 or more points this season. Ellis averaged 17.7 points and 5.8 rebounds during Big 12 play. Junior G Wayne Selden Jr., is a starter who scores 13.3 points per game after his 14 points against Austin Peay (3/17). Selden leads KU with 70 3-pointers this season. At 40.5 percent, Selden is one of eight Jayhawks making 40 percent or better from 3-point range. Junior G Frank Mason III is averaging 13.0 points for the season and has 52 assists and 12 turnovers in his last 12 contests. Mason leads KU with 4.7 assists per contest and is second with 46 steals. Sophomore G Devonte’ Graham was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2016 Big 12 Championship where he averaged 17.3 point and 3.3 assists in leading KU to the title. Graham leads KU with 51 steals and is second on the team in assists (135) and 3-point field goals made (68). He is scoring 11.4 points per game. Graham and Mason each have a team-best 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio. Junior F Landen Lucas rounds out the KU starters. He leads Kansas in rebounding at 6.3 boards per game, which ranks in the top 10 in the Big 12. Lucas scores 5.5 points per game after his career-high 16 points against Austin Peay (3/17). Lucas has averaged 8.6 boards in his last 12 outings.
Sophomore G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk scored a career-high 23 points against Austin Peay (3/17). He averages 5.7 points and has made 37 3-pointers this season. Junior G Brannen Greene is a regular who has made 31 3-pointers this season and scores 5.6 points per game off the bench. Freshman F Carlton Bragg Jr., averaged 8.0 points in three Big 12 Championship games and is averaging 4.1 ppg and 2.4 rpg for the season. Senior F Jamari Traylor leads KU with 30 blocked shots, including two against Austin Peay (3/17). Traylor is averaging 3.1 points and 3.4 rebounds for the season. Freshman Cheick Diallo averages 3.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. His 23 blocked shots are tied for second on the team with Lucas and senior F Hunter Mickelson, who has started 10 games this season and is averaging 2.3 points and 2.3 rebounds.
Located in Storrs, Connecticut, with an enrollment of 31,119, Connecticut has won five straight games after its 74-67 win against Colorado (3/17). The Huskies are coached by Kevin Ollie who is 97-43 in his fourth season as a head coach, all at UConn. Connecticut is 25-10 overall and finished sixth in the American Athletic Conference with an 11-7 record in 2015-16. Connecticut won the AAC conference tournament, which included a thrilling four overtime win against Cincinnati on March 11.
UConn averages 73.4 points per game and has a +10.2 scoring margin. The Huskies make 7.0 3-pointers per contest and 79.3 percent from the free throw line. UConn pulls down 36.5 rebounds per game with a +2.3 rebound margin. The Huskie also average 13.7 assists, 5.8 steals and 5.1 blocked shots per game.
Connecticut’s top four scorers have scoring averages between 12.7 and 12.0 points per game. Redshirt junior G Rodney Purvis leads the team at 12.7 ppg. His 68 3-pointers are second on the team and he pulls down 3.0 rebounds per game. Senior F Shonn Miller and sophomore G/F Daniel Hamilton are deadlocked at 12.6 points per game. Hamilton leads UConn with 8.9 rebounds per game, while Miller is second at 5.3 rpg. Hamilton also leads the team with 164 assists this season. Senior G Sterling Gibbs scores 12.0 points per game and has made a team-high 75 3-pointers this season. Senior F Phillip Nolan (1.7 ppg) rounds out the Connecticut starters.
Freshman G Jalen Adams has started 11 games and is scoring 7.3 points per contest. He is second on the team with 86 assists. Junior C Amida Brimah (6.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg) leads UConn with 64 blocked shots. Other Connecticut regulars include senior G Omar Calhoun (4.4 ppg) and junior F Kentan Facey (3.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg).
THE KANSAS-UCONN SERIES
Kansas and Connecticut are meeting for the third time with Kansas winning both previous matchups. KU defeated UConn, 88-59, on Jan. 28, 1995 in Kansas City, Missouri. Two seasons later the Jayhawks defeated the Huskies, 73-65, in Hartford, Connecticut. Including Saturday’s matchup, all three series meetings have been on a neutral floor.
KANSAS WIN WOULD…
Make Kansas 32-4 and give KU 32 victories for the 10th time in school history with six of those in the Bill Self era… Extend KU’s winning streak to 16 games, its longest of the season… Advance KU to its 31st Sweet 16 and its eighth under Self… Make KU 22-10 in its second games played in the NCAA Championship… Make KU 16-4 away from Allen Fieldhouse this season… Make the KU-Connecticut 3-0 in favor of Kansas… Make Kansas 99-43 all-time in NCAA Tournament games… Make Self 384-82 while at Kansas, 591-187 all-time and 39-16 in the NCAA Tournament (29-11 while at KU)… Make Kansas 2,185-835 all-time.
A KANSAS LOSS WOULD…
End Kansas’ season at 31-5… End a KU 15-game winning streak, its longest of the season… Make the KU-Connecticut series 2-1 in favor of the Jayhawks… Make Kansas 15-5 away from Allen Fieldhouse this season… Make Kansas 1-1 in NCAA Tournament games played in Des Moines… Make Bill Self 383-83 while at Kansas, 590-188 all-time and 38-17 in the NCAA Tournament (28-12 while at Kansas)… Make Kansas 2,184-836 all-time.
KANSAS VS. THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP FIELD
Kansas has faced 11 NCAA Championship teams in 2015-16 with a 17-3 record. Those include No. 2 seed Oklahoma (2-0), No. 2 seed Michigan State (0-1), No. 3 seed West Virginia (2-1), No. 4 seed Iowa State (1-1), No. 4 seed Kentucky (1-0), No. 5 seed Baylor (3-0), No. 6 seed Texas (2-0), No. 7 seed Oregon State (1-0), No. 8 seed Texas Tech (2-0), No. 11 seed Vanderbilt (1-0), No. 16 seed Holy Cross (1-0) and No. 16 seed Austin Peay (1-0).
Kansas is the No. 1 seed for the 12th time since the NCAA Championship started seeding in 1979: 1986-92-95-97-98-2002-07-08-10-11-13-16. This is the sixth time KU has been a No. 1 seed under Bill Self. Kansas is 29-10 as a No. 1 seed, has won all 12 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 39 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’ 45th NCAA Championship appearance.
• Kansas’ 27-straight NCAA Championship appearances, from 1990-2016, is the nation’s longest active streak and is tied for the best all time (North Carolina had 27-straight appearances from 1975-2001).
• Under head coach Bill Self, Kansas is 28-11 (71.8 percent) in the NCAA Championship with seven Sweet 16s, five Elite Eights, two Final Fours, one NCAA National Championship and one NCAA runner-up finish.
• In the last 15 NCAA Championships, including 2016, Kansas has a 37-13 (74.0 percent) record with one NCAA National Championship (2008), four Final Four (2002-03-08-12) and seven Elite Eight (2002-03-04-07-08-11-12) appearances.
• Kansas’ 45 NCAA Championship appearances are tied for third nationally behind only Kentucky (54), North Carolina (47) and UCLA (45).
• Kansas sports an all-time NCAA Championship record of 98-43. The Jayhawks’ 98 wins trail only Kentucky (121), North Carolina (113) Duke (106) and UCLA (99).
• The Jayhawks will play their 142nd NCAA Championship game on Saturday. The Jayhawks’ 141 games in the event rank fourth all-time in NCAA history, behind Kentucky (169), North Carolina (157) and UCLA (147).
• Entering the 2016 event, KU’s NCAA Championship winning percentage of 69.3 percent ranks sixth all-time for a minimum of 20 games played.
• Kansas coach Bill Self is making his 18th-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championship as a head coach, which is fifth-best consecutive string in tourney history by a head coach: 23 Dean Smith (1975-97), 20 Roy Williams (1990-2009), 21 Mike Krzyzewski, (1996-2016), 19 Tom Izzo (1998-2016), 18 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 Championships. 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 (18), 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 (15) 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 two 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.
• 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.
CRADLE OF TOURNAMENT COACHING LEGENDS
With Jerod Haase advancing UAB to the 2015 NCAA Tournament, there are 11 head coaches who have advanced to the NCAA Tournament that graduated from the University of Kansas. In fact, the 124 combined NCAA Tournament wins by those men are easily the most by graduates of any one school: Phog Allen (KU 1906, 10-3), Tad Boyle (KU 1985, 1-4), Tim Carter (KU 1979, 0-2), Frosty Cox (KU 1930, 2-4), Jerod Haase (1-1), Dick Harp (KU 1940, 4-2), Danny Manning (KU 1991, 0-1), Ralph Miller (KU 1942, 5-11), Adolph Rupp (KU 1922, 30-18), Dean Smith (KU 1953, 65-27) and Mark Turgeon (KU 1987, 6-6).
• Kansas was the only team in the Big 12 with an undefeated league record at home (9-0) in 2015-16.
• Kansas’ 82.2 scoring average is the best in the Bill Self era (81.6 in 2009-10) which is the highest since a 90.9 scoring average in 2001-02.
• Out of its 31 victories this season, Kansas has won by 10 or more points in 19 of those wins, including four of the last six games. Six KU wins have been by 30 points or more, including 86-56 at Texas (2/29).
• KU has out-shot 30 of 35 opponents, including each of their last 14 opponents. KU is shooting 51.6 percent from the field in its last 14 games.
• Kansas has shot 50 percent or better in seven of its last 10 games and 18 times overall this season.
• The Jayhawks have out-rebounded 25 of 35 foes, including 11 of the last 16 contests. KU had a +18 rebound advantage against Oklahoma State (2/15) and +21 at TCU (2/6).
• Kansas has shot 40 percent or better from 3-point range in 23 of its 35 games, including five of the last eight contests.
• The KU bench has outscored its opponents’ bench in 23 of 35 games this season and is 22-1 in those contests. KU’s bench outscored Austin Peay’s bench 45-19 in its NCAA opening round (3/17). With it being Senior Day, KU’s bench outscored Iowa State’s bench 46-10 on March 5.
• KU has made seven or more 3-pointers in 26 of 35 games this season, including three of the last six battles. KU has made 10 or more 3-pointers 11 times, including 15 threes vs. No. Colorado (11/13) and Chaminade (11/23), which were one off the school record.
• When guards Frank Mason III, Wayne Selden Jr. and Devonte’ Graham each score 10-plus points in the same game, KU is 13-0, including 7-0 in Big 12 play.
• Senior F Perry Ellis led KU in scoring in nine of 18 Big 12 games, averaging 17.7 points per Big 12 contest (16.7 ppg overall).
• Sophomore G Devonte’ Graham is 53-for-104 (51.0 percent) from the field in his last 13 games.
• Junior G Wayne Selden Jr. has made three or more 3-pointers in 15 games this season.
The Ellis-Mason-Selden-Graham combination is carrying the load for Kansas. All average 29-plus minutes per game and 10-plus points per game. KU’s next closest player is 17.2 minutes per game (Landen Lucas) and 5.7 points per game (Svi Mykhailiuk). The group of four combines for 37 35-plus minute games this season, while the rest of the team has none.
COMPARING WINNING STREAKS
Kansas has posted two winning streaks of 13 or more in 2015-16. KU’s current 15-game winning streak, which started Jan. 30, is the 14th time in the Bill Self era that the Jayhawks have won 10 or more straight games. The 13-game streak earlier this season included three ranked teams and three Big 12 foes, while the current 15-game streak includes seven ranked opponents and 13 conference opponents.
IN THE POLLS
In the most recent national rankings released on March 14, Kansas is No. 1 both the Associated Press Top 25 and USA Today Coaches’ Poll. Kansas holds the longest active streak for consecutive weeks in the AP Top 25 (141) after Duke fell out of the poll for the first time in eight seasons, ending a 167-week streak, on Feb. 1.
KU has spent six weeks ranked No. 1 in the AP poll (Jan. 4, Jan. 11, Feb. 29, March 1, March 7, March 14) and five weeks at No. 1 in the Coaches’ poll (Jan. 11, Feb. 29, March 1, March 7, March 14). On Jan. 11, Kansas was ranked No. 1 in both national polls for the first time since Feb. 14, 2011.
The last time Kansas was not ranked by the AP was during the 2008-09 season. Under coach Bill Self, Kansas has been ranked in the AP Top 25 for 224 weeks, which includes 162 weeks in the Top 10, 94 times in the Top 5 and 24 times at No. 1. In the coaches’ poll, under Self, Kansas has been ranked 237 times with 175 in the top 10 and 108 in the top five.
Kansas entered the 2015-16 season ranked No. 4 by AP and No. 5 in the coaches’ polls. This season’s AP poll is the highest ranking for the Jayhawks since 2009-10 when they entered the season No. 1 in the country. The preseason ranking is the 10th time in the Self era that the Jayhawks enter the season slotted seventh or higher, including each of the last four seasons – No. 5 in 2015-16 and 2014-15, No. 6 in 2013-14, and No. 7 in 2012-13.
• Senior F Perry Ellis is only the 13th Jayhawk to reach the 1,600 point plateau, reaching the milestone at Kansas State (2/20). Ellis has 1,746 career points, which is 11th on the KU career scoring list. Earlier this season, Ellis became the 13th player in KU history to reach 800 career rebounds, currently 12th at 816. Ellis is the sixth player in KU history to rank in the top 13 in both career points and career rebounds: Danny Manning (2,951 points/1,187 rebounds), Nick Collison (2,097 points/1,143 rebounds), Raef LaFrentz (2,066 points/1,186 rebounds), Clyde Lovellette (1,979 points/839 rebounds) and Dave Robisch (1,754 points/815 rebounds).
• Junior G Wayne Selden Jr., had 33 points against Kentucky (1/30) and in the process became the 57th Jayhawk to reach the 1,000-point plateau. He is 41st on the KU scoring list at 1,145 points and ranks 10th on the KU career 3-pointers made list at 158) and 12th on the 3-pointers attempted list at 427.
• Junior G Frank Mason III surpassed the 1,000 points mark at Kansas State (2/20) and is the 58th Jayhawk to accomplish the feat. He is 43rd at 1,097 career points. Mason ranks 16th on the KU career assists list, currently at 377.
Kansas is making 42.5 percent from 3-point range. At their current percentage pace, the 2015-16 Jayhawks would finish second on the school’s single-season 3-point field goal percentage list. Additionally, Kansas’ 289 3-pointers made this season are the most in school history for a season ranking passing the 271 in 2010-11.
In Bill Self’s previous 12 seasons at Kansas, the Jayhawks have led the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense eight times and finished no lower than fourth. Nationally, Self-coached Jayhawks have ranked eighth or higher in all but two seasons in field goal percentage defense and have ranked in the top five on eight occasions, including first in 2005-06 and 2011-12.
Including the 2015-16 title, Kansas has won 16 of the 20 Big 12 regular-season championship (includes ties), including the last 12, which ranks second on the NCAA all-time consecutive list. Kansas’ 59 conference titles are the most in NCAA Division I. Kentucky is second with 52 and Penn third at 37. KU’s 12-straight league titles are the longest active streak in NCAA Division I and the longest streak in school history.
Kansas currently ranks No. 1 in the NCAA Rating Percentage Index (RPI), through games of March 6 and its strength of schedule is sixth nationally. KU ended 2014-15 ranked No. 5 in the RPI and No. 1 in strength of schedule. Following the 2013-14 season, for the second time in the Bill Self era, Kansas ranked first in strength of schedule, according to data from RPIratings.com. KU was also tops in Self’s second season, 2004-05. Prior to 2015-16, in Self’s 12 seasons, KU has ranked fifth or higher in the final RPI eight times, including each of the last six years. Kansas was fourth in the final RPI in 2013-14, its highest since 2010-11 when it ranked first.
THIS DAY IN KANSAS BASKETBALL HISTORY
Kansas is 2-1 all-time on March 19.
March 19, 2004: In Bill Self’s first season as head coach, Kansas defeated Illinois Chicago 78-53 in the first round of the 2004 NCAA Championship where the Jayhawks led by as many as 32 points before the final buzzer sounded. J.R. Giddens led the team with 17 points, followed by Wayne Simien with 13 points and seven rebounds, and Keith Langford with 13 points and six rebounds. Despite a minor groin injury that required Simien to leave the first half early, he went on in the second half to score his 1,000th career point.
A KU victory March 19 would have the Jayhawks going to their 31st Sweet 16 in Louisville, March 24.
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